If you were stranded on a desert island with only a solitary keyboard to occupy your time, what would be the instrument of your choice? The professionals make theirs in this anniversary feature.
What birthday party would be complete without a silly game? As we're celebrating MT's 10th year in this issue we thought a little frivolity was in order so we posed the following question to a selection of the rich and talented in the hope of a little entertainment: "If you were stranded on a desert island and could take just one keyboard instrument with you for company, what would it be - and why?"
David Sylvian - NED Synclavier
"I'm tempted to say the Prophet 5 because it remains the most flexible synthesiser, I think. But I know it back to front and I'd really want to take something I could spend a lifetime getting to grips with."
Nick Magnus (Project D) - Roland A50 & S770
"Am I allowed a master keyboard and module? Then it would have to be a Roland A50 and S770 - with library, of course. The S770 is the total centre of my setup. It does 90% of everything. I'd feel completely incapacitated without it."
Adamski - Ensoniq SQ80
"I've recorded all my best stuff with it."
James Taylor (JT Quartet) - Hammond C3 & 2 Leslie 147 cabs
"It's the only one I know how to play and it blows the bollocks off everything else. I've got loads of samplers and so on, but for passion you can't beat the Hammond."
JJ Jeczalik (Art of Noise) - Upright piano
"Because it doesn't need any electricity, and you could take the notes out and row home".
Don Airey - Ensoniq VFX-SD
"I would be initially torn between a Steinway, Minimoog, CS80 and Hammond B3, but I'd plump for an Ensoniq VFX-SD, as it does passable imitations of all four, as well as having lots of intriguing features with which to while away those long, hot, tropical evenings."
Richard Barbieri (Rain Tree Crow) - Prophet 5
"Can I have an effects processor with it? If I had a Prophet 5 and an Eventide H3000 multi-effects processor, I'd be happy."
Dave Stewart - Korg T3
"Because it's got a wide range of sounds - analog-y sounds and samples - and a sequencer. I think the string sounds were actually sampled from an an old analogue synth like an OBX."
Dave Greenfield (Stranglers) - NED Synclavier
"I wouldn't take any of the equipment I own, but I'd like a Synclavier because it has writing, recording and printing facilities. I'd also like a black Steinway grand..."
Anne Dudley (Art of Noise) - Bosendorfer Grand
"I would like to have a 9-foot Bosendorfer grand piano (with a captive tuner to deal with the tuning problems inherent in a tropical climate). Also a copy of JS Bach's 48 Preludes and Fugues. I would use the time available to learn every one of them!"
Brian Eno - Steinway Grand
"I'm sure that the natural irregularities and inconsistencies of an acoustic instrument would keep me amused much longer than even an SY77 (the musical equivalent of the Independent crossword). Also I think the idea of being able to intervene directly and physically into a natural instrument - for example, by putting coconut shells on the strings - is more enduring than the idea of reprogramming an electronic instrument. You can't (or I can't) intervene in a microchip. So my choice, pedantic but honest; a turn of the century Steinway and a small carpentry shop to go with it."
Graham Massey (808 State) - Akai S1100
"It's become the most crucial instrument for me. That, and a big pirate's chest full of sample disks of most other keyboards on the planet. Then, of course, I'd have to have a keyboard to fire the S1100, so I'd have to take me JD800 along, and then I'd be completely self-contained."
Edgar Froese (Tangerine Dream) - PIQ-ST
"If we use the lightning during a thunderstorm for electrifying the gear on such an island, we would operate in this rare moment a PIQ-ST, which stands for: Plasma IQ Sound Transmitter. I would be crazy to tell you what it is and how it works. Listen to Tangerine Dream within the next two years!"
Jason Rebello - Oberheim Xpander
"I'd need something which would make me deliriously happy and the one thing guaranteed to do that would be the Oberheim Xpander. It generates such a beautiful sound, I could mentally drift away and visualise my ship coming in."
Keith Emerson - Korg T1
"My first choice would be a 9-foot Steinway Concert grand, but I lived in the Bahamas for a while and I know it wouldn't hold up in the humidity. Instead I'd choose a T1 because the keyboard action helps build up your playing strength, and it has a sequencer and a good selection of sounds. It would also stay in tune."
Norman Cook (Beats International) - Fairlight CMI Series III
"Is there a Fairlight service department on this island? 'Cos if there is, that's what I'd take - as long as I'd had time to put together a decent library, of course. The trouble with taking an 'ordinary' instrument is that you're going to get bored with it, aren't you?"
Elizabeth Parker (BBC Radiophonic Workshop) - Yamaha Grand
"I would take a Yamaha grand piano, because playing it would be quite the most enjoyable thing I could do... It might even charm a few animals into the pot! I could paint an SOS on the lid, and live under it, and, as a last resort, I could chop the legs off and sail away in it."
Peter Vetesse (Simple Minds) - Steinway Grand & Akai S1000
"We had been at sea for three weeks. Until that fateful night, the voyage had passed without incident. I could hear the waves lapping against our proud vessel and the creaking of the mast as the sail billowed with an exuberant wind taking us who knows where. Suddenly there was a crash and the ship began to list. In a few panic-stricken moments I realised our ship was doomed.
In the darkness and confusion I struggled topside where I could see, silhouetted against a dark sky, a small island. I hurried below in search of a musical instrument which would appease whatever solitude and hardship I might face should I make the shore of the island. Thus it was, hours later, I pulled myself ashore dragging a (MIDI-equipped) 12-foot Steinway grand and Akai S1000 sampler (with optical drive).
As I feared, the island was deserted save for a roadie who I will call Friday - or next Monday, depending on my schedule. However, do not weep for me, for I am one of the lucky ones. Jean-Michel Jarre, who was one of my travelling companions, did not make it to my island - instead he disappeared over the horizon clutching another instrument from our ship. Still, having seen his Docklands concert, I know he plays well when soaked.
God bless you all.
PS Happy 10th anniversary."
Django Bates (Human Chain) - IRCAM 4X Computer
"I'd take the incredible 4X from the Institut pour la Recherche et la Coordination Acoustique Musique in Paris - I hope they can manage without it. Its infinite possibilities would keep me busy for life. I'm sure there'd be times, as I ploughed through the 4X manual, that I'd wish I'd taken a Steinway - the legs and lid are great firewood, and the remains make a seaworthy raft, I'm told."
Boris Blank (Yello) - Fairlight CMI Series III
"Because I would be able to put together a complete piece of music on it. But more than this: a whole island. I would shock the sea with tunes and with samples, and this would spawn another island. It gives a lot of space for a girl who comes with a synthesiser or with another sampler, then we can connect each other and make another big island!"
Tim Goodyer (MT Editor) - Oberheim Matrix 12
"The Matrix is arguably one of the most comprehensive analogue synths ever built, yet it's one I've never got to grips with. The island could be the opportunity I've been waiting for. By the way, is there any BEER?"
Chris & Cosey - Roland System 100M
"My first choice would be the Roland 100M. The possibilities are endless - I spend hours with it anyway. My second choice would be the Roland D50, because it's the only digital synth I've never wanted to sell - it has a very analogue feel and structure to it. I think Cosey would go for the harmonium. Those wonderful drones - and think of all the exercise you would get from pumping the treadle. If there were any natives we could start a missionary station and have communal singalongs.
PS Happy 10th Anniversary."
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