Friday, August 31, 2012

CRUMAR Toccata organ (text in english)

Founded in the late '60s/early '70s by Mario Crucianelli, Crumar was an Italian company that became very famous in its time mainly by their synths, keyboards and organs (both in compact or not so compact models). Mario was brother from Pierro Crucianelli, president of Elka - another very well known Italian company. Crumar existed until 1987 and the company's golden age was in the second half of the '70s, when they put on the market their "Pianoman" and "Stringman" models (1974) and later the model that combined the two machines in one, the "Multiman" model (1977).  Even with this machines achieving a great reputation on the market, for me Crumar's coolest instruments are the "Hammond organ clones" made from 1974 on which had a great sound, very close to Hammond organs, but much more compact and easier to carry than the originals.

The Crumar Toccata organ was released in 1981 as a more compact version of all previous models of these "Hammond clones", more specifically the model T1/C (whose main difference was having one extra octave - higher than the Toccata's four octaves - and drawbars, like that ones from Hammond organs). The Crumar Toccata organ was manufactured until 1986.

With four octave of extension (49 keys) the Toccata organ is fully polyphonic and has eight presets with various organ sounds (from the emphasis on the lower to the higher harmonic overtones). It also has controls of vibrato and a very interesting Leslie cabinet simulator, very close to the sound of the original - the closest I found in organs that have this feature built in. Both vibrato and Leslie simulator (called "Chorale" on Crumar Toccata) has two preset speeds and "Chorale" can be selected via a foot-switch connected by a single cable P-10 in the rear of the instrument. It also has two percussion controls on/off (in 4' and 2 2/3') with independent volume and decay plus a click to the notes. A knob for tuning and an audio output (along with the aforementioned jack for footswitch) on the rear complete the Crumar Toccata.

I did not find any information about artist who has used Crumar Toccata in recording or live performances. It's even hard to find anyone - to mention famous players - who has used a Crumar instrument (I only found references to Nick Rhodes of Duran Duran and the jazz/crazy musician Sun Ra, beyond the curious fact that Dr. Robert Moog and engineer Jim Scott were involved with the design of the Spirit synthesizer made by Crumar in 1983). But I used my Crumar Toccata organ as my main organ sound on almost anything, including my first solo album ("Petiscos: sabor churrasco/switched-on Bah!", 2004), on the CD I recorded with Jimi Joe ("Saudade do future", 2005), on Jupiter Maçã's CD "Uma tarde na fruteira" (this organ sound is pretty much the main instrument on the songs "Marchina psichotica do dr. Soup", "Mademoiselle Marchand" and "Sorvete com vocês") and I also played it on several songs from my good friend Plato Divorak! It is the organ that I take for every show I perform or play as a guest musician. My Crumar Toccata organ and my Moog Prodigy that travel more frequently with me (both have almost the same flight hours that me!)

I have my Crumar Toccata organ since 1997. The first album I used it was also the first professional recording in which I participated, the CD "Era uma vez um gato xadrex" by "Acretinice me Atray" (released in 1998). I purchased my Crumar from Fabio Bohn, owner of Arbon, a well known manufacturer of organs and harmoniums in Novo Hamburgo, Rio Grande do Sul. I do not recall how much I paid but I think that was the equivalent of about $ 500, an expensive amount for me in that time, especially if compared with other instruments that I bought in the same period. Fabio also had a "Leslie"-like rotary speaker from Yamaha and remember that I was happy and sad at the same time: happy to buy the organ and sad for not having enough money at this "Leslie". The serial number of my Crumar Toccata is R8/006 3 and, because I use it constantly, I've had to make some adjustments and fix it sometimes. The main repairs were replacing the fuse socket and remake the entire back of the organ - both the socket and the rear part of the cabinet were broken during a flight from Recife to Porto Alegre, in December 2009. To replace the wood from the back side of the organ, I had the help of my friend Roger Severo, an artist from Uruguaiana who lives in São Leopoldo, Rio Grande do Sul - the city I was born.

photos: Kay Mavrides

I recorded this video on April 19, 2011!

Crumar Toccata ad ('80s):

Sunday, August 19, 2012

Moog catalog (late '70s)

MOOG Synthesizers

The Moog Philosophy

"If you're into synthesizers, you have a lot in common with us. We're concerned, and maybe you are too, about some of the hype that's been around on synthesizer design. It's the kind of hype that places too much importance on gimmicks that don't have any real musical purpose.

