Modular synthesziers, what are they?
Your first question when reading this article may well be ‘what is a modular synthesizer’. In the photo of a modular synthesizer at the top of this article might look like an old telephone exchange to you. You’re not alone. But if you might not know what a modular synthesizer looks like you will probably be familiar with what modular synthesizers sound like. In fact some of your favourite songs might feature sounds made on a modular synthesizer. Some time Woodbridge resident and renowned record producer Brian Eno can be seen wrestling with a modular synthesizer in a lot of the early footage of Roxy Music.
For may years synthesizers were prohibitively expensive, with many models costing more than a reasonable sized house. This made them inaccessible to many people. Cheap digital synthesizers hit the market in the early 80s and you may think that would have been the end of expensive, unpredictable and challenging analog and modular synthesizers. But for a lot of musicians the simplicity of digital keyboards restricted their ability to be sonic explorers. But with modular synth systems from the likes of Moog still crushingly expensive another option was needed. Led in no small part by a small German company called Doepfer people started making their own modular synthesizers. When people start sharing plans, hints and support with each other communities are born.
Modular Synthesizers in Suffolk
Modular synths are now more popular then ever. In response to this surge in popularity there has been an explosion of ‘synth meetups’, events where people who are fascinated by these amazing devices get together for demonstrations, explorations and performances. The latest synth meetup to pop into existence is ‘Sonitus’ right here in Suffolk. Sonitus are calling the event a ‘synthesiser symposium’ and it will take place at the Old Jet Studios in Rendlesham on Saturday 17th February.
The team putting together Sonitus have cast the net wide in their definition of synth meet, so as well as synth-lovers bringing their set-ups along for others to ogle and tweak, there’s a second room dedicated to talks and performance – with appearances by Mira Calix (Warp), Luke Sanger (Bonus Round), TR-33N (Yo Sucka!) and Bitloader, the alias of Zoe Blade and Nina Richards, who are the brains behind the Stepper Acid module.
Everyone involved with So Suffolk are musicians so we’re particularly looking forward to attending the first Sonitus event.