Three deco-era things I don’t own… yet…

1. Ernest Eldridge’s monster Fiat, Mephistopheles Back in 1923, British racing legend Ernest Eldridge bought an old Fiat racing car cheap after it had ‘blown’ a couple of cylinders at Brooklands. He lengthened the chassis and installed a 21.5 litre aero-engine developing 350 hp, driving the rear wheels by chain. He promptly broke the standing-start … More Three deco-era things I don’t own… yet…

Why classical music snobbery doesn’t cut it today

When I was growing up the definition of music was simple: it was anything composed from about 1650 up to about 1910 involving orchestras, opera singers, pianos and similar instruments. And the definition of a musician was somebody who could perform this stuff. One of the conceits poured over me on that basis was that … More Why classical music snobbery doesn’t cut it today

Switching on – well, it’s not really Bach…

These past few months I’ve been getting my collection of vintage synthesisers going. I’ve got a lot of work to do. So far I’ve tested my 1976-vintage Micromoog s/n 2177 – which I picked up for $50 in 1988. This still works but the particle-board base that holds everything together has crumbled, which means I’ll … More Switching on – well, it’s not really Bach…

When was the first fully polyphonic synthesiser released?

These days synthesisers are amazing instruments, often using technologies derived from computing – or existing only as software with the only hardware being a separate keyboard controller. That wasn’t always so. The commercial synths of the 1960s were built around analog hardware that played just one note at a time, like a wind instrument. By … More When was the first fully polyphonic synthesiser released?

Why nobody notices synthesisers any more

I’m intrigued by how quickly we get used to music and sounds. Just about every track we listen to these days has electronically-generated content, and even the analog elements are usually processed. Thanks to digital signal processing and software originally developed for the oil industry, singers can even fix pitch and timing. But that wasn’t … More Why nobody notices synthesisers any more