Know your maker: these 5 albums made with Korg gear prove the value of loyalty, and the potential joys to be found in limitation.
A recent study proved that playing with fewer toys led to improved focus and heightened creativity. Admittedly, that study was conducted on toddlers, but that doesn’t mean we shouldn’t learn any lessons from it.
The benefits of restricting oneself is hardly an overlooked phenomenon. In fact, many musicians and producers we’ve had the pleasure of speaking with hold this ideal as a holy pillar of their creative strategy.
Last year, Aphex Twin garnered plenty of attention with korg funk 5, a saucy original track recorded exclusively on Korg gear. After a little research it turns out he’s hardly the first artist to do so. Many artists have sought to release entire albums based within Korg’s formidable catalogue.
Here are five we love dearly.
Mount Kimbie – Love What Survives
Amongst the caress of James Blake‘s vocal and King Krule‘s unmatched swagger, Mount Kimbie members Dominic Maker and Kai Campos exclusively composed their latest on these two synths. The result is a rhythmic masterwork, at times overdriven to manic perfection.
Jon Hopkins – Contact Note
Before crashing into the electronic cannon with Immunity, Jon Hopkins was floating in blissful, ambient obscurity. His newfound eminence lifted the veil on his reclusive East London studio, and many were surprised to find out that for most of his career, he had only owned one synth.
With the humble Korg Trinity and an outdated 1999 version of Logic, Hopkins recorded every album in his catalogue up until Insides. This includes the wonderful Contact Note, one of the artist’s most cinematic and effervescent efforts.
Released in 2003, it marks some of the producer’s earliest flirtations with dance music. Steaming with heated sequences and starry-eyed composition, it’s an unbeatable example of the old ‘it’s how you use it’ mantra.
Kable54 – Volca Galaxies
An artist based out of Melbourne, Australia, Kable54 sought not only to record his album on Korg synths alone, but entirely on the Volca series. Volca Galaxies is the result, released through Clan Analogue in 2017.
In their relatively short shelf life, the Volca series have far outsold their worth in terms of innovation, depth, and experimentation. Each month someone seems to have found a new way to utilise these tiny boxes, whether it be ‘unlocking’ the Volca Kick’s soundbase or more complex projects like Volca Galaxies.
Nathan Fake – Providence
In 2016, after five long years between drinks, Nathan Fake released the magnificent Providence. Thereby it was revealed where he had been that whole time; holed up with a Korg Prophecy.
The album takes the essence of single-maker craftsmanship and extrapolates it to another dimension entirely, each song designed to test the outer limits of what Fake’s machine could achieve.
Quieter moments like unen form natural lulls between the head spinning, arpeggiated glory of tracks such as CONNECTIVITY or PROVIDENCE, giving the whole release a soundtrack-like quality. Viability at both ends of the spectrum is achieved, proving Fake’s virtuosity like none of his previous releases could have.
Mr. Oizo – Analogue Worms Attack
Back in ’99, only able to get his hands on a Korg MS-20 and a sampler, French producer Mr. Oizo released what would become a staple of electronic music history. Analogue Worms Attack is that feat of recording.
Now a graduate of the esteemed Ed Banger records, Mr. Oizo has an entire library of prolific releases under his belt. Yet his most popular song remains Flat Beat, the naughty bonus track fans discovered after listening through five minutes of silence on the B-side of Analogue Worms Attack.
Any Korg literate listener will recognise the bassline for exactly what it is; a dirty MS-20 signal filtered to dancefloor perfection.