As you may have guessed I'm a big fan of electronic sounds and analogue synthesisers in particular! Over the years I've had all sorts of instruments come through the studio, here are some notes on the present set-up.

Moog Source
A cross between a 'speak and spell' and a Minimoog - very strange! I love this synth, it has lots of personality in all departments. It's not so easy to link up to the computer but for hands on stuff it's the best! Control is via a free turning dial, suitably weighted for spinning (some parameters take many revs to get from zero to full)! When you hear a subtle rippling sound on my early stuff it's almost certainly the Source.

Korg MS system
MS20 synth, MS50 synth expander and SQ10 analog sequencer. This has been the 'core' of my set up for the last 20 years. A much more brittle sound than the Moog but incredibly versatile. Back then this set up provided all the rhythm, bass and general backing for the 'Expandis' sound. The patching system is based around standard jack plugs so adding extra bits such as home made circuits or guitar pedals or even other instruments is easy to do!

Korg Keyboard Set-up

Korg Wavestation and M1r
The Wavestation is my 'controller' keyboard for the midi system as well as being a great instrument for those lush evolving moments that can only be improved on by adding a 'slave' patch from the M1r module! On the rare occasions that I get to use a quadraphonic or surround sound set up the effect is superb! Before I had a 'sampler' the M1r provided most of the standard sounds such as choir, oboe, strings, etc, needed for the early New World albums. Both instruments have great effects sections which I still use extensively when putting sounds together.

Korg MS2000
When my Korg VC10 vocoder finally died in 2000 this came along as the perfect replacement. As a vocoder it's great and the synth section is a revelation as to what the latest generation of 'virtual' synths can do! This is the first time I have had analog control with a full midi specification (system exclusive, etc). I'm sure this is going to be fun!

 

Weird Korg Image
Yamaha VL7
When this came out it was a real luxury item, luckily for me it was not popular and was sold off cheap when it was discontinued. With thousands of parameters and a monophonic keyboard it is certainly a challenge to work with! I have however programmed in a few very expressive sounds, in particular the tibetan horn on 'Alien Encounter' and the oboe on the new version of 'Natural Magic'.

Yamaha DX7
Yamaha with another difficult to program monster! This was my first polyphonic synth, perfect for the '80s and still useful once in a blue moon! In those days I was happy to climb through the tiny window and get programming, and it's still nice to play.

E-bow guitar
The e-bow is a small battery powered electromagnet which make the strings of an electric guitar vibrate allowing violin type sustain. With this and a 'whammy pedal' pitch bending device it is possible to create anything from a pedal steel guitar to a flock of seagulls flying over head! I have recently started using the Korg Toneworks AX1000G effects unit, which has brought me full circle back to a more traditional approach to the guitar, I've even started using a plectrum!! This new style is featured on the bonus track on the 'Illusions' album.

I also use a Hohner 'headless' guitar which can be carried on the shoulder which, with a couple of plastic recorders and a DAT machine gives me a great set up for travelling light.

 

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