Apparently, the Buchla ‘Red Panel’ LSD legend was true.
Synth pioneer Don Buchla‘s instruments were grew out of the West Coast counterculture movement of the 1960’s – when electronic music, light shows and psychedelic drugs were intertwined.
Buchla was associated with events like Stewart Brand‘s San Francisco Trips Festival, which described the TRIP, or electronic performance, as a “new medium of communication & entertainment.”
“I just showed up at the places with my instruments, took some acid, played some music,” said Buchla.
Since then, there’s been a legend about a Buchla ‘Red Panel’ module, which was covered with LSD, leading to mind-expanding synth experiences.
KPIX CBS SF Bay Area reports that the stories were true. Their Broadcast Operations Manager Eliot Curtis took an unexpected trip recently, while repairing a vintage Buchla modular synthesizer.
“It felt like I was tripping on LSD,” notes Curtis. In fact, Curtis was tripping on LSD.
“When working on a standard clean and restore project, you don’t expect to accidentally get super high on 50-year-old LSD. But that’s exactly what happened for one repairman working on a vintage Buchla Model 100 modular synthesiser.
Eliot Curtis was recently given the job of restoring the vintage synth, which had been stored in a dark room at Cal State University East Bay since the 1960s. But after cracking off the front of the unit to give it a clean, he began to majorly trip out.
After opening the Buchla, Curtis discovered a crystal-like substance that he attempted to clean off. Spraying it with a cleaning solvent, he then tried to dislodge it with his fingers. Then, around 45 minutes later, the fun really started. His body began to tingle, which then quickly dissolved into an epic nine-hour acid trip.
After testing, it was discovered that the substance was indeed vintage LSD. A researcher also revealed that LSD can lay dormant and potent if stored in a cool, dark place, and that it is possible to ingest it through the skin. So apparently Buchla synthesisers make the perfect storage for your psychedelics. Who knew?
The synth has since been thoroughly cleaned of all LSD and is back on track for its restoration.”
The legend lives on – without the LSD – in Buchla’s new ‘Red Panel’ line of Eurorack modules, introduced at the 2019 NAMM Show: