The Subharchord. Photo Gerhard Steinke.

Meet the Subharchord, subharmonic organ of the DDR

Once upon a time in East Germany, an alternate branch of the evolution of the synthesizer and the organ came into being. And now it has a second chance to capture imaginations. The Subharchord was the DDR-era invention of engineer Enrst Schreiber, first designed in 1958. It was an original production but inspired by Oskar Sala’s so-called Mixtur-Trautonium. State backing came from the unlikely goal of serving as a commercial rival to the Hammond organ, thus bringing revenue to the cash-strapped Communist nation. Unfortunately, practicality and politics intervened. But that’s not to say the Subharchord wasn’t ahead of its time …


Thomas Kurzhals (KARAT) Bleeds on a Moog; Music Before the Berlin Wall’s Fall

You’ve seen a musician or two, no doubt, jamming away on a Moog synthesizer. But German band KARAT’s keyboardist Thomas Kurzhals really tears into it. Chris Stack, formerly of Moog and now producing the Experimental Synth series we cover with some regularity, shot this video interview / performance set, and tells us: I don’t think it shows in the video, but at one point I looked down from filming and saw that he was playing so hard he was bleeding on the keys of the Voyager Old School. With the fall of the Iron Curtain – and the accessibility of …