Musicians Like You Help Design Moog Sinthesizers

Fads, gimmicks and basically unmusical electronic features don't make a synthesizer a musical instrument. Feel, sound and playability do. That's why Moog has always designed its instruments in close collaboration with working musicians - people like Rick Wakeman, Jon Lord, Chick Corea, Jan Hammer, - some of the most talented performers of our time.
At Moog, literally thousands of hours are spent every year talking (and listening carefully) to our musician friends.We visit recording studios. Go on tour with major groups. Sometimes even participate in live performances. All this teaches us a great deal about what you, the players, need and want in a synthesizer.

From Moog "Musical Engineering", The Very Best Sound and Performance

Formulas and specs are critical, but without the taste and insight of Moog's "musical engineers", our synthesizers would just be sound generators and not the versatile musical instruments they are. For example, part of the famous Moog "fat sound" comes from the patented Moog filter. But the total sound of the instrument is the result of dozens of individual design features meticulously proportioned to give just the right sound and feel.
The spirit of "musical engineering" is behind Moog's many exclusive performance controls, too. Take our Pitch and Modulation Wheels and our Robbon Controller. They enable the player to easily control pitch bend, vibrato and other nuances so vital to brilliant solo performance. These are the features that make the difference between a "one note organ" sound and the soaring, fluid Moog lines you hear in the best contemporary electronic music.

The Truth About Sliders Versus Rotary Pots

Take a look at any recording console. You'll see that the faders are sliders, because the recording engineer has to manipulate many of them simultaneously, especially during a mix. But just about all the other controls on the console are rotaries, because they're so much easier to set precisely. Moog's answer? Use both... rotaries where precision is critical, sliders where speed is the thing (or where space is limited). But to say that there's only one right way, well again, that's just hype. Just try to accurately tune an all-slider instrument!
The point of all this is that if you're into synthesizers, you really ought to know the difference between electronic gimmickry and solid musical engineering. We're convinced that Moog offers equipment that gives you the most quality, playability and musical control over sound.
If you visit and Authorised Moog dealer he will be able to give you all the answers you're looking for... technical specifications, a demonstration and explanation, and a chance to try the Moog Products.
Once you've tried a Moog Synthesizer you'll understand the Moog Philosophy".


Multimoog is the synthesizer for the composer in you and the keyboard for the performer in you. The force-sensitive keyboard extends Moog's musical engineering to let you phrase, bend pitch, and introduce vibrato, trill, tremolo - even sample and hold - with a single hand.
While your right hand plays two hands worth of music, your left hand can play the Moog Pitch Ribbon and Performance Wheel for added expression. Multimoog puts control where it belongs - in your hands.
Variable control and Moog's open system input/output panel make the Multimoog a powerful synthesizer as well as an expressive keyboard.
Whether you're a performer, a synthesist - or both - check out the one-hand/two-hand punch of the versatile one-MULTIMOOG.

• Two temperature-regulated ultra stable audio oscillators (heated chip technology)
• Separate modulation oscillator
• Filter can produce sine wave
• Controlled filter emphasis to prevent accidental oscillation
• Continuously variable voltage controlled waveshapes
• One or two suboctave doubling also blendable
• Octave "click" switching 32' to 2'
• Wide Frequency knob can sweep oscillator pitch continuously over 8 octave range
• Modulation section features quick source-destination orientation
• Dual mode Sample and Hold - synchronous triggering or control output only
• Force sensitive keyboard - touch can take the place of the modulation wheel
• Patented Moog voltage controlled low pass filter, 24 dB per octave
• Reversible filter contours to create a whole new class of sounds
• Separate contour generators for VCF and VCA
• Ribbon "return to center" pitch bender - zero intertia playing
• "Open system" - Input/output capacity make it compatible with other Moog synthesizers, accessories, and audio sources such as the guitar
• Glide (variable) switchable from panel or footswitch

Power Requirements
VAC or 180-260 VAC
50/60 Hz. 18 watts
Detachable international power cord


The Micromoog is a compact musical instrument. It is designed to be fast and easy to play.
Control over performance.
It is constructed to be durable but light. The controls and keyboard are protected by its casing.
Control over handling.
It is an example of musical engineering.
The intuitive centre-return ribbon controller and performance wheel introduce musical feeling into electronic music.
Control over sound.
There are a minumum number of controls but a great deal of functions. The open system design allows extended input/output capability.
Control over price.

• Temperature regulated ultra stable audio oscillator (heated chip technology)
• Separate modulationg oscillator
• Filter can produce pure sine wave
• Controlled filter emphasis to prevent accidental oscillation
• Controlled filter emphasis to prevent accidental oscillation
• Continuously variable voltage controlled waveshape
• One or two suboctave doubling - blendable
• Octave "click" switching - 32', 16', 8', 4', 2'.

