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Synth History


independent magazine + limited narrative podcast series + website 🛸



9 posts

Mini Docs

13 posts


Synth History Podcast - Episode 3, “Oscillators” is out on 3/29. Take a journey through what it means to oscillate, a fundemental concept in physics and engineering. Special guests announced next week.  #technology #physics #engineering #synthesizer #synthesizers   created by Synth History with Synth History’s original sound
Well, the ‘zines are finally in!

Please tag a friend who loves synths for a chance to win a copy! 📚

The third compilation of Synth History interviews features Tame Impala (this year’s cover photo), Mark Mothersbaugh of DEVO, Roger O’Donnell of The Cure, director Gregg Araki (Doom Generation, Nowhere), Neil Halstead of Slowdive, Labrinth, Nancy Whang of LCD Soundsystem, founder of Teenage Engineering Jesper Kouthoofd, OMD, Geneva Jacuzzi, Mikael Jorgensen of Wilco, Rhamier Balagoon, Tim Gane of Stereolab, Avey Tare, TV Girl, Jessy Lanza, King Gizzard & the Lizard Wizard, Nation of Language, Bibio, The Blaze, SG Lewis and a special look into the Bob Baker Marionette Theater Music Archives.

This year’s release party is at LA’s finest @vintagesynthmuseum - Saturday November 11th 2-7, where we’ll be celebrating VSM’s 2-year anniversary, too! The party has curated music from Automatic, Baths, Alix Brown and Money Mark - and free refreshments from Flying Embers, Topo Chico and Dad Grass.

Each GA / museum ticket comes with a raffle entry, with prizes that include a Moog Werkstatt from Vintage King, a Korg Drumlogue, x3 complete Moog software suites, a Vidiots Super Duper Fan Membership, swag bags from a ton of our local favorites including The Cinegogue, Secret Headquarters, Revenge Of, Perfect Circuit, Roland Lifestyle and more.

We’ll have giveaways every hour, too! Like a signed vinyl from TV Girl, Stylophone, Moog swag and more.

Sounds like a crazy amount of fun, if you ask me.

Hope to see ya there!
#synth #tameimpala #tvgirl #labrinth #synthhistory #markmothersbaugh #devo #thecure #slowdive #losangeles #party #musicproduction #stereolab #greggaraki #lcdsoundsystem #gear #party
Soundchecking for a synth demo at @Vidiots Foundation with Lance AKA @Vintage Synthesizer Museum

He programmed Giorgio Moroder’s “The Chase” 😱🎛️🎶🤯
This Saturday Vidiots and Synth History are partnering once again for the ‘Iconic Scores’ screening series, this time for Paul Schrader’s 1982 supernatural horror film, Cat People.

With a score by Giorgio Moroder (and title track featuring vocals from David Bowie!) this Saturday’s screening includes a special synth demonstration from LA’s @vintagesynthmuseum.

Saturday, October 21st at 9:45 PM
Vidiots Theater, Los Angeles, CA. Ticket link in bio. 🔗

Here’s an interesting excerpt of Giorgio recounting working with Bowie in a 2014 interview with Mubi’s Notebook:

[Notebook: Was the Bowie collaboration set up prior to Cat People?

Moroder: I started probably two months before I had to deliver the final score. And I had this song and Paul [Schrader] and I decided that there’s only one guy whose image is perfect [for a film like this]. So I gave him the song and he wrote the lyrics and then we recorded it quickly in Switzerland.

Notebook: One could argue that maybe you were an influence on Bowie when he began to work with electronics in the late 1970s, though you obviously leaned toward disco while he was experimenting with ambient music.

Moroder: There was one afternoon when he was recording in Berlin and Brian Eno came in and played him “I Feel Love” and Bowie said, “This is the sound of the future!”, or something like that. Which I guess Bowie noticed—that this was now a fact, that this was now the new sound. So yeah, maybe my name was in his subconscious.]

Putting out fire, with gasoline!

See you there.
#catpeople #giorgiomoroder #davidbowie #losangeles #paulschrader
Had a chance to talk with the extremely talented musician, record producer and composer, Timothy Lee McKenzie, better known as Labrinth.

Along with a successful solo career, Labrinth has collaborated with a number of artists including Beyoncé, the Weeknd, Billie Eilish and more. He's also made a significant mark in the world of film and television scoring, with the score for HBO's hit series, Euphoria.

In the interview, we talk about synths, sci-fi movies and more. Here’s an excerpt:

[Synth History: Do you remember the first synth you fell in love with?

Labrinth: It was actually the MS-20! I had other synths, but the moment I fell in love and said, “OK, I’m doing this” was when I got the MS-20. I literally slept with it beside my bed, and my misses, who is my wife now, was just like, “You’ve got issues. You’ve got mental issues.” I would wake up in the middle of the night to start learning patches and figuring out stuff.

Synth History: Did you use the MS-20 on Ends & Begins?

Labrinth: Yes, yes I did. I used it on loads of things. I’m a bit schizophrenic with synths, I want to use them all at the same time. I really enjoy synthesis and I’ll go and study about random different ways to make sound. I’ll want to use granular synthesis, then I’ll study physical modeling, then I’ll be like, “OK, I’m using that for my kick drum somewhere on the track!” You know what I mean? For me, it’s just really fun. If it wasn’t my job, I would just sit in a room all day making sounds with synths.]

