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Thoughts on Orchestron Discs

Posted by peahix on January 13th, 2009

OK, so we’ve had a few very desperate requests to remaster/reissue the Orchestron disc library. This is definitely something we want to do, but the demand is very small given the miniscule owner community of this rare instrument. Orchestron discs share the same basic specs as Optigan discs, and discs from both machines can play in either, but the problem is that the Orchestron only has keyboard scale tones, and not only are they moved to the outer edge of the disc, but they’re staggered in 4ths and 5ths to avoid the kind of chromatic crosstalk problems the Optigan suffers from. This means that if you play an Orchestron disc on an Optigan, you get scale tones haphazardly laid out on the chord buttons, with the remaining 17 scale tones laid out in 4ths/5ths on the upper part of the keyboard. Not alot of fun to play, and definitely little incentive for Optigan owners to buy them.

So we’ve come up with an idea to make these discs more tempting for the Optigan owner. We’re going to fill the remaining blank space on the disc (20 tracks worth) with “experimental” sounds, which will be invisible to an Orchestron, but will play on the bottom half of an Optigan’s keyboard. We’ll leave one blank track between the two sound sets in order to avoid crosstalk on the lowest Orchestron note, so that gives us a total of 19 experimental tracks to play with.

On our disc survey, the “Prepared Piano” concept is ranking high, so maybe we’ll tackle that one first. Another fun idea we had was to do a sort of William S. Burroughs cut-up poetry disc, with fragments of speech loops on each track, which you can cut into and out of to create dada linguistic collages. Also, my friend Matt Lorenz is a virtuoso beat-boxer, so maybe we’ll fill one with beat-box loops. Post comments below with your ideas!

Another option we’re discussing is to do the Orchestron reissues as a set, with the original 8 sounds remastered, and supplemented with maybe two new Orchestron sounds. The price for such a set is to be determined (partially by demand), so please leave a comment if you’d be interested in buying the set. If we sell Orchestron discs individually, they’re likely to be priced a bit higher than our Optigan discs, as we anticipate less demand, even with the experimental bonus tracks added in.

One Response to “Thoughts on Orchestron Discs”

  1. NoelSamuels Says:

    I think these are great ideas for Orchestron discs, though I’d stay away from mixing human beat box sounds with the classic orchestron sounds. That’s two totally different markets.

    You should get the sounds of historical figures in the speeches.

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