Power Requirements
180-260 VAC. 50/60 Hz. 5 watts.


with new Drift Free circuitry

Minimoog introduced synthesizers to the performing musician - it is the classic lead-line performance synthesizer. What the player needs is a logical built controllable musical instrument, that sounds great. The Minimoog is such a musical instrument. Moog's musically engineered left hand controllers let you bend pitch intuitively and vary modulations such as vibrato with musical feel.
Try out the sound - control over sound - find out what makes a classic synthesizer - MINIMOOG.

• Ultra stable oscillatiors
• Logical control panel layout with signal processing from left to right
• Three tone oscillators, each with separate octave clickers, waveform selectors, volume controls, on/off switches. Oscillators 2 and 3 have separate tuning controls. (Oscillator 1 is tuned with master tune control).

Power Requirements: 
200 - 260 volts, 50-60 Hz.
10 watts maximum.
Specifications subject to change.

Taurus Pedal

The Moog Taurus Pedal Synthesizer lets you make music with your feet while your hands are busy playing keyboard, guitar, or drums.
The Taurus has three programmed voices and a voice that you can program completely. In performance you can select a Moog voice or your voice instantly. The Taurus is a variable synthesizer that features two audio oscillators to create phasing effects, parallel intervals, and rich percussive sounds. In addition functions like glide, decay, and pedalboard octave may be switched by foot during performance. And its five octave range makes Taurus more than a bass instrument.
Add another dimension to your control over sound - add a Moog Taurus pedal synthesizer.

Taurus Features
Three pre-programmed synthesizer voices: Bass, Tuba and Taurus
• One fully programmable voice. You create the sound and pre-set it yourself.
• Five octave range - 32', 16', 8', 4', 2'.
• Foot sliders for loudness and tone color variation.
• Ultra stable oscillator design: less than one cent (0,06%) short term drift, less than two cents (0,18%) long term drift.
• Electronic preset selectors. Preset never have to be canceled.

Polypedal Controller Functions

• Volume
• Filter and/or Pitch
• Sustain
• Trigger Mode Selector and Touch Switch
• Pitch Selector Tuneable from 0 over 1 octave

Polymoog Synthesizer

The Polymoog synthesizer. The instrument that re-designed the world of synthesis.
No other instrument offers the variety of sound, and control over sound, present at the Polymoog control panel. The fully polyphonic, touch responsive keyboards gives the Polymoog instant-play capabilities. Eight pre-programmed voices and a user-programmable voice give it instant-change capabilities. At any time, the pro-programmed voices can be altered with the variable controls, allowing limitless creation of new sounds. The versatility of a Polyphonic synthesizer. The expression of a performing keyboard. Get it all with the Polymoog Synthesizer.

Outputs: Output Levels (5 outputs) )dBm nominal
Output Impedances (5 outputs) 600 ohms
Output Coupling: Mix output, single ended or balanced (XLR). Direct, VCF, MODE, RES; single ended
Keyboard Voltage: Adjustable from 0.9 to 1.2 volts/octave
S-trig: Single or multiple negative trigger; retrig 20msec.
Inputs: Filter 0.64 volts/octave
Pitch: 0.9 volts/octave
Sell (Loudness): 5 volts for 30 dB change
Mod Amount: 0-5 volt range
Ext syn, trig mode, sustain, glide, on/off, Switch closure.
Power Requirements: 200-260 VAC; 0.5A/0.25A

Polymoog Keyboard

The Polymoog Keyboard is musically engineered to give you the tonal variety and breadth of expression of a primary keyboard. Fourteen programmed voices give you a variety of characteristic sounds from one keyboard.
The Polymmog Keyboard is velocity sensitive. It allows the same kind of intuitive touch sensivity as the piano. An individual voltage controlled filter and voltage controlled amplifier for each key lets you play without triggering problems.
Polymoog polyphony is not restricted - either by the number of notes playable simultaneously, or by the size of the 71 note keyboard.
Synthesizer tonal variety goes right down to voltage controlled oscillators.
Primary keyboard musicality is a keyboard that feel your fingers. Get them both together in the Polymoog Keyboard.

