Those of you that know me and have read my many ramblings, will well know my love of the Fairlight. Although I don’t own one (yet) this fabled and magical instrument was, and still is, my most sought after piece of synthesis. I think it’s half passion for the technology and half passion for the image and legend that draws me to it. To own a CMI IIx or CMI III is a lifelong dream that I truly hope to realise.
Anyway, this audio demo [Link In Title] was posted to the Fairlight Yahoo group the other day and I thought it deserved a wider audience. It’s by Klaus Michael Indlekofer who owns a CMI III and runs this website dedicated to it and many other synthy type gadgets and stuff.
The piece is just a collection of 30 second tinklings with various sounds gleaned from the insides of the dreamy white monster, using the additive resynthesis section of the synth. Many people simply think of the Fairlight as a hyper expensive sampler, but it was oh so much more.
However, after listening to this and yearning to own one more than ever, I found myself thinking about why I really wanted one as I could get sounds like these from any number of newer, more advanced and able machines. Heck, my Alesis Fusion is 100 times more powerful and can produce many similar tones. A Kawai K5000 could do very good additive as can Camel Audio’s Cameleon 5000, but there is something in the Fairlight sound that tends to be lacking from many modern day instruments and that is character. The Fairlight has it in bucket loads, like many other synths of it’s era. Nowadays, we seem to accept power and bloatware as the way forward. This is a big mistake.
I recently finished reading a book by Jeremy Clarkson, esteemed British writer and broadcaster and car/machine/engineering fanatic. Entitled “I Know You Got Soul”, it tells the tales of his favourite machines, ranging from Concorde to the B52, from SS Great Britain to the Japanese carrier Yamato, from AK-47 to Alfa Romeo. All of them well known and legendary, but unique in as much as they have flaws. They have a character. They have the same qualities that make us human. They are far from perfect and that is why we love them dearly. There is a ghost in those machines and the Fairlight is truly haunting :o)