This is a playlist that features two historic pieces of gear by Fairlight (Pete Vogel) The first being the well known Fairlight CMI which was the first digital audio sampler, but I have also included the lesser known CVI (computer video instrument) which was an analog video fx unit that made some incredibly cool video fx. These are pretty hard to come by these days, but there’s several good vids on youtube with them.
Also there’s a Fairlight CMI app now available on iOS, so if you have an iPad you should look into that. I’m still waiting for the Android or Windows version :p
1. E-Mu Systems Emulator – First up is from our pal SynthMania who made this awesome Retrowave track the authentic way, by using the classic E-mu Emulator sampler! I’ve been obsessed with the Emulator for years now. This one looks like it’s in fantastic condition too. Nice work on this Tear For Fears-esq track!
2. Casio RZ-1 – acidphaze made this cool acid jam with an RZ-1, Korg Volca Bass and Monotron. The RZ-1 was an 8 bit sampler drum machine. Though in this vid he’s using most of the on board drum samples, I still think it qualifies since it’s a high quality performance.
3. Ensoniq Mirage – Arguably one of the best early samplers made for actual synth playing I was surprised as to how hard it was for me to find a quality performance on Youtube with a Mirage until I found this one by Hyboid a.k.a. Astro Chicken. He used a plethora of awesome 80s gear in this one, including a Kawai K1M, Simmons SDS800, Oberheim Matrix 6R, and more!
4. Fairlight CMI – Invented in 1979, the Fairlight CMI was the very first digital sampler and it completely changed the music industry forever. I could not find a recent performance on a Fairlight CMI of any quality, but I did find this rare old vid of Ryuichi Sakamoto playing one years ago!
5. Akai MPC-60 – This was another game changer sampler and had as much to do with the development of Rap music as nearly any one single artist. What you don’t hear often is and MPC being used to make Avantgarde Jazz, which is what Michal Patulski did in this awesome vid.
This is another one of those Youtube gold finds. Watch Peter Gabriel rummage around in Junk Yards, smashing windshields, TVs, and blowing through metal pipes to gather samples for the Fairlight CMI!
Peter was quite a sampling pioneer and embraced technology early on. He was one of the first to record an album completely digitally with his album “Security”. In this video he talks about how in the future technology for making music will become “very very cheap” and how the 3rd world is going to be influencing music more and more. He was pretty right on the money when you think about all of the crazy hybrids of music we hear these days.
The video is mostly in English, so don’t worry if you don’t understand French in the beginning.
This is some amazing stuff by HCEMS, Charlie Nieland and Charlie Clouser (Nine Inch Nails) made in the mid-80s. These guys were doing some awesome stuff with Fairlights, and experimental video. Check out some of these wicked VHS video fx and 8 bit sampling. If you’re into the future-retro scene, or 80s music at all, you’ll love this stuff!