• 14 pre-programmed voices: Vox Humana, Strings I, Strings II, Electric Piano, Grand Piano, Honky Tonk Piano, Clavinet, Harpsichord, Brass Solo, Brass Chorus, Pipe Organ, Rock Organ, Vibes, Funk.
• Multi-oscillator output for chorus effects
• Totally polyphonic touch sensitive keyboard
• Studio quality signal/noise ratio
• Monophonic synthesizer interface connections
• Stereo output configuration
• Variable modulation rate and amount
• Variable attack time
• Filtered lower keyboard output with level and frequency controls
• Foot control or pitch, sustain, trigger, and volume with optional Polypedal

Sound Sources
Number of oscillators - 2 (71 ranks; slaved to precision VCO)
Articulators - 142 (VCA and VCF for each key)
Frequency range - E1-D7, 71 note keyboard: Pitch ribbon and external frequency control gives maximum of +- octave pitch control
Pitch stability - +- 0.0z% (+- 1/3 cent)
Pitch ribbon range - +- 7 semitones minimum
Fine tune range - +- 1 semitone
Beat tune range - +- 1/4 semitone
Number - 14 programmed
Voice modification controls - modulation rate and amount, octave balance (3), attack (sustaining voices)
Bass - 14 programmed: variable cutoff frequency and separate gain controls
Main - Nominal output level 0dBm (0.7 volts) output impedance - less than 3k
Bass - Nominal output level 0dBm (0.7 volts) output impedance less than 3k (plugging into bass output automatically isolates bass signal from main output)
Control Outputs
Keyboard control - Scale adjustable from 0.9 to 1.1 volts/octave with rear panel scale pot: range adjustable +- 1 1/2 semitones
Trigger - S trig (+- 15 to 0.0 VAC) single/multiple determined by trig mode switch or foot-switch
Keyboard control voltage - 30 db control with 0 to 5 VAC input impedance - 200k
Filter - 0.5 volts/octave input impedance - 1 mag (for BRASS voices)
Trigger - Switch to ground gives single trigger mode with trig switch in multiple position
Pitch - 0.7 volts/octave
Sustain - Switch to ground gives sustain
Accessory Power Outputs - +- 15, +5VDC at 100 ma available for each supply voltage.

Signal Processors


The Moog Vocoder is an instrument which continuously analyzes the timbral characteristics of one sound (program) and impresses these timbral characteristics upon a second signal (carrier). The most familiar use of this type of instrument is to impose vocal characteristics onto instrumental sounds. As a musical instrument, a large variety of musical effects are possible by applying different types of signals to the two audio inputs called the program and the carrier input.
The 16-channel Moog Vocoder has a variety of features especially developed and engineered for musical performance. These features make the instrument a powerful sound modifier for both live performance and for studio work.

• Sixteen channels plus a special high frequency channel which operates either in the "direct" mode or in a "switched" mode which is activated by the presence of very high frequency sounds
• Fast six millisecond response time especially useful for percussive sounds
• Full external patching between the analyzer and synthesizer sections
• Patch select controls allows quick switching from the "normal" to the pre-selected patched configuration
• A bypass control switches the Vocoder in and out rapidly
• Foot switch jacks provide for live performance control of sample hold, patch select and Vocoder bypass
• Rugged Moog Signal Processer chassis with reversible end plates for rack mounting or free standing use
• 110/220 VAC, 50/60 Hz line voltage for world wide use.
• Overload indicators for indicating optimum signal-to-noise settings on the program and carrier inputs.

Program Input
Nominal level
Line: 0dBm (0.7 volts)
Mic: 40dBm (0.007 volts)
Input Impedance
Line: 20k ohms
Mic 30k ohms
Carrier Input
Nominal Level: 0dBm (0.7 volts)
Input Impedance 100k ohms
Level: + 10dBm (2.2 volts)
Output: 1 ohm
Effective Signal/Noise Ratio 60dB
Frequency Range
Overall: 50-15.000 Hz
Vocoder: 50-5.080 Hz
Gates or bypassed: 5.080-15.000 Hz

Parametric and Graphic Equalizers
Bringing the studio closer to home

Now, with Moog's Ten Band Graphic Equalizer and Three Band Parametric Equalizer you have the answer. Engineered for the studio technician and build for the stage musician. In fact, Moog's Signal Processors are ready veterans in recording studios - among producers, engineers and musicians alike. That says a lot for units that were built to handle the road. Moog Signal Processors were designed to meet the wide range demands of keyboard instruments - to handle a very wide dynamic range and extended frequency response. The controls on Moog's Signal Processors have a smooth, quiet action for precision adjustments. The Graphic Equalizer's sliders are protected from dust entering their mechanisms, so they stay smooth and quiet. The slider centre points are detented for fast easy reference you can feel. You can bypass the Graphic or Parametric by flipping the Status Switch for fast sound changes. And the Drive control lets you adjust the level of the Equalizer's internal signal to match the input signal. It lets you maintain a high signal-to-noise ratio with low output instruments and guards against overload from high output instruments. You can also uses Moog's Signal Processors as line drivers for long cords stretching across the stage. Moog's Signal Processors are designed for the studio and the road, right down to the two way chassis. In one position the carrying handles also protect the front panel, extending beyond the controls. In the other position there are two flanges, complete with screwholes, for mounting in a standard 19' rack space.


