“Underground romantic engineering” is the motto of up-and-coming gearmaker SOMA Laboratory. Here’s a look at the Russian-Polish foundry creating wild new electronic instruments – and their latest creation.
Music store All For DJ has become a badly-needed new hub for Moscow’s electronic producers. Despite the name, they’re host to all kind of electronic instruments. I met the folks operating the retailer earlier this summer, and it’s an oasis – easy access to lots of gear, which had until recently sometimes been a challenge in Russia, and also tons of information (including a Russian-language blog).
And they’re producing documentaries, like this one looking at SOMA. It’ll definitely be up CDMers’ alley – Ukrainian-Russian creator Vlad Kreimer is the kind of mad scientist experimental musician we love. Now, his Lyra-8 has become a sought-after, one-of-a-kind instrument, and he’s teaming up with Vyacheslav Grigoriev (previously of VG-Line). (Vyacheslav joined me last year on a panel for Synthposium in Moscow, talking about his upbringing in electronics in the USSR.) The operation is growing, with operations both in Russia and Poland, as the electronic music community embraces exactly this sort of strange.
The film is a beautiful and intimate portrait of the creators and their ideas (subtitled in English):
The Lyra synth is like a “book, album, work of art that contains a message,” says Vlad. And there’s a new tome coming – the Pulsar-23, which brings the same ethos to drum machines. Its release is eagerly anticipated, with photos (seen here) showing it in final prototype state, about to hit production. (Advance buyers are apparently bugging them for that.)
Vlad showed off the new box at Superbooth in Berlin in May (which I missed, ironically, as I had to fly to St. Petersburg – positions keep swapping):
Selekta.fm did a hands-on, too, and – wow, that sound.
Selekta also did a full interview:
I hope I get to experience this drum machine in person, soon, as well. Best with the project to SOMA. Meanwhile, behold: