Thursday, October 20, 2005



Yup, The Serge, named after it's inventor Serge Tcherepnin (pronounced "Cher - epp - nin"), was an innovative synthesizer built in the early '70s capable of producing, according to it's proponents, a wide, and wild, variety of sounds its competitors could only dream of.

Tcherepnin, born of Russian-Chinese parents and raised in France, developed his modular creation while teaching at the Los Angeles-area California Institute of the Arts (call it "CalArts" for short, please, not "CIA"). He started a synthesizer company, was selling nearly nothing by the mid-'80s, sold it, and, ever the adventurer, moved to Europe where he helps Jews move to Israel.

Costing tens of thousands of dollars, difficult to program (it uses the old telephone-switchboard style modular setup like the early Moogs), the Serge has always been rather obscure. But a sampling of the wonderous array of sounds it makes possible is now available thanks to Serge-player m/n/m/l: a demo tape released by the Serge company in 1983, though some of the music goes back years before.

From The Serge's Musicians Tape:

Easy Teeth: "Her Blade" - some raucous techno-punk rock from 1980
Scot Gresham-Lancaster: "Suburban Dream Music" - haunting minimalism, beautiful melody

It's a tad hissy sometimes, but aren't we all?

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