1125 Sample & Hold

(Usable with Micromoog, Minimoog, Polymoog, Modular systems)
You've heard Moog's Sample & Hold creating a lot of extra special effects on a lot of today's hit recordings. It delivers a steady, rhythmic pattern of notes climbing up the scale, over again, or down the scale, or just jumping all around the scale at random. The glide control gives your music "animation" like vibrato. The Sample & Hold is like a drummer playing notes, so it's great accompaniment for drum solos. It'll put new life in the band's "rhythmic breaks". And it's a show stopper too with its extra special sound effects.

1150 Ribbon Controller

(Usable with Micromoog, Minimoog, Modular systems)
One of Moog's most popular accessories, the Ribbon Controller, is a whole new group of instruments in itself. You can use it as a Hawaiian guitar, theremin, "musical saw", and a lot of instruments you never heard of. The Ribbon Controller is a fretless fingerboard you play by just touching the ribbon. As you slide your finger to the right, the pitches rises. You can adjust the Ribbon Controller so that it ten or more octaves, or so its range and length correspond to that of a keyboard. Another slide control lets you "filter" the high frequencies. You can also use the Ribbon Controller as a loudness control, or even as a percussive instrument, tapping the ribbon to trigger a sound.

1121 Glide/Decay Footswitch

(Usable with Micromoog, Minimoog, Polymoog)
A lot of professional musicians know how dramatic it is to switch sounds instantly in the middle of a tune. But, if both your hands are busy playing, even flipping one little function switch is impossible. That's why the 1121 Footswitch is so valuable. It lets you turn either the glide or decay on the MINIMOOG (or both with 2 footswithces) on or off at the tap of your foot. On MICROMOOG it lets you turn modulation on and off.

1130 Percussion Controller

(Usable with Micromoog, Minimoog, Modular systems)
Everybody talks about having a "new beat". But, Moog's Percussion Controller is no idle talking. It's a "touch sensitive" drum that can control the pitch of the synthesizer, the filter, or both simultaneously. When you hit it harder the pitch rises and/or the filter opens. You can control the "sensitivity" of the drum (how hard you have to hit it to get a response) and the "scale" (how much it responds when you hit it). Now the drummer can play chords, wah wah, repeating patterns and so much more, he can't even be called a "drummer" anymore.

1120 Foot Pedal Controller

(Usable with Micromoog, Minimoog, Polymoog, Modular systems)
Like the 1121 Footswitch, the 1120 Foot Pedal Controller gives the musician a third hand - or rather a foot. It's a variable control that lets you control the pitch bend, cutoff frequency (for wah wah or tone color) or loudness (for "expression") with your foot. The Foot Pedal Controller can even operate two or more synthesizer functions simultaneously.

Flight Cases

To protect your Moog Synthesizer we now offer a range of flight cases for all models. These rugged cases are a must for the traveling musicians.


Ask a recording engineer - violins require one mike, while guitar require another. Ask a sound reinforcement technician - one speaker suits the bass while another suits the horns. Even amps have to vary as instruments vary. That's why even the thought of creating the SynAmp was such a vast concept - because the synthesizer is such a vast instrument with so many sounds. The SynAmp was created to sound superb with every sound the synthesizer makes. And it was developed with expert help of the people who advanced the synthesizer ever since its beginnings - Moog Synthesizers have proven to be truly outstanding instruments. And now, thanks to the SynAmp, they'll sound more outstanding than ever.
Synamp Head
• 400 watts continuous average power output. User selectable as 2 x 200 watts biamp or 2-200 watt full range power amplifiers
• Four input channels (capable of taking up to eight inputs with LED overload indication)
• Three band parametric equalizer for each input channel
• 10 Band Graphic Equalizer
• Effects Channel for detachable reverb section, switchable to external effects source
• Internal headphone monitor amplifier and house sound kill button for changing, checking or adjusting input levels of synthesizer patches without turning system down. Warning light indicates house sound off
• 60dB range peak reading meter
• Internal four pole active crossover and equalizer for Biamp use
• Two compressors - one for each amplifier with indication lamps
• Clipping indicator for each power amp
• Comprehensive back panel for various patching operations
• Amp and Speaker test facility
Synamp Cabinet
• Two 15' low frequency premium grade drivers in computer assisted vented enclosure design
• Compression driver and horn mid-range
• Compression driver wide dispersion tweeters
• Mid and High frequency driver protection circuitry with automatic reset
• Speaker cover panels for protection during transit

