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Synthesizer godfather is feted by a new generation

By Don Crispy

In the last decade, the newfound ability to mix electronic music on a compact laptop has been a godsend for thousands of bedroom producers and world-weary DJs on shoestring budgets. But as any club-goer can attest, the spectacle of them staring into a screen while operating a mouse is often less than inspiring.

Watching Hideki Matsutake work his massive Moog 3-C analog synthesizer, on the other hand, is bewitching. Thumbing his nose at the PC revolution, Matsutake aka Logic System continues to stubbornly hew to his beloved 3-C, the instrument that earned him his moniker as the “fourth member” of famed ele-pop group Yellow Magic Orchestra for the seminal work he did with them in the late ’70s and early ’80s. Through albums like "Yellow Magic Orchestra" and "Solid State Survivor," Matsutake launched Japan’s torrid, unabated love affair with the synth, and as chairman of the Japan Synthesizer Programmers’ Association, he continues to be an ambassador for the instrument.

Matsutake recently lugged his 3-C to the Freaks Music Festival that took place in Kanagawa on May 7, sharing the stage with veteran cult UK house DJ Harvey and other dance music exponents influenced by him. Some of them, including Harvey, have also recently contributed to "Rmxlogix," an EP of remixes of Logic System’s influential 1981 track “Clash” issued on his new Motion± imprint.

With re-envisionings ranging from Harvey’s swirly, squelchy house to young Japanese electro duo 80kidz’s hands-in-the-air, crescendo-filled outing, the album traces the line from early synth-pop directly to today’s dance music in a way that makes that history immediately understandable.

“It has been 30 years since I started Logic System,” says Matsutake about his new label. “There was an innovative evolution from analog to digital technology for electronic instruments, which is a part of my blood in music production. I have produced a variety of work in both analog and digital. The only universal thing during the process of progression is that electronic instruments consist of the logic of plus and minus.”

  • June 24 @Unit. 5:30pm, ¥3,500 (adv)/¥4,000(door). Nearest station: Daikanyama. Tel: 03-5459-8630.

  • Rmxlogix is available on Motion±. Info: www.music-airport.com/logic-system.

This story originally appeared in Metropolis magazine (www.metropolis.co.jp).

© Japan Today

©2024 GPlusMedia Inc.

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Can't teach an old dog new tricks, he needs to listen to modern production and mastering and realize that you can't make the same with the older analog equipment. Sure they are fun to play with and have a richer sound but can't live upto the sound quality of modern hardware.

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gogogo; The point is to make the music with the old machine. Many European electronic bands have gond back to using their orginal synths lately as they feel the sound tehy are trying to create it better using them.

Nothing wromng with new equipment but it is always better to have variety and the "perfect" sound of modern electronic music is not to everyones taste.

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I love my Logic 8 in my 20 Macs. Great sound when you put it through a nice amp and expensive real wooden Boes speakers.

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gogogo - some of us like the sound of the original synths.

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Some of us are really back in time for we like classical music, to classic jazz & even some Latin music.

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I can remember when drum machines were going to make drummers obsolete with the machine's μ-second precision. Then people realized how artificial the sound was, with it's exact meter and exact amplitude endlessly reproduced. Today, we still have drummers and those that rely on drum machines are looked upon with pity.

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@gogogo: The "sound quality" doesn't matter so much to listeners. If they like what they hear, they'll listen and enjoy it and maybe even buy it. That's all that matters. What synth you use to make your music is completely irrelevant. Only the music matters.

I am somewhat intrigued though that there is a Japan Synthesizer Programmers’ Association. :-) Maybe I should join?

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