Arturia MatrixBrute
– a French icon of luxury

Arturia MatrixBrute – a fabulous instrument. This synthesizer, available since the beginning of 2017, will someday count among one of the REALLY BIG instruments of the decade. A TOP synth. Assuming, of course, that „Made in China“ is no big obstacle.

At the moment, we find no such detriments to its quality. In fact: After presentation of the prototype in 2016, Arturia even did a little additional pepping up … now the synth has gorgeous aluminium wheels instead of those original plastic wheels. And since its recent software update (mid 2017) – others are certain to follow – the MatrixBrute is about as perfect as you could even wish.


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Roland System-8
– historic turning point?

I’ve been having difficulty getting this report off the ground. A Roland System-8 has been standing around here in my studio for months at less than arm’s length, intimidating me with its very presence. There was no way I was going to feel motivated to really and actually examine the thing. A couple of pics here, a couple of sound samples there. Then, dispair. Enough of those fleeting impressions, enough lighting orgies. What followed was the firm intention to just chuck it … not chuck it … chuck it … not chuck it. This went on for a long time.


From today’s point of view, this is about more than just the System-8. The paralysis stems from deeper down. It has to do with the unequivocal turning point the Roland Company has taken. A turning point that the tried-and-true synthesizer enthusiast (and Roland fan of many years) has difficulty just coping with. But the world keeps turning, and so we accept things as they now are. Continue reading

Vermona ’14 Analogsynthesizer
– a modern bard

The bards, those “popstars” of the middle ages famous for their sonorous voices and for their poetic talents, are still widely known today. Walther von der Vogelweide and Oswald von Wolkenstein – names we all recognize (at least here in Europe).


The Vermona ’14 Analogsynthesizer is a bard of modern times. A true individualist on the electronic music scene. This bard doesn’t just sound, it sings! Mind you, synthesizers in the singing category are rare. Oberheim OB-1 (“exact VCO tuning”) and the Moog Prodigy (“sync sounds”) are among the few vintage synths in this field. Vermona Mono Lancet (and Mono Lancet ’15) do sing a little. And that’s about it. The rest of the synths just – sound.

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– that classical cherry on the cake

Summer 2016. We’re on our way through the southern part of Sicilia, softly wistling Morricone’s great tune “Once Upon a Time in the West”. Gorgeous beaches, no, absolutely no shade. But a lot of sand and heat! We’ll be meeting Paolo Groppioni, who is vacationing in this aerea. With him a good friend: the new GRP synth!

The A2 is a true surprise. Not because it’s analog, and not because it can do this and that (it IS analog and it can do a lot), but because it exists in the first place. It’s as simple as that. Having the new GRP R24 sequencer in mind, we’re flabbergasted at the A2, suddendly lying there on the table. The perfect buddy for the sequencer. The same size, even the same housing. Gorgeous!

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Roland Jupiter-4
– the GOLDEN oldie?

Whereas the marvellous Sequential Prophet-5 was called “most sexy synthesizer in the world” (I would equally call Roland’s Jupiter-8 the same), poor Jupiter-4 was the ugly duckling. No one fell in love with it, and as Peter Forrest points it out: “All technology eventually goes cheesy, but the JP-4 went cheesy quicker than most.”


Während jedoch dem Prophet-5 die Bezeichnung “most sexy synthesizer in the world” zustehen dürfte (ich würde an dieser Stelle sofort den Roland Jupiter-8 mit einschließen), wird das “hässlichen Entlein” Jupiter-4 mit viel Glück gerade noch den “blechernen Kaktus” als Preis erhalten. Nur wenige polyphone Analogsynthesizer sehen derart unspektakulär und veraltet aus, oder, um es mit den Worten von Peter Forrest zu sagen: “All technology eventually goes cheesy, but the JP-4 went cheesy quicker than most.” Continue reading

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