Studio Systems

The big modular systems from Moog are what started the synthesizer revolution. There are three basic systems in the modular range. Systems 15, 35 and 55. As the word modular implies the systems are moade up with modules which can be changed or simply added to the basic system you buy.
The biggest system, the 55, in two cabinets comprises:
• 6 x oscillators in two banks
• 2 x oscillator drivers
• 1 x low frequency oscillator
• 1 x fixed bank filter
• 1 x voltage controlled low pass filter
• 1 x voltage controlled high pass filter
• 5 x envelope generators
• 1 x dual trigger delay
• 1 x sequencer
• 1 x attenuator panel
• 1 x multiple panel
• 1 x random noise generator
• 5 octave keyboard

A total of 36 individual modules each with a specific function in sound generation, processing or control are contained in the system 55.
Only the finest, 100% professional quality components are used in construction of the Synthesizer to provide reliable performance and durability. Careful consideration has been given to the placement of individual modules within the system, to provide convenient and logical inter-connections. The most used control connections can be internally selected by switches to reduce patch-cord use.
Most important, these features are the culmination of more than a decade of collaboration between Moog Music and leading musicians throughout the world - to create a system providing musical control of the vast potential of electronic sound.

Moog Studio Systems are only available to special order.

Product                                Length  Depth  Height  Weight
                                              CM        CM      CM        KG
Micro                                     61          38        14          9
Mini                                       72          41        14          13
Taurus                                   62          51         21          13
Poly Synthesizer                 114        57        16           33            
Poly Keyboard                    114        57        16           32
Vocoder                                 44         39         17           9
Multimoog                            81         38         14          12
Signal Processors                  48         9           18           4
Syn Amp                                56         57          28          45
Syn Amp Low Frequency
Cabinet                                   73         56         135         95
Syn Amp Mid Range
Cabinet                                   73          51         30          27

Another Quality Product from Norlin

Norlin Worldwide:
USA: 7373 N Cicero Avenue, Lincolnwood, Illinois 60646
Europe: Waalhaven ZZ48, Rotterdam, Nederlands
UK: Woolpack Lane, Braintree, Essex
International & Canada: 51 Nantucker Blvd., Scarborough, Ontario, Canada

Printed in the UK 0611503

Friday, August 03, 2012

Cinco perguntas para Vince Clarke

Gênio. Não consigo encontrar outra palavra para descrever Vince Clarke. Nascido no dia 3 de julho de 1960 em South Woodfort e crescido na cidade de Basildon, Essex, Vincent John Martin estudou violino e piano na sua infância. No final dos anos 70 Vince e Andrew Fletcher, seu colega de escola, formaram a "No Romance in China", sua primeira banda juntos. A "No Romance in China" mudou de formação e passou a se chamar "French Look" em 1979. Em 1980 surgia outra banda, "Composition of Sound", na qual Vince exercia a função de vocalista até que David Grahan se juntou à banda, que novamente foi renomeada como "Depeche Mode" and é isto, o DM gravou um dos maiores àlbuns de todos os tempos ("Speak & Spell", 1981, composto quase que integralmente por Clarke), tornou-se uma das maiores bandas do mundo e ajudou a forjar o início da era do Synthpop!

Vince deixou o "Depeche Mode" logo após o lançamento do primeiro àlbum da banda e formou o "Yazoo", uma dupla com Alyson Moyet, com quem gravou vários singles de sucesso e dois grandes àlbuns. Eme 1983 Vince e Alyson acabaram com o "Yazoo" e Vince formou outra dupla - desta vez com o engenheiro de som Eric Radcliffe - chamada "The Assembly", que tinha diversos colaboradores nas suas gravações. No mesmo ano Vince deu início à sua carreira como produtor, gravando quatro singles do ex-colega da banda "French Look", Robert Marlow, e lançando pelo seu próprio selo, Reset Records". 

No início de 1985, Vince colocou um anúncio em uma revista (Melody Maker), procurando por um vocalista e um dos candidatos foi o Andy Bell. Uma das bandas com maior vendagem do mundo nascia ali: Erasure!

