Rare French Loumavox Synthesizer Is ‘A Beautiful Fake’

In December 2021, students from an agricultural high school in Courcelles-Chaussy (France) shared the story of a lost French synthesizer from the 1960s – the Loumavox.

The students shared a short documentary, which tells the story of how the Loumavox was discovered and how the students learned the story of its creators, Louise and Marc Voksinski.

The documentary features French synth experts, including synthesist and composer Jean-Michel Jarre, offering their take on the device. In they end, the students stage a concert, recreating some of the lost music of Louise Voksinski.

“When the video was released, we noted the story was ‘unbelievable’, in both senses of the word:”

‘It’s an unbelievable story, told unbelievably well. Watch carefully, and you may find yourself scratching your head about some things – like a synth that works perfectly after being stored in a barn for decades and how the kids find and contact one of the synth’s creators. But even skeptics will be impressed by the creativity, craft and work behind the film.”

Now the students have released a follow up to their documentary, embedded below, confirming that the Loumavox – and the story of its creation – is, as Jarre describes it, ‘a beautiful fake’:

The documentary is revealed to be an elaborate and well-done student project.

Teacher Franck Deupont notes, “I hope the students will think about the border that exists between true and false, the imagination, the dream and the fantasy.”

Here’s the creators’ official statement:

“Alors voilà, c’est fini, bas les masques. Vous avez cherché, vous avez peut-être trouvé. Comme nous depuis plus de deux ans maintenant.

L’histoire de Louise et du Loumavox, c’est la plus belle des histoires : une idée imaginée par deux jeunes filles qui croyaient dur comme fer qu’une petite mosellane aidée par son frère aurait pu révolutionner de sa campagne l’histoire de la musique électronique, presqu’exclusivement réservée aux hommes. Et leur prof et leur classe ont fini par y croire aussi.

Nous l’avons tous rêvé ensemble et nous avons raconté notre rêve. Fabriqué, construit, bricolé entre deux ou trois confinements et reconfinements avec l’aide d’un savant fou de son, d’un réalisateur patient et de quelques complices enthousiastes.

Le Loumavox existe, nous l’avons rencontré. Ok, il n’est pas si vieux que ça mais il a déjà bien muri et il chante comme personne !

Quant à Louise, quelque chose nous dit qu’elle n’est désormais plus très loin de nous.”

Googlish translation:

“So there you go, it’s over, off the masks. You searched, you may have found. Like us for over two years now.

The story of Louise and the Loumavox is the most beautiful of stories: an idea imagined by two young girls who firmly believed that a little Moselle girl helped by her brother could have revolutionized the history of electronic music, almost exclusively reserved for men. And their teacher and their class ended up believing it too.

We all dreamed it together and we told our dream. Crafted, built, tinkered with between two or three confinements and re-confinements with the help of a mad scientist, a patient director and a few enthusiastic accomplices.

The Loumavox exists, we have met it. OK, he’s not that old but he’s already matured well and he sings like no other!

As for Louise, something tells us that she is no longer very far from us.”

Now that the true story of the Loumavox has been revealed, we’d love to see the students share details about the work that went into creating film and the Loumavox itself.

Do you want to know more about the Loumavox? Or to build your own Loumavox? Share your thoughts in the comments!

52 thoughts on “Rare French Loumavox Synthesizer Is ‘A Beautiful Fake’

  1. Bravo. I loved the doco and even dreamed someone (like Behringer) would put it into production for us all to enjoy. But now that we know its fake the work is no less a work of art. They brought someone to life in a way that was touching and entirely plausible. Incredible concept and execution by the students.

  2. A lot of effort to perpetuate a hoax. Typical artist mentality, trying to find a way to draw attention to themselves and their “work”. Honestly, I find it to be antisocial in that it reduces the general level of trust between people, and between people and the media. This is NOT something we need nowadays.

    In the future, I hope divisive “politics” on this site can remain confined to the Behringer articles!

    1. Your comments don’t make sense to me.

      How are the creators “drawing attention to themselves”, when the documentary was made by an anonymous group of kids as a class project?

      And how do you confuse this story with “divisive politics”? WTF?

      1. Crunchy is absolutely correct, an era of misinformation, the assault on journalists, media reports, verifiable and credible information, however innocent or well intentioned this was, it was juvenile at best and at worst perpetuates all of the above by the unhinged within our global society about the hysteria surrounding conspiracies, imagined or half baked.

        Whilst Arturia left enough clues to call into the question the credibility of this story, perhaps it would have been far more clever to reveal the truth at the end of the “mockumentary” in an effort to ridicule the fetishism surrounding “older” synths and reinforce the idea of what is possible.

        1. There were 2 recent lawsuits here in America, one against Tucker Carlson, and one against Rachel Maddow. The judge in both cases ruled that only an unreasonable person would see their programs as information and not entertainment.

          Blind faith in “authoritative sources” is infinitely more dangerous than just developing your own bs meter to recognize and resonate with truth.

        2. “Whilst Arturia left enough clues to call into the question the credibility of this story, ”

          It’s ironic that you’re making the unsubstantiated claim that Arturia made this video, while pretending that this video was some sort of assault on journalism.

        3. honestly not sure what this has to do with arturia? I saw that Jean Marc Weber had a matrixbrute in the background in one shot, but I don’t think this means they produced the video.

    2. What are you doing on a music website then, if it’s to complain about artists? And their ”work”. So what if they wanted to emphasise women’s part in electronic music. That’s not divisive. It’s appreciative..

