Jean-Michel Jarre is the absolute king of electronic music, don’t believe me just watch the Rendez-vous Houston: A City in Concert 1986 live show, I had the pleasure of watching this live on T.V in true 80’s England style connected through the home stereo. The reason I chose to write briefly about Jean is because of his use of the Fairlight CMI on his 1981 release Magnetic Fields which is one of the first records to use sampling as a musical form and also his 1984 release Zoolook in which he uses the Fairlight CMI-II.
The Fairlight CMI is a sampler built in 1979 that uses sampling in 8-bit @ 16 kHz mono, waveform editing and drawing via a light pen and comes with a basic keyboard sequencer and utilizes software known as MCL (Musical Composition Software)
The Fairlight CMI-II is a sampler built in 1980 that uses sampling in 8-bit @ 2100 Hz to 30.2 kHz mono, waveform generating and also drawing via a light pen and comes with a basic keyboard sequencer, MCL and the added extra of Page R (Realtime Composer)
The album Zoolook uses ingenious sampling of nearly 30 (some say up to 60) different languages in the form of both speech and singing with the added extra of processing, turning some of the samples into alien/space sounding instruments. As you can see with this particular piece of equipment the whole loading of samples, tweaking and processing must have been a lengthy process but also a very amazing experience, this particular album was approximately done over 2 years. There must have been a lot of drawing and editing with the light pen and on top of that imagine how many disks would have been used!!! And that’s before processing too!!!
My good friend used to play Delerium’s music nearly everyday especially night time, I had never heard of them and instantly I fell in love with the songs Flowers Become Screens, Incantation, Euphoria (Firefly), Duende, Silence. The combination of those beats with tribal chants & percussion with added brilliance of angelic female singers was very pleasing to my ear. I recognized very quickly that I had heard certain drum loops and some samples before, so my research on this points me to the Akai S1000 & the Kurzweil K2000 as well as Bill Leeb and Rhys Fulber having a massive sample library that has been collected for many years from various sources.
The Kurzweil K2000 can be used to take any multi samples and process them with many different techniques, the sampler is 2MB but can be expanded to 64MB also with the feature of a 3.5″ disk drive and connection for external drive.
The Akai S1000 is a 16-bit, 22kHz to 44.1kHz sampler with 2MB to 32MB of RAM. It too has a list of really cool functions for editing and processing of your samples.
There is a lot of layering techniques used in Delerium’s music as well as use of some really cool loops, I could imagine this would be an enjoyable and key part of their song creation. They would have definitely used a few of each of these pieces of hardware. It would not be too hard to tell the difference between the gear I have posted for Jean-Michel Jarre’s music and Delerium’s music especially given the time period difference and the reason I chose this combination is because both artists have made very good use of their techniques on this gear.
Bill Leeb: Front Line Assembly. (2016). [online] Soundonsound.com. Available at: http://www.soundonsound.com/sos/1995_articles/jan95/frontlineassembly.html [Accessed 5 Mar. 2016].
Delerium – Silence (Original Song from Karma) Feat. Sarah Mclachlan. (2016). [online] YouTube. Available at: https://youtu.be/6PPC7s2_Qh8 [Accessed 5 Mar. 2016].
Explorer, V. (2016). Akai S1000 | Vintage Synth Explorer. [online] Vintagesynth.com. Available at: http://www.vintagesynth.com/akai/s1000.php [Accessed 5 Mar. 2016].
Explorer, V. (2016). Fairlight CMI (Series I – III) | Vintage Synth Explorer. [online] Vintagesynth.com. Available at: http://www.vintagesynth.com/misc/fairlight_cmi.php [Accessed 5 Mar. 2016].
Explorer, V. (2016). Kurzweil K2000 | Vintage Synth Explorer. [online] Vintagesynth.com. Available at: http://www.vintagesynth.com/kurzweil/k2000.php [Accessed 5 Mar. 2016].
Jean Michel Jarre – Ethnicolor I. (2016). [online] YouTube. Available at: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=3kbazRhuhd8 [Accessed 5 Mar. 2016].
Semantic Spaces Review | The Enigma Archives. (2016). [online] Enigma-music.com. Available at: http://www.enigma-music.com/reviews/delerium/semantic-spaces [Accessed 5 Mar. 2016].
The Holmes Page: The Fairlight CMI. (2016). [online] Ghservices.com. Available at: http://www.ghservices.com/gregh/fairligh/ [Accessed 5 Mar. 2016].