Farewell to 2020, a year like no other

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.

CatSynth Pic: Gracie and Arp Odyssey

Gracie is back! This time with a first-version Arp Odyssey (before the red Helvetica style). From Alison Synthetic Dreamscapes.

CatSynth Pic: Korg Arp Odyssey

Cat posing with a Korg Arp Odyssey synthesizer. From Jenna Leigh-Raine via Facebook.

Modelling for Korg. Ha

We’ve long been intrigued by the Korg Arp Odyssey since it came out – you can see our NAMM review when it was first released. But we don’t have one of our own…yet.

CatSynth Pic: Arp Odyssey

A cat sits atop an original Arp Odyssey. From the appropriately named arpodyssey on Instagram.

Another Original ARP Odyssey in, this one has a problem moving the sliders! Can’t think what the problem may be 😂

CatSynth Pic: Xochitl with Arp Odyssey

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.

From Jay Margart via Facebook.

CatSynth Pic: Gracie, Moog, LinnDrum, Arp, PPG

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.

CatSynth Pic: Cat Mug and TTSH (Arp 2600 Clone)

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.)

 

CatSynth pic: POPI and ARP Odyssey

POPI and ARP Odyssey

Popi the cat proudly stands atop a vintage ARP Odyssey – an original MKI before the red Helvetica lettering. Submitted by Luca Roccatagliati via Facebook.

“My New Toy works good!”

CatSynth pic: Arp Odyssey MK 1

Cat on Arp Odyssey MK 1

From arpodyssey via Instagram.

“Why if you put a synth down for 1 minute will a cat jump all over it? #catsynth#arpodyssey#synthporn#analogue#mk1arpodyssey#synth#naughtycat#arp#synthesiser#synthcat”

This is an Arp Odyssey MK 1 with a white panel and a different style from the more well-known models.

CatSynth pic: ARP Odyssey and Korg Mono/Poly

Arp Odyssey and Korg Mono/Poly

Via Cats on Synthesizers in Space. So is that an original ARP Odyssey or Korg’s reissue?