New Album Features ‘Music from SYNTHI 100’

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Japanese synthesist Yoshio Machida let us know about a new album that he’s released, in collaboration with Belgian artist Constantin PapageorgiadisMusic from SYNTHI 100.

The album was recorded in 2015 in Gent University in Belgium, at the IPEM (Institute for Psychoacoustics and Electronic Music), and features only the sounds of a rare EMS SYNTHI 100 modular synthesizer.

Here’s a video capturing Machida & Papageorgiadis at the Synthi 100:

Here’s what they have to say about the album:

This monster analog modular synthesizer(over 2 meters) was used with some equipments for historic pieces/albums (Stockhausen, John Mcguire, Eduard Artemiev, Aphex Twin, etc). But this album is made by only SYNTHI 100, without any effects.

In the 70s, Electronic Music Studios Ltd. (EMS) produced 31 and now only 10 were existed in the world. In 2017, it was exhibited at Documenta 14.

For this album, the one owned by Gent University in Belgium was used.

Machida released “Music from the SYNTHI AKS”(baskaru) in 2014. As the same that album, all tracks were recorded as improvisation without editing in this album.

Papageorgiadis is an expert engineer for analog synth, especially for EMS synth. The one of Gent University was rebuilt by him.

SYNTHI 100 has so many parameters (12 oscillators, 8 filters, etc.) and the signals can be patched freely on the matrix boards. It has own modules that another synths don’t have and the sound can be produced without keyboard. In this album, the function was used, without keyboard. 4 hands controlled and changed parameters in real time. Including a 12 pages booklet with text and pictures. 

Music from SYNTHI 100 is available as a digital download or CD via Bandcamp.

7 thoughts on “New Album Features ‘Music from SYNTHI 100’

  1. Being a synth geek myself I must say that I am a bit dissapointed of the results from these experiments. I mean, I used to dream of having access to one of these machines someday. To me, at least, it sounds either as if each and every experiment done on this machine had to end up in the finished product, or as if the machine itself is so bedazzling to operate that this was all that came out of the time they had at their disposal to record this album. The Synthi-100 has, even today, been hailed as a one-of-a-kind instrument capable of producing any sound imaginable, but here, the imagination seems to have gone missing in favour of a search for weird sounds bereft of any structure or artistic idea. Musically, they might have gotten away with this somewhere before 1980 or so, but every track sounds strangely dated somehow. Today, this synth seems to belong in a museum judging from these experiments alone. Today, any sound on this album could have been made with Reaktor 6 or similar software. I would like to hear productions utilizing this instrument to make real music or, at least, some more carefully crafted sonic experiments.

    1. Agree, Nils, very disappointing. I was expecting much more.
      I remember being “let loose” for an hour with the Synthi 100 in Great Milton, the EMS studio outside Oxford, back in the 1970s. Peter Zinovieff, who had received me on the strength of a letter (I think I’d made myself out as a prospective buyer – sorry, Peter) saw in me a geeky teen and challenged me to “make a sound – any sound”. I did within 5 seconds of patching. It wasn’t that difficult as the matrix boards are very clearly laid out and none of the modules were unfamiliar to a teenager who had read all the EMS manuals available (“even rocket science isn’t rocket science”).

  2. So you really expected a concept artist and an engineer with an obscure modular synth in a university science lab to create something else but weird experimental noise?

  3. Thanks for listening.
    These tracks were recorded live in one take, we wanted to do it raw, using the Synthi 100 only. No effects, no polishing, no overdub, no post-production. What you ear is what came out of the synth at this time, that’s all. We’re well aware that this won’t please most 21st century people enjoying what they call “real” music but this is our synth-geekness and we like it.
    I’ll be happy to hear a “real” musician doing “real” live music with a Synthi 100 only some day, please manage to do it 🙂

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