Wednesday, 3 August 2016

Vintage Synth: Roland MKS-70

In an earlier article I discussed the Yamaha TX81Z, the classic synthesiser module that has featured on all of Dayglo Fishermen's albums.

That module is not alone.

The Roland MKS-70 is another classic synthesiser module that has also featured on all of the band's albums. Pictured below, the module, first released in 1986, was installed in Artlite Studios in 1989, shortly before the formation of Dayglo Fishermen. It's warm analogue sounds, still used in many studios today, added a depth and richness to the band's music - a perfect complement to the harsher FM synthesis tones of the TX81Z.

Roland MKS-70 - featured on every Dayglo Fishermen album

There are hundreds of Dayglo Fishermen tracks that feature this module's sounds, and there are some where the module almost takes over. One of those is 'Fish', the band's first ever song, recorded in 1990. The fast squidgy bass line that feaftures throughout is one of the MKS-70's signature patches. The relentless use of that sound is one of the reasons the song had such an impact when it was released on the album 'Drenched' later that year.

Another song on that debut album that features heavy use of the module is 'Easy Projector'. The entire intro sequence features four of the MKS-70's sounds, and the whole song is underpinned by one of the module's mellow pads, ensuring a wide and relaxing soundscape.

Surge forwards 25 years and that same module can still be heard. The final track on Dayglo Fishermen's latest album, 'Midnight Souls Still Remain', titled 'Cool People Meet', features a spacious flute-like sound that fills out the choruses. It shows the great versatility and timeless quality of the MKS-70, and illustrates just why such an aging sound module still has so much to offer, and why its popularity has yet to fade.

Despite the recent aquisition of a new state-of-the-art Roland synthesiser, the band's classic old Roland, the MKS-70, is certain to feature on Dayglo Fishermen's future albums and projects.

Long may it do so.