Roland Juno-106 Beyond Effective Range

Roland Juno-106 – “Beyond Effective Range” Vocal – Retro 80’s Groove.

Had a lot of fun working with the AKai S3000XL this evening. I used Propellerhead’s Recycle to slice up a vocal phrase and send it directly via SCSI to the S3000XL. I have an old Windows 98 computer that that is connected to the AKAI S3000XL which is also connected to an MO drive. The Roland Fantom XF is controlling the S3000XL which I’m playing on the lower part of they keyboard. Everything in the video is improvised including the sequenced parts and drums which were put together this evening.

In the video I’m playing live:
Roland Juno-106 – Synth Lead ( Right Hand )
AKAI S3000XL Sampler ( Left Hand )

Roland MC-909 Sequenced:
Synth 1 – Roland D-550
Synth 2 – Roland MKS-50
Synth 3 – Roland SH-101

Drums were loop recorded with the Boss RC-300 Loop Station.

Akai S3000XL Sampler
Akai S3000XL Sampler

Korg Polysix Synthesizer Madness!

I’ve really come to enjoy the Korg Polysix Synthesizer. It’s such a joy to use each day and the attention it requires is amazing. I’m not sure why, but if I let the Polysix sit without playing it for more than a couple of days, strange things seem to happen inside the machine. It’s funny, I don’t even keep the cover screwed down anymore because I’m constantly lifting up the hood and cleaning something. The Polysix kind of reminds me of the daily repairs on my old VW Bug during my University days. That actually was a very trusty vehicle probably because I knew it inside and out. I feel the same with the Korg Polysix. I sometimes see double with the LEDS on the front panel. Occasionally a key triggers a few times too many, but sometimes it sounds kind of cool. Everyone so often, I also get a glitch or two which seems to be triggered by what I don’t know…laugh.

What’s interesting is that if I lift the hood and rub some alcohol cleaner around the circuits ( With the Polysix unplugged of course ), it then fires up on all cylinders just fine. It’s probably the cleanest Polysix I know of. I have another Polysix to the right which actually works perfectly yet, I keep migrating to this particular one which is older in serial number. For some reason it just seems to have quite a bit of character. I know a lot of people who get those KIWI mods, but I’m not quite ready to spend more than what I paid for this Polysix for the upgrade. The Korg Polysix sends me into madness sometimes but it can also transport me into another realm of sweet music and fun. I just love the modulation you can get out of the Polysix. I think the video posted above illustrates pretty well the effort in trying to tame the mighty machine and keep it running.

I feel extremely fortunate to not just have one, but two Korg Polysix synthesizers. However, the one in this video is special to me. I don’t know if I’ll ever sell it primarily because I have this strange feeling it won’t ever work again the minute somebody else turns it on. Yeah, I’ve had a lot of cars in my life and they’ve gotten nicer since my VW bug days. Yet, it’s that VW bug that I remember the most. The bond we had working together to get back home safely in the wee hours of the morning after a night at the club was amazing. The bug always came through for me just like this trusty, but mad, old Korg Polysix. Cherish those struggles in life I say, as they are the very things that define us.

Have a great weekend and happy jamming!

Note about the video: All tracks were looped with the Boss RC-300. I toggle between several patches on the Korg Polysix itself. I use a drum machine for the drum midi’d to the Boss RC-300.

Korg Polysix Synthesizer
Korg Polysix Synthesizer

The Original Korg RK-100 in RED!

Jamming on the original Korg RK-100 in red. I bought this about a year ago and I love it. There is a new RK-100s out, but I actually like the original because of the three mod wheels. I am running the Korg RK-100 through a Korg EX-800 which originally was also paired with the RK-100 when released in the 80’s. They make a terrific analog synth combo and I think it sounds great. In this video I recorded some drums and EX-800 loops into the Boss RC-300 on the floor. I then created a custom EX-800 patch for the jam. The RK-100 size, weight, and shape are just perfect for me. Yes, some might think the RK-100 is heavy, but coming from working with a Gibson Les Paul Custom for some years, it’s definitely much lighter than a Les Paul. I don’t mind having a bit of weight on my shoulders anyway. I’ll upload more videos over the next couple of weeks with the original RK-100 from Korg. I’m still a tiny bit rusty with it.

Here is the Korg RK-100 and Korg EX-800 in my studio.

