Hohner Multimonica I – Vacuum Tube Synthesizer From The 50’s

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The “Hohner Multimonica” is a combined double-manual keyboard instrument consisting of a monophonic synthesizer (sawtooth oscillator, vacuum tube technology) and a polyphonic harmonium with fan-driven reeds. This electro-acoustic musical instrument comes from the German postwar era. It was produced in two main variants (“Multimonica I” later “Multimonica II”). The “Multimonica I” even had a built-in AM radio for local station reception. But there was also a version available without radio.

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Berlin & Techno Music

For the latest edition of the Real Scenes series of documentaries on electronic music and cities, RA and Bench go to one of the most special places for electronic music in the world: Berlin:

When the Berlin Wall came down in 1989, techno became the underground soundtrack to the reunion between East and West. In recent years, it’s become an international destination for ravers—a cheap place to party with clubs that are renowned throughout the world.

Techno has become a business in the meantime. Yet Berlin still maintains a credibility that other cities lack. To understand why, RA and Bench went to the German capital eager to find out about its unique history and the reasons behind its continued relevance.

via RA

R.I.P. Conrad Schnitzler

Conrad SchnitzlerExperimental electronic music artist Conrad Schnitzler – who was a member of the original incarnation of Tangerine Dream and had a 40 year solo career – died August 4th of pancreatic cancer.

Schnitzler completed his final work, 00/830, a few days before his death.

At right, a photograph of Schnitzler from July 23,2011.

In the last years of his life, Schnitzler worked on a project to ‘bury himself’ in beautiful locations around the world. See his Global Living memorial site for details.

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Karlheinz Stockhausen’s Electronic Music Tips (For Aphex Twin, Plastikman & Others)

Back in 1995, classical composer and electronic music pioneer Karlheinz Stockhausen (22 August 1928 – 5 December 2007) took the time to give a listen to some then-current tracks by Aphex Twin, Plasticman, Scanner and Daniel Pemberton.

While his comments are a few years old, they’re worth reading for his perspective.

Stockhausen had these music tips for the artists:

I wish those musicians would not allow themselves any repetitions, and would go faster in developing their ideas or their findings, because I don’t appreciate at all this permanent repetitive language.

It is like someone who is stuttering all the time, and can’t get words out of his mouth. I think musicians should have very concise figures and not rely on this fashionable psychology. I don’t like psychology whatsoever: using music like a drug is stupid.

One shouldn’t do that: music is the product of the highest human intelligence, and of the best senses, the listening senses and of imagination and intuition.

And as soon as it becomes just a means for ambiance, as we say, environment, or for being used for certain purposes, then music becomes a whore, and one should not allow that really; one should not serve any existing demands or in particular not commercial values. That would be terrible: that is selling out the music.

In addition to Stockhausen’s general reactions to the state of art in edgier electronica, he had comments on the specific artists and their work.
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Musikmesse 2010

musikmesse-2010Musikmesse 2010 – the international music event is coming to Frankfurt am Main March 24-27.

Musikmesse is the world’s biggest trade fair for musical instruments and music-making accessories:

  • Around 79,000 visitors from the trade and industry, as well as music lovers, attended the last event in 2009
  • 1,541 exhibitors from 51 countries in 2009
  • Five exhibition halls,
  • Musikmesse 2010 will show more than 30,000 instruments, accessories and services for the music sector.

Synthtopia will be bringing you the latest music gear news out of Musikmesse 2010.

You can get more details on Musikmesse 2010 at the Messe Frankfurt site.

Falco’s Der Kommissar

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This is the 80s-tastic video for Falco’s Der Kommissar, in its original 1981 German incarnation.

Der Kommissar was an influential synthpop hit across Europe, and was released with English lyrics in 1982 by After The Fire, where it hit #5 on the charts.

Falco died in 1998 at the age of 40, as the result of a car accident in the Dominican Republic.