Aphex Twin Talks to Tatsuya Takahashi About the Korg Monologue, Shares Incredible All–Korg Synth Demo

The long–running avant garde electronic label Warp has posted a conversation between one of its stalwart artists — Richard D. James (better known as Aphex Twin) — and the head of Korg's synth design behind the analog Volca series and much more, Tatusya Takahashi. The two talk about everything from FM synths to polyhedra to smoking cigarettes to the Japanese word for “orgasm.”

The conversation largely focuses on the implementation of microtunings on the Korg Monologue, one of the last synths that Takahashi designed during his tenure at Korg.

The pair traces its development from a feature originally insisted upon by RDJ, to a one–off MIDI Thru box that Korg gave to RDJ for retuning any monosynth, to Takahashi’s own revelations about the relationship between circuits and musicality.

The long section about microtuning is a great read for anyone who looking for a quick primer on what alternate tunings do and why it’s such a cool feature on the Korg Monologue.

It’s as interesting for the music history buff who didn’t realize the A440 tuning standard is less than a century old as it is for folks just looking to get more out of their bafflingly powerful and affordable Monologues.

One of the coolest aspects of the interview is that RDJ made a series of tracks to show off the Monologue’s microtuning capabilities. The majority of these are pretty arpeggiated melodies that hearken to the early work of Daphney Oram, Delia Derbyshire, and others from the BBC Radiophonic Workshop.

But one track is a complete Aphex Twin production, “korg funk 5,” using a Cirklon 5 analog sequencer and a host of Korg gear that Takahashi provides in the interview.

Yeah, so you're a huge fan of the Cirklon, which you used for "korg funk 5." Could you tell us how that track was put together?

Here's the gear list you sent me:

I was blown away by this and really really touched. I don't think there is another track out there using so much of the gear I worked on!

The funny part is that RDJ professes his love of synth demos in the interview, yet he has likely recorded the greatest synth demo of all time.

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