The original microKORG genre-selecting knob, sure to baffle and delight with its nonsensical labels. Careful: you may actually transform yourself with the genres.

Okay, first, a disclaimer: the fact that the upcoming microKORG XL has a “genre” knob for selecting presets isn’t big news. The original microKORG had genre-selectable presets, too. The beauty of the original, though, was how incoherently these settings were labeled. (Retro, or Hiphop/Vintage, anyone?)

Sometimes, the labels that don’t fit are better than the real ones.

“What type of music do you play?”

“I play VOCODER!”

(From here on out, any time the mention of VOCODER comes up, it shall be in CAPS and ITALICS as will anything else we especially ENJOY. For instance: GRANULAR DISTORTION!)

Sadly, it seems Korg has – well, sort of – made these choices rational. (As rational as they can be, anyway, given “genre” is generally irrational.) I think I misread the label “ROCK/POP” as “POWER POP” – you’ll have to use your imagination. (VINTAGE SYNTH? Does that really say HOUSE/DISCO?) Korg explains:

The first selects the musical genre, while the second defines the instrument category. From the familiar "ROCK / KEYBOARD," the standard "R&B / LEAD," and the distinctive "HIPHOP / BASS," a wide range of presets are instantly available. For the diehard synthesists and sound designers, you can use the three performance edit knobs for fast, effective editing in performance. You’re also free to select and assign your favorite parameters.

No idea what “distinctive” means, but since our job is not selling lots of gear, let’s do something more fun. I suggest we chip in and imagine the Most Awesomest Genre Knob ever. You’ll be free to incorporate this into your Pd and Reaktor patches. It will have silly, awesome names on it that we’ve made up or refer to disparagingly. Get your genre brains going, and submit your ideas, and I’ll run the best answers later this week. You’ll have to print out a sticker to put on your new microKORG XL when it ships in 2009.

Now, if only we could use a “genre” knob on bands at gigs… sorry, Emo band, you’ve now just become Avant-electro-noise!

Send your answers below, or head directly to