Rich Aucoin – Synthetic: Season 1 (New Vinyl)
New sealed copy. First pressing limited to 600 copies.
Rich Aucoin is announcing his next album entitled Synthetic. The record is a rare Quadruple Album with its 4 seasons/LPs being staggered in 6 month intervals over the next 2 years. The album, which began at The National Music Centre in Calgary, Alberta in March 2020, houses one of the world’s most extensive collection of rare and historic synthesizers. There, Aucoin was doing the Artist In Residence program and recorded 51 synthesizers to begin the project. The project was paused with the start of the pandemic and Aucoin shifted back into film scoring and worked on the critically-acclaimed and short-listed New Yorker - Films of the Year documentary, No Ordinary Man, about the trans-masculine jazz musician Billy Tipton. “I didn’t want that initial period of the pandemic to influence these songs which were already far along at the start of the lockdowns so I waited until the vaccines were announced before continuing with the work on this record. I was lucky to get the scoring gig for No Ordinary Man as it made real-world deadlines at a time when my life didn’t have much structure without touring. Scoring is something I also would like to do more of so I was happy to be given the opportunity again.”
This record is a good demonstration of Aucoin’s scoring potential as well as it’s a quadruple instrumental album; a huge contrast to United States, Aucoin’s previous, and most vocal-heavy album to date. “Lyrics just take me so long to write that I just want to take a couple years to make other kinds of albums before going back lyrical music as I can write instrumental music much faster.”
This first full-length features Aucoin as the solo musician playing some 37 synthesizers including: Arp 2600s, the Supertramp owned Elka Rhapsody 610 String Machine, Formanta Polivoks, Novatron T550, Oxford Synthesizer Company Oscar, Selmer Clavioline CM 8 and the legendary TONTO which the first release off the record was made on.
TONTO (“The Original New Timbral Orchestra”), is the first and largest multitimbral polyphonic analog synthesizer in the world. It was designed and constructed over several years by Malcolm Cecil. It began as a Moog Modular Synthesizer Series III owned by record producer Robert Margouleff. Next came a second Moog III, then 4 Oberheim SEMs, 2 ARP 2600s, and then modules by Serge with Moog-like panels, EMS, Roland, Yamaha as well as several custom modules designed by Serge Tcherepnin and Cecil. Finally, digital sound-generation circuitry as well as a collection of sequencers were added with MIDI control. The instrument looks like the cockpit of a spaceship in a semi-circle of curved wooden cabinets measuring 20ft (6.1 m) in diameter and 6ft (1.8 m) tall.
For this track, Aucoin recorded 3hrs of music before cutting it down, arranging and overlaying its takes to turn it into the 6 minute track it became. “It’s a powerful synth that’s like the Voltron of synths; combining Arps and Moogs to make the command centre looking synth it is.” While the first season of this album is Aucoin solo, seasons 2-4 will feature a few hundred fellow synth enthusiasts thanks to the help of Moog Synthesizers helping spread the word in Aucoin’s call out for collaborations. “It’s not too late as well, if anyone wants to be a part of this record, which will easily have more synths on it than any other record in history, just send me a DM on social media and I’ll add you to the excel sheet of friends, fans and fellow synth nerds who have expressed interest to be on the record.”
B1 Space Western