SynthFest 2017

October 7th saw SynthFest return to Sheffield for its 2nd event and was a very enjoyable day out – even my girlfriend enjoyed a play around with a Moog Theremini

We also enjoyed a talk and a demo in surround/spatial sound of a modular synth on a Sonic Emotion Absolute 3D system and later a talk by two members of the Radiophonic Workshop, Paddy Kingsland and archivist Mark Ayres on ‘Deconstructing the Dr Who Theme’, who were both illuminating and funny, offering much praise for the ideas, work and qualities that Delia Derbyshire brought to the team. Many will of course recognise her significant contribution to the original 1963 BBC produced Doctor Who Theme but it seems her creativity, knowledge and skills still inspires the surviving members many years after her passing. R.I.P. Thank you Delia, you were an inspiration indeed.

Much of the day in the exhibition centre was spent seeing and hearing stands at the Modular Meet full of Eurorack (or Euro crack as some synth addicts have long since nicknamed it…) I have attached various gratuitous synth pics for you to another blog post for your enjoyment, which can be found HERE

Wanna play name that synth/module/machine?

However, the ROLI section of the Sound Technology stand was very interesting for its combination of award winning hardware in the form of the Seaboard Rise and its new ROLI Blocks modular hardware approach, alongside the Equator software that allows for a level of control over the 5 dimensions 5D of touch, not previously available and well beyond the trusted and long established MIDI standard.

This includes MPE or MIDI Polyphonic Expression and having had previous experience of the polyphonic after touch capabilities on a Sequential Circuits Prophet T8, I can attest that polyphonic expression provides for an almost unlimited amount of creative and expressive detail to be applied, whether in live performance, via programmed sequencing or both.

I’m convinced that forward thinking musicians and the growing number of electronic based ones especially, will be making some amazing music, soundscapes, textures, tones and the like with this combination and for many years to come. Whilst this won’t create ideas for you, it will allow for ideas to be realised that were previously impossible and I’m sure Delia would approve…

I am soon to purchase a ROLI Seaboard Block myself and create pre-sets on the Equator software as a starter, before looking to design my own ‘instrument’ that can be played via a mobile app, combining the hardware and software approaches.

Interestingly the Equator software was made using the JUCE framework and it was they who arranged the Audio Developers Conference 2017 that I attended a month after SynthFest. See my blog post HERE.

The next SynthFest is on October 6th, 2018 with tickets available in May. A while away yet but time flies as we all know and who knows, maybe I’ll see you there, as I’ll be making myself known this time both in the run up to and during the event. I may even have a little something to show the team @ ROLI…

Exciting times ahead for developments in 2018.

#SynthFest #Sonic Emotion #Radiophonic Workshop #Delia Derbyshire #Doctor Who Theme #Eurorack #ROLI #Seaboard Block #MPE #JUCE #ADC



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