The Red Bull Music Academy has published an really interesting interview with synthesist Jean Michel Jarre, in which he shares his 10 favorite synths.
“Today, same as a piano or a saxophone, an ARP remains a classic instrument, and one that we’ll still be using in two centuries time,” notes Jarre. “After having weighed up the advantages of the virtual, today we’re realising that we’re made of flesh and blood…..and we have an absolute need for an emotional and tactile relationship with our instruments.”
Here are Jarre’s ten favorite synths. There are some surprises on the list – so check it out and let us know what you think of Jarre’s picks!
Jean Michel Jarre’s 10 Favorite Synths:
- E.M.S VCS 3 (1969) – “My first synth, Europe’s answer to the American Moog: a Mini versus a Cadillac. Post-war technology had led us to an European electronic sound which was very different to the American sound.”
- ARP 2600 (1971) – “ARPs are like the Stradivarius or the Steinways of electronic music. They were invented by craftsmen who, today, we’d place on the same level as the luthiers that built violins, clavichords, pianos – all of the acoustic instruments.”
- ARP 2500 (1969) – “This is the big brother of the ARP 2600, created to compete with the modular Moog”.
- Fairlight CMI (1979) – “The Fairlight is an instrument which immediately struck me as extraordinary when it first appeared on the market, because it brought to mind the way that I approached electroacoustic music when I started out – that’s to say with two decks, some scissors and some cellotape. The limits of this machine awarded it an extraordinary poetry.”
- Roland JD-800 (1991) – “With the JD-800, you could modify the sound, as you can on an ARP or a Moog, but with a Japanese sound quality, which in some respects, is more refined.”
- Memory Moog (1982) – “With the Memorymoog, and other synths that came out around the same time, in one fell swoop, we could make complete chords, and that changed everything. For better and for worse. As a result, we ceased to compose electronic music the classic way, as Wendy Carlos did. “
- RMI Keyboard Computer (1974) – “It created a very different sound to anything else that could be heard at the time, precisely because the digital edge added a certain coolness. This synth was to music what the film Tron was to cinema at the time.”
- Eminent 310 (1970) – “This synth defines my sound, from Les Mots Bleus by Christophe and the songs of Patrick Juvet, right up to Oxygène and Equinoxe, where I used it heavily. To this day, I still use it frequently.”
- Teenage Engineering OP-1 (2011) – “It’s been a long time since I’ve seen something as interesting, flexible and creative as this. And importantly, its inventors have reintroduced a notion which had been desperately lacking: humour.”
- Mellotron (1963) – “This is another mythical instrument from the electroacoustic scene, since it was one of the first samplers well ahead of the Fairlight. It’s the sound of the 40s adapted for the music of the 60s.”
We’ve included quotes from Jarre on his favorites, but he goes into more detail about each of the synths in the interview.
Jarre will featured at a Red Bull Music Academy session May 16, 2012. See the Red Bull site for details.
Thanks to reader MarkLouis for the tip!