Como quase todas as pessoas que estão com 30 anos ou mais hoje em dia, tanto o "Depeche Mode" quanto o "Erasure" fizeram parte da minha infância e adolescência (eu me lembro claramente do dia que ouvi "Blue Savannah" no rádio pela primeira vez! E tinhamos um colega de escola chamado Rafael Collete - ele faleceu em um acidente de bicicleta numa virada de ano, no final dos 90 - que era fanático pelo "Depeche Mode", ele tinha tudo lançado pela banda até então!). Vince Clarke tornou-se não só meu super-herói mas também o cara que eu menciono todas as vezes que alguém vem encher o meu saco, questionando sobre minha escolha por sintetizadores vintage/analógicos. Como eu costumo dizer, se um gênio como Vince Clarke ainda possiu (e utiliza) equipamento vintage/analógico, ninguém no mundo vai me convencer que sintetizadores e equipamentos modernos são melhores que meu Minimoog e minhas outras velharias!

Contatei o Vince Clarke pela primeira vez pelo twitter e perguntei-lhe se ele aceitava fazer esta entrevista, via seu produtor, Michael Pagnotta. Ambos foram muito simpaticos e responderam meus emails com muita rapidez! Eu agradeço aos dois pela entrevista e pela amizade!

ASTRONAUTA - Vince, eu assisti a um vídeo no youtube onde o entrevistador pergunta se você é um "caçador de sintetizadores" e você disse a ele que não é mais. Quando foi seu período mais intenso e obcecado na "caçada" por equipamentos analógicos?  Existe algum equipamento dos seus sonhos que você ainda não possua? E quais são seus intrumentos preferidos e/ou aqueles que você utiliza mais hoje em dia?

VINCE - Eu acho que comecei a colecionar sintetizadores seriamente no início dos anos 90. E naquela época mesmo, como fiquei sem espaço, parei. Eu percebi que os únicos teclados que valiam a pena eu ter eram aqueles que seriam úteis para o meu processo de fazer música, e isso ainda é verdade hoje em dia. Eu tento incorporar o maior número de sintetizadores diferentes na minha música ao invés de escolher um ou outro teclado da minha preferência.

ASTRONAUTA - Nos primeiros discos gravados por você, especialmente no àlbum "Speak & Spell" do Depeche Mode, você usava apenas sintetizadores analógicos (não somente por uma questão de escolha sua mas também porque a tecnologia digital estava recém surgindo no mundo da música). Como era o processo de gravação naquela época, como você sincronizava seu equipamento, especialmente os que eram feitos por diferentes fabricantes?

VINCE - As primeiras coisas do Depeche Mode eram registradas em um gravador Studer de 16 canais. Vários canais tinham que ser reduzidos, as decisões tinham que ser feitas no momento certo. O engenheiro, Eric Radcliffe, arrumou uma maneira de gravar uma trilha com um click básico no canal 16, que nos permitia colocar o sequencer da ARP em sincronia.

ASTRONAUTA - Em algumas tours (especiamente na tour de 1991/1992 do Erasure, onde você tinha um "tanque" cheio de equipamentos), você viajava com muitos teclados analógicos. Como era feita a manutenção destes equipamentos analógicos, você viajava com um técnico em eletrônica especializado em instrumentos analógicos para reparar seus sintetizadores na estrada ou você sabia (ou sabe) como fazer a manutenção do seu própio equipamento?

VINCE - Todo o equipamento era revisado antes da tour e requeria pouquíssima manutenção durante a tour... (apenas algum TLC - nota: abreviação para Tender, Love, Care = Afeto, Amor e Cuidado). Meu próprio conhecimento em manutenção de sintetizadores era e ainda é limitado. No caso de acontecer algum problema, achavamos algum engenheiro na cidade onde estavamos nos apresentando.

ASTRONAUTA - Como é seu método de composição, você escreve suas músicas primeiro na guitarra e dai vai para os sintetizadores ou você compõe direto nos sintetizadores analógicos, sequencers e baterias eletrônicas?

VINCE - As músicas são compostas tanto na guitarra quanto no piano. Desta maneira nós podemos nos concentrar puramente na melodia e nas letras e não nos distrairmos com o ilimitado mundo das esculturas sonoras.

ASTRONAUTA - Eu suponho que você tenha muito material solo, demos de muitas músicas que você escreveu para suas bandas e projetos. Se você tem este tipo de material, pretende lançar algum dia? E um disco solo de Vince Clarke, podemos esperar que seja lançado no futuro?

VINCE - Duvido que eu lance algum disco solo. Eu realmente prefiro "colaborações". 

