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Fairlight Memories

SIDO 009 SIDO 009

"The music on these CDs was composed on a Fairlight Computer Music Instrument between 1983 and 1988. Together with the Synclavier (made famous by Frank Zappa's use of it) the Fairlight was among the first synthesizers controlled by a computer. It had a sampler, a sequencer (called 'Page R'), on-screen waveform display -- very popular with bands on Top of the Pops showing off their new Fairlights -- and a central processor unit (CPU) that took two people to lift. In 1982 I was involved in a studio that bought one, and after two months teaching myself how to use it I warmed to its possibilities and limitations. There were things it did that no other piece of equipment has done since, yet at the same time I was forced to input material into the sequencer monophonically. The sequencer held up to eight monophonic lines, forcing me to think contrapuntally. This 8-voice polyphony was like having a constantly changing chamber octet at my disposal. By 1988 it was gathering dust in the corner of the studio, having been superseded by newer technology and fashion, so I made an offer and bought it cheaply for my own embryonic home studio. In 1990 I sold it and it drifted out of my life. I made great use out of it -- sometimes composing pieces in a few hours -- and have very fond memories of the Fairlight."