Ebay of the day: Roland Space Echo

It's always good to see five items on Ebay, all listed as 'rare'. The RE-201 space echo isn't rare. They sell for £250-£300, but at the moment there are two on Ebay UK, both under £150 - this one has only a day to go. I've wanted one for as long as I can remember, probably because they always seem to pop up in the background wherever there are cool people. The Clash probably used them a lot. And Lee Scratch Perry must have half a dozen. (But remember: They can't make everyone look cool.) They look especially good balanced on top of a guitar amp. It's not really the sound - my PodXT can do that - it's the look of the battered green box and the assumption that it will make brilliant noises. I know if I bought one, I'd use it once, then it would sit under the desk, mocking me for believing an old Japanese box could make me cool like The Clash. Anyway, there's always one thing cooler, and in this case, it's the Korg SE-500 - the tape echo which matches your MS-20 synth and SQ-10 sequencer.
p.s. If you've got a RE-201 that's mocking you, and you enjoy the blog, you could always...

It's a Roland Space Echo in a pedal (Plus more from Messe)

So, yes, Messe is all over. Last year I was there, this year I was so busy and so generally uninspired with what I saw, that I'm only posting now. This is the Roland RE-20 Space Echo Pedal. I love the look (reminiscent of the Fender vs Boss mashups from Namm), although it's a shame they couldn't squeeze a VU meter in there (unlike this monster which my friend Neil just bought). Somehow, if Roland wants to pillage their past, this feels like the right way to do it. (UPDATE: They're now on sale)
Otherwise at Messe:
The Nord Wave - a new, likely-to-be-expensive keyboard synth, which - unlike any other Clavia product - uses samples.
John Bowen's Solaris: OK, it's going to be a big, mindbogglingly expensive hardware digital synth. Sure, it's pretty looking, but I'll be amazed if this ever makes it into shops.
Tiefenrausch: Seriously knobby and tiny synth module - there's a good shot here.
Did you see anything cool? Am I just jaded? Let me know...

Super-hot giant vintage tape echo

Matrix Synth featured this great story about FiveG, the expensive but goodie-packed Harajuku synth shop (previously linked here). The flickr set from the shop includes this picture of a weird-looking science-lab tape echo machine, making the normally cool Roland Space Echo above it look distinctly mundane. Their price list calls it a Philips Tape Echo (and it's ¥148,000 - £670) Anyone know anything about this unit? If you've got one to sell, I'm sure Goldfrapp want five of them for their next video...

Hot, expensive, pointless tape echo from Blue Coconut

Why, why, why? You could buy whole stack of old Space Echoes for the £1,800 price of the new Blue Coconut Echo Verb - a modernised tape echo which, rather pointlessly, tries to eradicate the noise and wobbly-ness of vintage gear. For less cash (although still more than vintage) you can buy the $559 HiWatt custom tape echo, which is small, modern and kind of cool looking. If you're willing to put up with digital, the $249 Boss RE-20 pedal looks fantastic... (via Ben and SoS)

NAMM: Roland's new stuff

The new Roland gear is up on their site...
VG-99 Guitar System This looks like the mother of all guitar modellers - like the old VG-8, it runs from a hex pickup, has a tonne of guitar and amp models, and a MIDI out port. I'm not sure how you use the ribbon controller while playing guitar, but, you know, it's cool to have.
MV-8800 'Production Studio' Their big daddy MPC4000 killer, with built-in TR808/909 Space Echo models, a colour screen and an output for a monitor, it's almost like... using a PC.
V-Synth GT A colour screen, a few more knobs, and a completely baffling parade of made up buzzwords - "revolutionary Articulative Phrase Synthesis technology"?

Lots of links on a grey Tuesday morning

1) Condoleezza Rice presented with a tiny 10-string guitar in Bolivia. The green inlay is coca leaf - apparently it never made it onto the plane home. here. (Thanks, everyone who sent this in)
2) Play your iPod through your acoustic guitar with iCoustic.
3) The excellent Cybersonica festival in London is looking for new "work in the field of new musical interaction and devices" here.
4) The awesome and vast Zeit hardware sequencer, named after a Tangerine Dream album, obviously.
5) Crazy chinese singing lady Wing - be sure to check out her version of 'Back in Black' here. (Thanks Colin)
6) Dude tries to sell .wav file of some electronic music he's made for $5,000: eBay item #4851019722. Good luck! (Thanks, Jonathan)
7) Moog's amazing but unfinished, Eaton-Moog Multiple-Touch-Sensitive Keyboard here (Thanks, Wilbur and Bonefish Sam)
8) YouTube video of the guts of a Mellotron Part 1, Part 2.
9) Robot Theremin Band at SXSW (Thanks, Theremin World)
10) Pictures of synths rendered in a trippy manner here (thanks, Pål)
11) YouTube goodness: Guy noodling on a Synthesizers.com modular and a Space Echo, here. Dude multitracks himself playing 37 tracks of cello here (very reminiscent of Multiple Sidosis). Demonstration of the EML Polybox, which turned mono synths into poly synths here. (Thanks, Tim, Matrix, Benoit)
12) A Soundlab Mini Synth in a nice box here (thanks Frederic)

Gearlust of the Muppets

This Flickr set from tpaddock reveals the excellent taste of the Muppet band: They use a Roland Space Echo and a Arp Odyssey. (Thanks Dr Ben)

Roland quietly license their history

Roland US have announced that they're allowing three famous and ace effects boxes to be turned into plug-ins for the UAD-1 card. They're recreating the Boss CE-1 analog chorus pedal, the ultra-minimal Dimension D chorus box and, inevitably, the RE-201 Space Echo. Sounds good, and I've only heard good things about the UAD-1 card, although this irritable thread discusses the pros and cons of spending £350 on what is apparently a very aged video card with a bit of extra software.

Other people's home studios

I just spent ages looking through EM411's studio reviews section, where people post pictures of their home studio and other people comment on them. The most beautiful is probably this one (above left), in a huge room in a cabin in the woods near Woodstock, but there are plenty of more realistic setups (sample quote: "A lot of gear in my studio is the cheapest kind of musical equipment out there"). The only shame is that the pics are so teeny. Some people post bigger, annotated pictures, and they're really interesting, like this one (above right) - a beautiful view over the sea, a Sonic Youth box set, an empty can of beer, a cup from Subway and loads of nice gear (I wonder if he wants to give me that Roland Space Echo?).


Best of Music Thing - September 2004

If you're new to Music Thing, you might have missed these:
Prince Day: Part 1 Part 2 Part 3
Timbaland Day: Part 1 Part 2 Part 3 Part 4 Part 5
Stupid things:
Ten Guitars shaped like Guns: Here
The MIDI bell-ringing machine: Here
The $20,000 modular synth: Here
The man with four Fairlights: Here
The rockin'-est Guitar Shop Dude in the world: Here
The Jean MIchelle Jarre tribute band: Here
The music hackers at Burning Man:Here
The sad tale of the Devil Bass: Here
The crazy DIY MIDI/NES conversion kit: Here
The mad fake gear to fill up your rack: Here
The ever-sexy Space Echo: Here
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