Site oficial do Vince Clarke: THE CABIN STUDIO

Wednesday, August 01, 2012

Five questions to Vince Clarke

Genius. I can't find another word to describe Vince Clarke. Born on july 3, 1960 in South Woodfort and raised in Basildon, Essex, Vincent John Martin studied violin and piano in his childhood. In the late '70s Vince and his schoolmate Andrew Fletcher formed a band called "No Romance in China", their first band together. "No Romance in China" was reformed and renamed "French Look" in 1979. In 1980 another band was born, "Composition of Sound", in which Vince provided vocals until David Grahan joined the band that was renamed again as "Depeche Mode" and that's it, DM recorded one of the greatest albums of all time ("Speak & Spell", 1981, almost composed entirely by Clake), became one of the greatest bands the world and it was the beginning of the Synthpop era!

Vince left "Depeche Mode" soon after the release of their first album and formed "Yazoo", a duo with Alyson Moyet and recorded many successful singles and two albums. In 1983 Vince and Alyson split "Yazoo" and Vince formed "The Assembly", a duo with Eric Radcliffe that had different collaborators in their singles. In the same year Vince started his career as a producer in his own label, Reset Records, producing four singles to his ex-bandmate Robert Marlow (from "French Look"). 

In early 1985 Vince put an ad in a magazine (Melody Maker) searching for a vocalist and one of the applicants was Andy Bell. One of the major selling acts in the world was born: Erasure!

Like almost everybody who has more that has 30 years or more today, both "Depeche Mode" and "Erasure" were part of my childhood and teenage days (I remember clearly when I heard "Blue Savannah" on the radio for the first time! And I also had a schoolmate called Rafael Collete - he died in an bike accident on a new eve's day, in the late '90s - who was simply crazy about "Depeche Mode"!). Vince Clarke became not only my superhero but also the guy who I mention everytime when some people bother me talking against my choice for vintage/analog synthesizers. As I use to say, if a genius like Vince Clarke still has (and uses) a lot of vintage/analog gear, no one in the world can convince me that any modern synth or gear is better than my old Minimoog and other stuff!

I found Vince's contact on twitter and I asked him to do this interview via his manager, Michael Pagnotta. Both these guys were very gentle and answered my emails very soon! I thank them so much for this interview and friendship!

ASTRONAUTA - Vince, I watched a video on youtube in which the interviewer asked you if you're a "synthesizers hunter" and you told him that you're not anymore but you was one in the past. When was your most obsessed period in the hunt for analog equipment? Is there any equipment of your dreams that you do not have yet? And what are your preferred instruments and/or the ones you use most nowadays?

VINCE - I think I seriously started collecting synths in the early 90's. And then, having run out of space, I stopped. I realized, the only keyboards worth owning were the one's that would be useful to my music making process, and that is still true today. I try to incorporate as many different synths as possible into my music, rather than favor one particular keyboard over another.

ASTRONAUTA - In the first albums recorded by you, especially on Depeche Mode's "Speak & Spell" you used only analog synthesizers (not ONLY by your choice but also because the digital technology was just emerging in the music world). How was the recording process on that time, how did you synchonized your equipment, especially those that were made by different manufacturers?

VINCE - The early Depeche stuff was recorded onto a 16 track Studer machine. Lot's of tracks had to be bounced together, decisions had to be made there and then. The engineer, Eric Radcliffe, devised a way of recording a rudimentary click track onto track 16 which enabled us to run an Arp sequencer in sync.

ASTRONAUTA - In some tours (especially on the Erasure's 1991/1992 tour, in which you had a "tank" with multiple keyboards inside), you traveled with many analog keyboards. How was the maintenance of this analog equipment, did you traveled with an electronic technician specialized in analog instruments to repair your synths on the road or did you (or do you) know how to repair your own instruments?

VINCE - All of the gear was serviced prior to the tour and required very little maintenance over the course of the tour..(just some TLC). My own knowledge of synth repair was, and still is limited. In the case of a breakdown we would usually find an engineer in whatever city we were performing.

ASTRONAUTA - How is your method of composition, do you write a song on the guitar first and then go to synthesizers or do you already compose direct on the analog synths, sequencers and drum machines?

VINCE - The songs are composed on either guitar or piano. That way, we can concentrate purely on the melody and lyrics, and not get distracted by the limitless world of sound sculpture.

ASTRONAUTA - I suppose that you have a lot of solo stuff, demos of several songs that you wrote for your bands and projects. If you have, do you want to release this material someday? And how about a Vince Clarke solo album, can we expect that you release a complete solo album someday?

VINCE - I doubt I'll ever release a solo record. I really get a kick out of 'collaboration'. 

Vince Clarke's official website: THE CABIN STUDIO