New Soulwax Album Pays Tribute To The Rare The EMS Synthi 100

David and Stephen Dewaele, aka Soulwax, have announced a new album that’s a tribute to the rare EMS Synthi 100 modular synthesizer.

The Synth 100 is a larger modular system, designed by by David Cockerell in 1971. Because of its size and cost, only a small number were produced.

Here’s what label Vinyl Factory has to say about the album:

“David & Stephen Dewaele (aka Soulwax/2manydjs) have always been fascinated by collecting instruments and recording gear. Their passion hasn’t been born by completism: simply every new item inspires a world of possibilities. The one item that always eluded them was the EMS Synthi 100—a huge and rare analogue synthesizer, of which there were only 31 ever produced, that can create a near infinite array of sounds.

Shortly after opening the DEEWEE HQ in Ghent, Belgium, David & Stephen, discovered that IPEM (the research institute for systematic musicology based in the city’s university) not only had a Synthi 100, but were looking for a temporary home for it while they moved buildings. And so, after a lot of begging a deal was struck with IPEM. The Synthi 100 would spend almost a year at DEEWEE, during which time EMS repair guru Constantin Papageorgiadis would sporadically continue the restoration started at IPEM, while the brothers would make an album of music entirely produced on it.

The album sounds simultaneously futuristic and retro as it highlights the versatility, uniqueness and warmth of the Synthi 100. Remarkably, a synthesizer that was first launched in 1971 continues to excel in 2020, aided only by patient restoration and fresh creative input. Each side of the vinyl features a long piece of music, each of which is divided into three movements. While they can be heard separately, David & Stephen urge people to listen to the entire experience from start to finish.”

The album is being released with a deluxe vinyl edition, which features:

  • David & Stephen Dewaele’s tribute to the EMS Synthi 100
  • 48 page book exploring the background behind the album and the history of the Synthi 100.
  • 1 x 180g black vinyl
  • Vinyl and book housed in a fully art-worked inner sleeve, a perforated ‘patch bay’ outer sleeve and clear PVC bag.
  • The book includes a foreword from David and Stephen Dewale, an introduction from 3030, the specific Synthi 100 unit that was used for the album; a history of its creation and an exploration of its sounds; and finally an interview with Ivan Schepers, the IPEM technician who has been 3030’s long-term custodian.

See the Vinyl Factory site for details.



3 thoughts on “New Soulwax Album Pays Tribute To The Rare The EMS Synthi 100

  1. I hope it appears on a format besides vinyl. I’d buy this in a heartbeat. That teaser not only sounds worthy of the beast, it takes me back to the brief period during which I got to play a VCS3. I was a newbie with Floyd-stars in my eyes, because it was “their” synth. We figured out quickly that it was no Moog, but that it was also a great effects or sequence machine. 31 of these made, you say? Damn, I’m surprised that there’s even ONE! Its an alternate T.O.N.T.O., in a sense. Here’s hoping for a CD or downloadable. I’d like to read the book, but sign me up for the music. Shut Up & Take My Money! 🙂

  2. I’ve had the pleasure to spend some one-on-one time with this synthi when it was just neglected and gathering dust in an overheated and humid attic room at the university. Several modules were usually defective. I never really fell in love with its sound and interface, but it was a very impressive piece to behold and operate.

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