Peak Experience

I had something of a peak experience yesterday.

To grasp its import, you need first to understand that I am nearly sixty years old, and that for more than forty of those years the only true constant in my life has been my love of, and involvement with, electronic music. Having been raised on the original ARPs and the Big Moog, most of my touchstones have been events in the development of the technology and the music, exemplified by particular instruments. The Prophet 5. The DX7. The Waveframe and Synclavier, and so on.

Over the past couple of weeks, the salesman with whom I do most of my business these days attended NAMM, and while there persuaded a Korg representative to ship a brace of the new Waldorf Quantum, a “flagship” instrument of unique design, and commanding my interest more than any other synthesizer since the strange, lamented Hartmann Neuron.

While my spouse and I were at the shop yesterday, on a purchasing run for another piece of our home studio, the salesman informed me that, while the first Quantum had gone back out the door immediately upon arrival, the second one was still in its box and below stairs. He offered to open it for me, so that I could play with it.

I spent the next half hour in quiet waiting. I sat, eyes closed, on a stool, enduring the time by stilling my breath and stimming my nylon bag.

Finally, the box arrived and I changed my seat to watch its opening.

I nearly cried.

They mounted the Quantum, by which time I had regained my composure and prepared to audtion the instrument. I sanitized a pair of headphones, put my head down, and meditated with my hands and ears for the next half hour.

It was glorious. Like all such idiosyncratic instruments, it had a very distinctive character that could be heard as a limitation. But it was such a joy, so fluid and rich an interface and sound, that I fell just exactly as in love with it as I expected.

I took a moment of silence afterward, and let the salesman know that while I couldn’t afford it now, it was most certainly top of the list, should I be in that kind of market again.

We made the other large purchase for which we had come, I bought myself a Behringer Neutron as consolation.

And now I have another lost love.

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