    3. Yeah right, because creating illusions and imagining worlds is totally not what art is about. I hate to break it you, but the Mona Lisa ain’t real either, it’s a painting. Can’t trust anyone these days.

      1. That is just a really dumb analogy, there is no other way to be polite about this. The video was presented as historical fact! You are comparing a painting that supposedly based on model Lisa Gioconda or Leonardo himself, that is called a debate, not fake nor an illusion.

  3. I can’t help but feel a little disappointed here. To say “women are capable of creating an amazing synthesizer” by manufacturing a fake story. It just feels like a lie doesn’t support that, even though I know that many of the great pioneers of electronic music were real women.

    1. Spot on. If anything it is doing the real history of women in electronic music a disservice. All too often wishy-washy magical thinking is presented as empowering to women. How about taking them seriously instead, lauding them for their actual achievements, and acknowledging the lack of opportunities and recognition given to them in the past, instead of inventing fantasies to make them feel better? I find the latter incredibly patronising.

    1. why though? it’s painfully rudimentary and this ground is thoroughly covered – and surpassed – by a bunch of similar synths that are already very budget-friendly and well-established. And if you mean as software, then just load up like.. Arturia’s SEM module or something. i just don’t get the appeal of this at this point in time. it had flair as a mysterious historical piece – not as a novel machine.

    1. It’s not clear from the video, but my impression is that the ‘faux Loumavox’ is a real working synth, and the composer shown in the video 60s style compositions using it.

  4. They were caught wasting resources on a hoax and came up with this “beautiful fake” nonsense and the blatant lie that synths are reserved for men.

  5. Maybe the rest of the world isn’t as chagrined about hoax stories as Americans are right now. We could probably do with less of them.

  6. to all the haters responding, you should really look up Helter Stupid by Negativland. This world has so many examples of people making up fake history for art, especially in the post-surrealist era. Taking the piss out of people for taking things too seriously is good fun. When I was a youngster, I created the Bovine Emissions Elimination Federation, (B.E.E.F.) at my art school, and sat back and watched snobby vegans lie and brag about how they had been members for years. If I had had YouTube back the , it would have been internet gold.
    PS, I sold a broken Micromoog for $1000, 20 years after buying it for $200. So I totally get the bougie vintage synth hype thing.

  7. Cela me donne envie de vomir devant l’impossibilité morale de penser que de telles conneries sont acceptables tant qu’elles se réclament de l’art.

    I am nauseated by the lack of morality in thinking that such bullshit is acceptable as long as it is claimed to be art.

    Ich könnte kotzen, wenn ich daran denke, dass es moralisch unmöglich ist, einen solchen Schwachsinn zu akzeptieren, solange er als Kunst bezeichnet wird.

    Me dan ganas de vomitar ante la imposibilidad moral de pensar que semejante mierda es aceptable mientras se diga que es arte.

    Mi fa venir voglia di vomitare per l’impossibilità morale di pensare che tali stronzate siano accettabili finché si pretende che siano arte.


  8. I really thought that it was quite a brilliant hoax in the form of the “Spinal Tap” type of mocumentary (minus the crude and funny humor of course). It really made me wish the story was real, that the female creator of the synth was real, that the music was real, and especially, the synth itself was real. I will admit, I was fooled at first until the ‘giveaways’ were pointed out. Kind of sad but also kind of brillian.

  9. What a waste of time. Its not even a good joke.
    Im not sure what the blah about women in electronic music is supposed to be pointing out. its just blah trying to be cultural relevant and zeitgeisty. boring fake is boring.

  10. the comments here give the impression that especially those who believed in the story are the ones who are really
    offended now …. LOL. the point of such a project probably is to expose the angry boots section. well… 😉

  11. Chapeau to the girls and boys for the beautiful and accurate work.
    And Bravo to mr. F. Sorbo who was the first here to understand that it was a hoax.

  12. Love. LOVE! LOVE!!!

    Haters: it’s art. It beautifully makes a statement about the very real, very modern problem of “fakes”. Thank god for this generation of young’uns.

  13. Does anyone get the impression that the people railing about this video are the same people that watch Fox ‘News’ all day and then complain about fake news?

    The fact is this: A bunch of students made a documentary that was so well done that it inspired a debate among viewers, around the world, about reality and morality and our obsession over rare synths. How many of you did class projects that generated discussion around the world?

    Also – the plans for the Loumavox really need to get open sourced, so that people can start building their own faux vintage synths.

    1. Actually no, you’d have to be an idiot to watch Faux News in the first place. The irony seems to be lost on you, it’s actually about people whole despise programmes like Fox News!

  14. I thought it was brilliant, and expertly done. The future seems bright for these incredibly imaginitive and talented kids.
    I just can’t believe all the entitled, sanctimonious comments!

  15. The Loumavox creator said on AudioFanzine that the synth wasn’t fake at all. We’re waiting for its pics of what’s inside the box. He used some vintage parts (like some knobs), but had a very limited budget to give life to this project. He stated that no commercial project was on the rails so far.

  16. Sad that creation of fake information and put it into the public is considered an acceptable part of education and promoted by artists and professors. Very disappointed JMJ supported this. If the video would have ended with “This was fake, find the 10 reason why”, it would have been fun. Now it is a bad joke and not funny at all. There is enough fake to deal with in the world already. The video should be removed from Youtube and all media unless clearly stated it is fake. P.S: Criticizing others of being entitled because of having another opinion is what entitlement is about.

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