Buchla Never Goes Out of Fashion!
Buchla Never Goes Out of Fashion!
Adriana SaboWednesday,9 September 2015
It is one of the common places of the music industry that some things — instruments, styles, techniques — never go out of style. In this case, I’m thinking of the Buchla synthesizer, which was responsible for one of the greatest revolutions in the world of R’n’R. Back in the 1970s, the synthesizer slowly began being more popular than the guitar, opening up a whole new universe of possibilities to musicians. The famous Buchla & Associates company was among the leaders in the synthesizer industry, releasing some models that are to this day considered to be best of the best; they keep inspiring artists to make musical experiments.
Now, two producers and composers based in Paris — Jonathan Fitoussi and Clemens Hourriere — have made another contribution to the field of electronic music. Using a Buchla 200, the notable Electric Music Box, the duo has released Five Steps via Versatile Records. The two share a unique passion for vintage synthesizers and have made other collaborations was well, celebrating the unique experience of making music on analogue synthesizers in the post-digital time we now inhabit.
Jesse Hultberg described the album in the following way: “The sounds it makes (the synthesizer), however, evoke the future. They’re both recognisable and unrecognisable. A future that I hope to see and hear. Warm. Subtle. Analog. This is how I hear these beautiful compositions from Jonathan Fitoussi and Clemens Hourrière. We can hear the artist’s digital experience, but we also hear their desire to go forward using analog’s warmth and subtlety. The result is the future. And it sounds great.” Five Steps was made thanks to an invitation from EMS Stockholm that offered Fitoussi and Hourriere the possibility of working on Buchla 200 for a week. Five Steps is, thus, a brilliant album of beautiful music, made entirely on this analogue synthesizer.
The first thing one notices upon hearing the album is its somewhat minimalist sound. All of the eleven tracks are envisioned as presenting “different moods, corresponding with different times of the day and the city of Stockholm.” If I was to describe the general atmosphere of the album, I’d say “meditative,” as the music invites you to lose yourself completely in it by following closely all the subtle timbre nuances. What makes this album so interesting is the fact that “returning” to an instrument made in 1970 doesn’t simply make Five Steps is a blast from the past, or an example of the importance of the so-called vintage or retro poetic in music. Instead, Five Steps speaks volumes about the relationship between digital and analogue technology, bearing witness to what happens when two people with immense experience in digital music production go “back to basics,” opening themselves up to the vast, complicated and amazing world of analogue technology.
Five Steps has another very important feature: it can be enjoyed by electronic music lovers (and those fascinated with analogue synthesizers), professionals, as well as by those who simply enjoy hearing beautiful music without getting too much into how it’s made. Whichever of these categories describes you best, you will lose yourself in majestic sounds made by Fitoussi, Hourriere and the Buchla 200. You can listen to the entire album below.