Handsome Orion poses in a sun puddle in front of an ARP 3260 keyboard. This is the keyboard that goes with an ARP 2600 synthesizer. From Justin Sullivan (@justin3am) on Twitter.
The original ARP 2600 didn’t have a keyboard built in. The 3260 was the keyboard that one could attach, and usually appears with it in regular use. You can see our video from NAMM 2020 testing out the 2600 reissue from Korg (which includes the keyboard).
The mission of the ARP Archives and Alan R. Pearlman foundation is “to celebrate the legacy of inventor, musician, entrepreneur and engineer Alan R. Pearlman, by making his innovative inventions publicly accessible”. You can find our more about their work (and shop for cool ARP merchandise) at their website.
Cats sitting on synths are a regular occurrence on this site – it’s kinda what we do. But our cat today is sitting on synth covers. Some beautiful covers, actually. There is the ARP Odyssey with classic lettering, and the more oblique “Synthesizers” with future-retro lettering. What actual synth lies beneath the cover and the cat is left as an exercise to the reader.
How does one summarize a year like this? Words like “unprecedented” seem trite, and we learned from our experience with 2016 that even a difficult year has its beautiful moments. 2020 started out normal enough, with our annual pilgrimage to NAMM but quickly veered into surreal territory, and that was before the first COVID-19 lockdown was announced…on my birthday. Everything that has happened since has happened in the shadow of the pandemic. Perhaps the lowest moment was losing our dear friend Serena Toxicat. But the year has also brought unique experiences and opportunities, such as making music with musicians I admire together on opposite sides of the country. Indeed, as I was grieving the sudden loss of Serena, I received a call from my then-new collaborator G Calvin Weston offering comfort and support, and we have developed a closer friendship along with our musical collaboration. That moment perhaps summarizes the complexity of 2020 as much as any.
It has also been a banner year for CatSynth TV with rapid growth in viewership and subscriptions, but also the craft of making the videos in a variety of structures: synth reviews, interviews, documentaries, and art pieces. Of course, a few things remain active on the blog, our cat-and-music pics, Wordless Wednesday, and the occasional article. But for the most part, the transition from blog to video is complete.
The year ends on a note of optimism for 2021. The vaccines are arriving (we just need to make sure people take them); things are a bit more hopeful politically in the country, and we can start to repair the damage of the past five years. The album I have been working on – a musical statement – is coming together and will be released in the first part of the new year. Our little household at CatSynth HQ is safe and healthy and closer than ever – even Sam Sam and Big Merp seem to be getting along better now. And of course, we’re going to continue to share more videos, images, and ideas.
2020 has reminded us that we cannot know what is in store, and that improbable things can have a tremendous impact on our lives. We will face what comes as best we can, and focus on what is most important. And thank you for continuing to be a part of this journey with us.
Xochitl the tuxedo cat poses with an original Arp Odyssey – with the white textured design as opposed to the red lettering on black that I personally prefer, but still a fine instrument for human and feline alike.
Gracie is back, and inspecting the current crop of repaired instruments, including a Moog Subsequent 37, LinnDrum, PPG Wave, and what appears to be an Arp Odyssey (1st version). She always has quite the collection.
From Alsún Ní Chasaide (Alison Cassidy) via Facebook.
Cat mug with a TTSH, a clone of the Arp 2600 synthesizer. By Alexander Henriksson on Facebook.
And another cat has found its 🏠
The TTSH is an Arp 2600 clone that can be built as a DIY project, as described by The Human Comparator. San Pedro Labs builds full versions, including wood casings. (They used to be here in San Francisco, but have recently relocated to New Mexico.)