Doing complete tracks using only one synth - (1)2009-08-05 by Hal Berstram
The MS Series (Pino and Wildjamin) – Monochill
This is the first in a very short series of posts exploring electronic musicians who have stripped electronic music back to its essentials, by not just using only electronic instruments to make their tracks, but by using just one synthesiser to make each track.
The MS Series was a CD that appeared in 1995 on Pete Namlook’s Fax records label by two guys called Pino and Wildjamin, who had previously collaborated with Dr Atmo on another Fax CD called The Whole Traffic. Dr Atmo himself had collaborated with Namlook on Fax’s first ever release, the 1992 classic Silence (licensed to Rising High records for wider release the year after).
As the title suggests, almost all the sounds on the album are made using Korg’s MS series of synthesisers – these were weird looking things with loads of knobs and jack sockets (for patching) on which came out in 1978. I myself am lucky enough to own an MS10, the smallest one in the family, and I can report that it is a great synth with a particularly good filter.
The MS Series has led to mixed reactions from folks that I’ve previously played it to. One ex-work colleague said it was a classic; another said that it was the most boring CD he had ever heard. It’s fair to say that rather than grabbing the listener by the scruff of the neck, this album concentrates on taking a few ideas and exploring them carefully. And playing a lot with the knob on the synth marked “voltage controlled lowpass filter.”
There’s an amusing story regarding this album I’d like to relate: an old schoolfriend of mine played his stepfather something ambient by (Brian) Eno. On a later occasion the poor guy tried to criticise ambient music but got Eno’s name wrong: “Pino [sic]? Monstrous rubbish. Jackson Pollock of the music industry.”
I was therefore greatly amused when I found that there really was a musician called Pino, and he wasn’t monstrous rubbish.
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