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Anyone own a Fairlight?


Synthoid

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This is one of my favorite instruments. Although it's considered obsolete by todays standards, the Fairlight was a unique, ground-breaking keyboard in the 80's. I still get goose bumps when I hear it on some old tapes and CD's.

 

I'm hoping to find a good deal on a used one some day. Just curious if anyone on the forum has one or has played it. :D

When an eel hits your eye like a big pizza pie, that's a Moray.
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I used to tech support them when I worked for a dealer. I would still love to have a fully functional Series III with the all white monitor.

 

Page R is still one of the best sequencers ever made...but the Fourier display was useless for most things.

"For instance" is not proof.

 

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What a great board. I know alot of ppl seem to snicker at the mention of John Tesh, but his real early stuff (first two albums) featured alot of Fairlight and Synclavier work and the sound pallette still blows me away. JMJ really could work miracles on the Fairlight and his rythmic sequence things he did were pretty much unmatched till the wavestation came out (IMHO)
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Originally posted by Raymar:

I've got an issue of Keyboard with the two page add in it going for $40,000.

That's a lot to ask for a back issue of Keyboard, even with the Fairlight ad. :)

 

Yeah, I wanted one so bad after the Keyboard cover story on Jan Hammer. I pretty much have his setup now.

 

Jan: Fairlight + Memorymoog + Jupiter 8 + DX-7

Me: GigaStudio 3 + Andromeda + Super Jupiter + TX-802

 

...but it would still be cool to have a Fairlight or Synclavier, even if it was just a MIDI controller.

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Originally posted by Synthoid:

Three other great bands that used the Fairlight: Talk Talk, Icehouse & Psychedelic Furs. :D

I believe Jeff Downes used one on the first two Asia albums.
There are no stupid questions but there are a lot of inquisitive idiots!
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Originally posted by Synthoid:

Asia huh......don't recall anything recognizable on album #1. I'll drag it out and listen again.

Yeah, he played one live in his silly-big behind the drummer rig. There were at least 20 keyboards.

 

I was a high school freshman when heat of the moment came out...I went to see the concert...a juggler opened for them.

 

Anyway, it was funny just a few years later to see REO Speedwagon at the same venue, and the keyboard player was getting huge B3, pad, and piano sounds, and he was standing in front of a single 76 note controller. MIDI had arrived.

"For instance" is not proof.

 

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Originally posted by DanS:

I saw Yes for the Union tour many moons ago. Wakeman had about 20 keyboards (looked ridiculous) and Tony Kaye had 2.

I seems that Wakeman doesn't feel like wakeman unless he has at least 8 or 10 keyboards. But I did see him on his last solo tour thru the states last year and "all" he had was a Yamaha grand and I think 4 keyboards. It was a great show by the way
There are no stupid questions but there are a lot of inquisitive idiots!
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Yeah, he played one live in his silly-big behind the drummer rig. There were at least 20 keyboards.

 

[/QB]

I saw that tour also. If I recall that was also the tour where they did the "Asia in Asia" show with Greg Lake. Anyway, he did have a massive amount of keyboards. If I recall correctly there were a few items that he had more than one of for convenience don't remember what though. I read an article at the time where it listed what he had...don't remember where though. I hate it when the memory fails you.

There are no stupid questions but there are a lot of inquisitive idiots!
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[/QB]

If I recall correctly there were a few items that he had more than one of for convenience don't remember what though[/QB]

 

I remember a pic were Geoff had two mellotrons and two Minimoogs, along with Yamaha CP, Hammond, Fairlight II, plus tons of other keyboards..

 

That first album was awesome.

 

As far as Fairlight users: Mike Odlfield was a big one during 80's : Crises, Discovery, Killing Fields Soundtrack, Islands...

 

this, together with PG, is what made me dream about it..

 

Killing Fields had that single "Etude" (Tarega)with famous pan flute sound on Fairlight II.

http://www.babic.com - music for film/theatre, audio-post
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When the Police were making one of their later albums, either "Ghost in the Machine" or "Synchronicity", Stewart Copeland and Sting were hating each other. So, Stewart would write these sections on the Fairlight and Sting would come in, erase his stuff and re-do them with his Synclavier. This went back and forth quite a few times.

 

The Fairlight certainly had its own thing going, and helped define a certain era of music.

 

- Jeff

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Originally posted by ABECK:

I believe Stanley Kubrick's(sp?) daughter used a Fairlight for the soundtrack to "Full Metal Jacket."

Yeah,that was Stanley Kubrick's daughter, Abagail Mead. Her minimalist/ambient Fairlight compositions were perfect for that movie. Too bad she hasn't done anything else, AFAIK.
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I remember back in high school when I was first getting into synthesizers. This was the mid-80s and the first bonafide synth I played was my girlfriend's Juno 106. Then I got a JX8P and got the MIDI connection going (ok MIDI out goes to MIDI in, right?)...it was a nice little Roland union thing for awhile.

 

But nothing quenched our ultimate gear lust more than a mere discussion about the Fairlight! It was something to dream about and way beyond the reach of a high school student! I believe the first brush with the Fairlight I had was on the soundtrack to Starlight Express with those giant orchestra hits that became very cliched. Starlight Express is the first place I remember hearing them. And Duran Duran used the Fairlight on a number of their albums.

 

I used to cut out some of the Fairlight ads and put them on my wall. I thought it was so cool that people had a $30k+ keyboard that could play samples of an orchestra hit. To this day, the name Fairlight is just such a surreal fantasy to me. I guess they are totally old school by today's standards, but I would be in awe to be in the same room with one!

 

Some 80's Fairlight artists I remember would be Thomas Dolby, Nick Rhodes, Kate Bush, Jan Hammer, Art of Noise, Peter Gabriel and Hall & Oates (I think).

 

Long live the Fairlight!

 

Regards,

Eric

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Thanks for sharing, Eric - I can definitely sympathize. *My* first encounter with the Fairlight was at a recording studio, where I was recording some theatre music with an orchestra (I was the pianist). One late morning, I got in to do some overdub work, and I was made to wait because they were recording a single - some pop song. They told me they were almost finished. I thought, 'How can you record and mix two songs in one morning'... and there he was, a guy with a Fairlight, overdubbing all the parts himself - well, the *instrument* spitted the parts out, one after the other, in perfect sync... You know, sequencers were primitive back then. This looked a bit like voodoo... :D

 

Originally posted by eric:

I used to cut out some of the Fairlight ads and put them on my wall.

Too funny... I did the same with a Synclavier ad. :D
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