Read the whole thing online and in print next month.
#labrinth #synthesizers #euphoria
The amazing King Gizzard & the Lizard Wizard answer Three Q’s (plus a few extras) about their favorite synths, going modular and more.

Here’s an excerpt:

[Synth History: What are some synths you currently have in your studio? Any favorites or go-tos?

Luca: I’m loving the Yamaha reface DX at the moment. I'm not a huge, deep diving synth head, so the out of box tones of this are great for me. The recreations of those original 80s FM tones are on point, but it has way more modern functionality and an easier user interface. The Dynalead patch has become a quick stalwart for me, such a tasty tone and sounds great as a mono lead synth with huge pitch bends, but also reacts nicely to chord stabs in polyphony. For the Silver Cord sessions, I had the DX going through the Moog Matriarch, utilizing it's filter but also mixing the DX with the Matriarchs' oscillators which had some great results. I also used the Moog Sub 37 a lot in those sessions for tasty sub basslines. Most of the lines were sequenced, so it was really cool to focus solely on sound sculpting. I've been using this live, very sparingly, and I feel like I'm only scratching the surface. It's hard to pull a bad sound from it.

Stu: We’ve bought and sold a lot of synths over the years but one thats stuck around since the beginning is the Juno-60. It’s been my go-to since around the time of Float Along - Fill Your Lungs. I know how to work it and get the sounds I want out of it without re-patching or menu-diving or anything, that’s my kinda synth.

Synth History: Can you tell me about the transition to modular synths and what inspired you to include them on your new album?

Joey: I have been using modular for my solo project for a few years now and when we decided to make an all-in electronic album, it just made sense to incorporate it. Modular syntheses was always a final frontier for me. I had been making electronic music for years solely in the box using VST’s and soft synths, but I was becoming really frustrated and bored with my workflow and not feeling creatively stimulated. Modular is literally the perfect antidote to this…]

Online now and in print next month.
#kinggizzard #synth #synthesizer
Cat People: Saturday, Oct. 21st at 9:45 pm at Vidiots in Los Angeles.

It’s that time of year and you know Vidiots and Synth History had to partner for something special for the ‘Iconic Scores’ screening series: Cat People directed by Paul Schrader with music by Giorgio Moroder.

With a special live synth demonstration from
@Vintage Synthesizer Museum

Legendary synth pioneer Giorgio Moroder was one of the first to integrate the synthesizer into disco and pop music, laying the groundwork for numerous genres to follow. Using synthesizers like the Moog modular, he composed numerous hits and the scores for films like Scarface, Midnight Express and The NeverEnding Story. Cat People was the second time he worked with Paul Schrader after American Gigolo. The theme song includes lyrics and vocals by none other than David Bowie!

Here’s a fun fact pertaining to the recording of the score: Bowie met with Moroder in July of 1981 at Mountain Studios in Montreux, Switzerland to record "Cat People". During the same session, Bowie ran into the English rock band Queen, who were recording their 1982 album, Hot Space. After Bowie recorded backing vocals for their song "Cool Cat", the session resulted in the collaboration, “Under Pressure”! 

So grab your tix, ‘cause we’re excited to watch it with you. #davidbowie #giorgiomoroder #losangeles
Devo perform ‘Girl U Want’ off their album, Freedom of Choice, 1980.

In a recent interview, the legend, the creative genius and co-founder of Devo, Mark Mothersbaugh (!!!!!!) talks about his favorite synths and more.

[Synth History: Do you have a favorite synth?

Mark: I love my Minimoog. Of all the synths, that’s probably my favorite synth because it’s the one I learned how to play synths on. If I joined the army and they handed me a rifle, and expected me to learn how to take it apart blindfolded and put it back together, that’s how I was with the Minimoog. For me, it was my army—the Devolutionary army. I was looking for sounds, and the Minimoog was perfect for making sounds that belonged in 1975, you know? That was an incredible instrument. I felt like I wanted to make sounds that nobody else was making in pop music and that nobody else was making in art music, really. I wanted to make sounds that related to our culture. The Vietnam war was still going on and I wanted to make V-2 rockets and mortar blasts, but I also wanted to make raygun sounds like in Italian sci-fi movies, and Anacin TV commercial sounds, like where a woman holds her head and you hear: [makes synth-like sound]. You know, I loved all that stuff and felt that it belonged in pop music. The Minimoog became my instrument; that was my first synth, the one that I, to this day, still have the most fond attachment to.

Synth History: Do you remember some of your other early synths?

Mark: Yeah! I got an EML-500. It had these variable settings on it that were not quantized for pitch, for stretching the pitch, so you could make it a microtonal or macrotonal keyboard. That made it hard to play along with other people though, if you were looking for tonal things. But if you were looking for a whip crack or a machine sound for Freedom of Choice, it was the perfect synth! I loved that synth, I still have that one, it’s around here somewhere.]

Video from Fridays. Interview currently online.
#devo #synthhistory #synthesizers #1980s
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