Wednesday, June 20, 2007

Herbie Hancock Demonstrates the Fairlight on Sesame Street

Our oldskool experimental free-to-air TV broadcasts, would later be called live VJ-ing. We used Amiga Computers which were brilliant for graphics (this is 8 bit late 80's early 90's era) and the god of tech toys, the Fairlight vision synth. I've recently been in touch with a tech who worked at Fairlight which was based in Sydney Australia, and getting some background insider goss.

Before Fairlight had vision toys, they produced what was basically the worlds first digital sampler. Music heads, DJ's, and producers will know the extraordinary significance and impact the sampler had on music. Essentially changing it into what we call music today.

Grand Master (seeing as I'm a keyboard/synth player) was Herbie Hancock. Herbie is responsible for Rockit - (still got my original Future Shock vinyl LP, bought it new) which pretty much kick started hip-hop.

Here's some classic Herbie trax to prove my point...starting with Herbie does Sesame Street, demonstrating the Australian invention (getting all teary does that to me) ...the Fairlight CMI (Computer Music Instrument)

Herbie Hancock Demonstrates the Fairlight on Sesame Street

Herbie Hancock Rockit

This is an excellent vid with Herbie Hancock explaining and demonstrating the Fairlight CMI to grown-ups this time. The grown up is the legendary Quincy Jones. You get a fantastic run through of exactly what the Fairlight does, without a mouse! It used a light pen, much the same we today use a mouse, except you touched the screen. It's such a delight watching two music greats play with this gear. They have smiles as big as the Sesame Street kids!! Bigger :)))

Herbie Hancock jams with his Fairlight CMI 1983

And a line up to make synthheads both faint with pleasure, and collapse in shock - Thomas Dolby, Herbie Hancock, Howard Jones, and Stevie Wonder in Los Angeles. Thomas Dolby and Howard Jones were the new kids on the block in 1985 when this vid was made, much the same as their hairstyles ;). This is a great clip to see some now vintage synths, on stage.

Synthesizer Medley 1985

This is from Headhunters a masterful album by Herbie (Yep still got that original vinyl lp as well, and yes bought it new too. It was a staple for keyboard players at the time, along side Emerson Lake and Palmer, Rick Wakeman/Yes, etc)

Herbie Hancock & The Headhunters - Chameleon (Part 1 of 2) 1975

Herbie Hancock & The Headhunters - Chameleon (Part 2 of 2) 1975

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