Korg RK100 and Korg EX-800

A post shared by Jim Atwood in Japan (@jimatwood) on

VooDoo in my Veins Guitar Jam

Picked up the guitar this evening and created a little jam with the Boss RC-300 running three drum tracks along with three guitar rhythm tracks I recorded. I then have a Boss RC-505 with a couple of vocal loops recorded using the Roland VT-3 Voice Transformer. I’m then playing the lead guitar over the top with ad-lib vocals singing a line “VooDoo in my Veins”. I actually started out as a guitar player when I was about 10 years old. I later got a Yamaha DX7 and that started my synthesizer journey. It can be a bit of a handful doing synths, guitars, and vocals all at once, but it’s fun and a challenge too trying to mix them all in live. By the way, the guitar is made by Ibanez. I usually play a Flying-V or some other Gibson, but I like the Ibanez quite a bit as well.

Korg Polysix Synth FX Patches

Today I ran through some Korg Polysix special FX patches that I’ve been working on and collecting for the past couple of months. I’m a huge fan of integrating synth FX into jams and compositions and have been greatly inspired by Patrick Cowley of the late 70’s and early 80’s. I only wish I had a Prophet 5 so I could replicate a lot of those classic sweeps and ray gun FX patches. With that said, I feel I’m coming along with emulating a lot of those cool classic FX on the Korg Polysix. I noticed that around Youtube there aren’t that many synth players utilizing FX sounds into their songs or jams like the old days. I’m not sure why that is other than it’s not always easy to acquire a particular analog synth or create a certain patch I know. It’s also not easy to use “sampled” FX. I once picked up some Prophet 5 FX samples and really had a hard time integrating them into songs. For me at least, it seems the best way is to get an old analog synth that is capable and just add FX from the synth itself. That seems to work best with my workflow at the moment.

I use both the Boss RC-300 and RC-505 to loop 80’s drums and sounds from both the Korg Polysix and the Novation Bass Station 2. I then add FX live from the Korg Polysix and one sweeping FX patch from the Bass Station 2. I believe I go through about 7 or 8 Korg Polysix patches in the video and everything is improvised. I’m also a big fan of imperfections and dissonance, so I like to just jump in there and play whatever comes to mind.

Korg Polysix, Bass Station 2 and the Boss RC-300

Recorded a fun little jam using the Boss RC-300 running three drum loops I recorded with different Novation Bass Station 2 bass lines on top. I then switched each one during various times of the jam. My left hand overdubs with a custom programmed punchy filter/noise sound from the Bass Station 2. I’m using three different custom patches on the Korg Polysix. The video was recorded in one take after about 5-10 minutes of playing around with RC-300. The Boss RC-300 works extremely well for switching verse, chorus, and bridge parts.

Roland RC-300 plus dual RC-505 Synth Jam

Jim Atwood in Japan Live Setup
Jim Atwood in Japan Live Setup

Here is a video of a jam I did this evening where I finally had everything setup and in sync. It took me a while to wrap my head around how to get this particular setup, but I can now say it works perfectly. Here is the workflow in the video.

On the floor I have a Roland RC-300 loop station that acts as the Master Start/Stop with midi clock. The RC-300 is also setup to trigger three different bass lines, sort of like a verse, chorus, and bridge. ( That is my intent for future grooves ). The RC-505 to my right is setup to trigger support synths, the Roland MKS-50 and Oberheim Matrix 1000. Those two synths are triggered from a Roland Fantom X6 where I can both play the sounds and change the patches. The actual sound I’m playing on the Fantom is the Oberheim Matrix 1000 module.

There is also a Roland RC-505 to my left that is looping the Roland VT-3 transformer audio of my voice. I also have a foot pedal connected to the RC-505 so that I can trigger the stutter effect on the vocals. There are three sound loops. One is a high pitched chorus vocal. Another is a robotic sound, and the third is a radio phrase, all recorded from the VT-3. I’m using two midi patch bays, one for the Loopstations and another for the synths. This keeps the midi clock working properly. The drums are from the Roland MC-909 and the bass parts are from the Novation Bass Station 2.

Basically, I have the Boss RC-300 setup to work on separating the verse, chorus, and bridge parts. ( The tracks are in single mode ) I then have one Boss RC-505 working the vocals parts. ( Multi mode ) The other RC-505 can record and loop supporting synth parts. ( Both single and multi mode ) The MC-909 acts as the sequencer for any midi parts. I can then play live on the Fantom X6 triggering synth modules as it’s easy to change external patches with. I can also use the non midi synths like the Korg Polysix for live playing. I found if the loop stations are organized and allocated to vocals, synths, and bass parts, they’re much easier to work with live.

There are definitely a lot of fun possibilities here.