I had a week off work this week and finally I've gotten around to tidying up the studio space a bit (thank f*** - it was becoming a complete quagmire!) Partly in preparation for the new music PC but also because there are a lot of rather dull jobs I have put off as long as possible. One of these was to sort out the mountain of old CD-Rs that I have accumulated over the last decade or so since CD writing has been an economically viable technology. These fall into 3 categories:
- stuff people have given me (mostly MP3s).
- stuff I downloaded from work in the old days before I had a broadband collection at home (pre-2003).
- back-ups of my old computer hard disks.
Another lost gem I'd completely forgotten about, though, were the Yamaha DX7 patches I programmed in 1997-99 when I bought a DX7 second hand. The DX7 presets sound pretty lame to modern ears - partly because the synth had no onboard effects (as it was made in 1983), but as a programmers' synth it's got to be one of the best of all time. My DX7 was unfortunately stolen at the end of 2000, but fortunately I had dumped all the patches as Sysex using a long-forgotten patch librarian program called Soundlib. Because Native Instruments' FM7/8 software synth reads DX7 patches I was able to hear them again for the first time in years. In a few cases the conversion doesn't sound 100% accurate to me (although it might just be that I have a bad memory), but mostly they were fine, and happily (or perhaps worryingly) they sound a lot better than anything I've been able to program through the front end of FM7 itself. Not sure why that is - maybe I was just trying harder back then. Anyway, some of these patches will probably find their way into my next Lodge session - we'll see. The lesson? Never throw anything away (unless you've archived it first).
For more nostalgia, check out this DX7 site. Ah, the days of membrane keyboards... (I had an original DX7 and not a DX7S by the way but DX7S worked better in the title for the Half Man Half Biscuit spoof. Sorry.)