May 16, 2018

A concert of the vintage EMS Synthi AKS

Last Night I heard Yoshio Machida and Constantin Papageorgiadis perform an improvised piece of music on 2 vintage EMS Synthi AKS at AB Salon here in Brussels. This was the first time I had heard of the Synthi but I have come to realize that I have been HEARING it for many years on some of my favorite records most notably Dark Side of the Moon, The 2 first Roxy Music Records (with Brian Eno) and several Brian Eno solo records including some of the early ambient stuff.

Last night’s performance was a stunning free improvisation highlighting the unpredictability and chaos of this vintage analogue synth. The sounds emerging from these instruments ranged from the heaviest, percussive thumps that I thought would destroy the speakers to complex, spaced-out textural pads and a galaxy of sounds in between. Constantin and Yoshio clearly embrace the unpredictability and quirkiness of the Synthi and indeed pushed and prodded the machines, generating interesting, challenging, ever-evolving and engaging music. The Synthi is a relatively rare instrument and I walked away thinking I had just heard something I will likely never hear again. There are a few recordings out there and an album of music for the Synthi by Yoshio Machida can be found here.


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