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Yoshio Machida - Music from the SYNTHI [Baskura - 2014]

Baskura imprint presents Music from the SYNTHI, a full length CD by Yoshio Machida. Machida is a long-running multi-media artist from Tokyo who works with themes of “light, echo and possibility.”

As the title implies, this album is singularly focused on sounds from the SYNTHI ‘AKS’ portable modular analog synthesizer. While I myself have a penchant for vintage synths, this particular model is one I was unfamiliar with. The SYNTHI was built by Electronic Music Studios, a London based manufacturer, during the early 70’s. This particular build contains an amalgamation of: oscillators, a noise generator, 2 amplifiers, a ring modulator, built-in keyboard and sequencer, a joystick controller, and 2 speakers, all housed in a portable little briefcase. It’s no doubt a handsome piece of machinery. Soundwise it produces organic repetition and phase, which fit nicely with the themes that Machida toils with.


Music from the SYNTHI is comprised of 13 tracks, mostly short pieces, showcasing the wide panoply of sounds the SYNTHI can produce. Each piece is connected by their repetitious and minimalistic qualities. Slow creeping waveforms, jovial pings and bleeps, dense crackling organic patterns, squelchy synth bloops, sci-fi soundscapes, minimal beats and jagged sound currents, are some of the many sounds to be found here. One reminded me of the opening to the original NES game Metroid, another like a children’s keyboard I once owned. The connective thread is the repetitive, spacious development of each short piece. Even at it’s most jarring, overall it feels pretty chill and relaxed. Just soak up those sound waves and mellow out.


Overall the album feels like a demo of the SYTHI’s capabilities. A series of reference pieces, if you will, highlighting just some of the myriad of sounds that can be produced using this marvelous device. While I could probably never afford the price tag of said vintage synthesizer, I would certainly allow Machida to indulge this synth nerd’s ears from time to time.

Rating: 4 out of 5Rating: 4 out of 5Rating: 4 out of 5Rating: 4 out of 5Rating: 4 out of 5

Hal Harmon
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