Synth pop pioneer Phil Oakey (Human League) goes Telemark

September 12, 2013 · Posted in Uncategorized 

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British ‘boutique’ analogue synthesiser and accessory designer/manufacturer Analogue Solutions is proud to announce that bona fide synthpop pioneer Phil Oakey has added a Telemark V2 semi- modular analogue monosynth to the stunning synthesiser collection currently residing at The Human League’s legendary HL Studios in Sheffield…

Human League main man Phil Oakey needs little in the way of introduction. Having co-penned some of pop’s finest musical moments with memorable hits spanning several decades — notably 1981’s chart-topping perennial favourite ‘Don’t You Want Me’ (which sold well over a million copies in the UK alone, making it the 25th biggest-selling single of all time there, then shifted another million copies to secure the coveted US number one spot during the following year), he helped forge a popular music landscape-changing template for pre- programmed, synth-driven song structures that are still reverberating around the world today.

Back in the day, The Human League ‘Mk I’ co-founder Ian Craig Marsh wasn’t adverse to rhythmically riding a mid-Seventies-vintage Roland System 100 semi-modular analogue synthesiser’s resonance and filter faders to create a track’s Model 104 Sequencer-driven bass and snare drum on the fly! No need to do that today, of course, for HL Studios is packed floor to ceiling with old and new synths to die for. Indeed, it’s fair to say that what Phil Oakey doesn’t know about synths simply isn’t worth knowing!

Now something of a connoisseur, Oakey owns a considerable collection of synths, sequencers, and drum machines at HL Studios, many of which are analogue. Which is exactly why he has taken delivery of an Analogue Solutions Telemark V2, a dual-VCO, rack-mountable, semi-modular analogue monosynth with multimode VCF featuring lowpass, highpass, bandpass, and notch filter types, which will be perfectly at home there since the healthy socket selection dominating the right-hand side of its spacious control panel means it can comfortably be patched to work with other modular systems and analogue sequencers for added flexibility. Features like those, combined with a generous helping of modulation routing options, provide the Telemark V2 with an extraordinarily diverse range of sound possibilities, including leads, basses, effects, and percussion, as well as being able to be used as an effects processor thanks to its audio inputs (feeding audio signals directly into its mixer).

Another distinguishing feature of the Telemark V2 is its 100% analogue voice and modulation circuitry formed from discrete components. Nothing travels through digital circuitry here, so turning a knob directly affects the associated analogue circuitry to produce a characteristic sound straight from the Seventies/early-Eighties — albeit reliant on today’s reliable technology!

Improvements to Telemark V2 over and above the original version of the instrument include adding an octave divider (SUB-VCO/DIVIDER) — for creating a fuller, fatter sound or for use as a clock divider designed to be a source of lower frequencies (particularly suited to rhythmical usage) — and a ring modulator (RING MOD), typically used for fashioning metallic-type sounds (although it has other uses).

Little wonder, then, that the original Telemark and now its V2 successor are so sought after by those in the know. Chances are the characteristic sounds of Phil Oakey’s new and improved Telemark V2 — in limited-edition black, no less! — could well be being heard on some more memorable musical moments from The Human League in the not too distant future. We wish them well.

Telemark V2 is available to order online directly from Analogue Solutions (http://www.analoguesolutions.org.uk/concussor/telemark.htm) for £749.00 GBP (excluding VAT and delivery) or through one of their dealers. Alternatively, the keyboard- equipped Telemark-k V2 is available for £1,099.00 GBP (excluding VAT and delivery).

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