Secrets Of The Optigan

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Optigan.com’s Pea Hix demonstrates how the memorable music from this recent Chrysler Town & Country, above, was created using sound from an Optigan:

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The Optigan was a home keyboard that was a proto-sampler. It used a photomechanical playback mechanism to read soundwaves from film disks.

via peahix:

OK, this is especially for all the folks out there who refuse to believe that the music in the car commercial was, in fact, made using either an Optigan or samples of an Optigan. In this video I use a not-very-well-working and very dusty Optigan (I buy authentic 70s-era dust on eBay to sprinkle on all my Optigans) to show how this music was created. Whoever put together the music for the commercial almost certainly used samples of the Optigan (a comprehensive set of which is available from my website: http://www.optigan.com), but the result is more or less the same as if they’d played it on a real Optigan drenched in reverb.

Incidentally, you can hear Optigan sounds in LOTS of TV commercials- it’s just that they’re usually mixed in with other instruments as a texture, rather than played solo as is the case here. There were 40 different musical style discs made for the Optigan, so it doesn’t just sound like a big band. Most of the folks who’ve bought my sample set are commercial and/or pop music producers, and I’ve stopped keeping track of all the commercials and songs that feature Optigan sounds.

Oh, and back in the year 2000, my band Optiganally Yours used the “Swing It” disc to record a song called “Walk & Chew Gum” for the Powerpuff Girls: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Pc-jxjgF0ko

To sum up: the music in the commercial is not a “song” from ANY old record. It is a series of one-bar big band riffs (arranged by Art DePew in the style of Tommy Dorsey) strung together either manually on an Optigan, or by assembling a set of Optigan loops on a computer.

My blog post here has further info and sound examples:

http://www.optigan.com/content/2010/01/optigan-swing-it-disc-in-car-tv-ad/


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