MATRIXSYNTH: The Gmebaphone Concept and the Cybernéphone Instrument

Sunday, December 19, 2021

The Gmebaphone Concept and the Cybernéphone Instrument

This one is in via Asbjørn Blokkum Flø. "Here is an interesting synth produced in various forms from 1973-2001. It was produced in various analogue and digital forms. If you do a Google image search for 'Gmebaphone' you will see a few different versions. The music of Christian Clozier and Françoise Barrière probably includes the instrument. I tried the instrument at the Bourges festival in 2004, and it was quirky but fascinating."


"The Gmebaphone is an instrumentarium consisting of amplifiers, sound-treatment systems, loudspeakers, a console, and a processing system designed and built for live diffusion and performance. The specifications for the instrument were dictated by musical criteria. The musical interpretation of a work is based on analysis of the work and on analysis of its physical signals. Thus, the instrument is able to provide a pertinent acoustic rendering of a work’s sonic complexities (in terms of timbre, time, and space) directly under the performer’s control, thereby allowing transparent and expressive interpretations. The Gmebaphone is a processor/simulator of sonic electroacoustic space, as well as a polyphonic acoustic synthesizer of musical spaces. It is an instrument comprised of the hierarchical combination of a control system with memory, tablatures, and combinatory modes of play that give rise to a rich and workable system of interpretation and expression."

Also see

Image below with an E-Mu Modular in the back ground, and EMS Putney on the left via here.  Not sure what the black system on the farl left is.  If you know feel free to leave a comment. Also if you know if any demos of the Gmebaphone let us know!

P.S. The design reminds me of various equipment featured in synth rorschach posts.

See the exclusive label for more of the rare of the rare in the synth world.

Update: additonal info in via Asbjørn Blokkum Flø:

I've looked further into the Gmebaphone.

It basically looks like a system for live surround sound for electronic music, or as it is called "diffusion" of electroacoustic music. The surround setups could be very complex with up to 50 loudspeakers of various shapes and placements, a bit like the Acousmonium (GRM 1974-) [link]

The term 'acoustic' is used several times in the article. This seems to describe how loudspeakers interacts with the acoustics of the space, and not acoustic sound sources in the traditional meaning the word.

Being built as a custom instrument for live performance of electronic music, it is more of a musical and compositional tool than a conventional analogue or digital mixer.

It evolved over the years, but the latest model seemed to have a 76 channel mixer with 8 inputs and 16 outputs, with the possibility of digital treatments (phasing, delay, reverberation, and detuning).

From the article:
'The console has a total number of 76 channels of diffusion (36 are touch-controlled and 40 are digitally controlled via the screens) spread over 16 master outputs and eight master inputs. [..] Pull-down menus control digital treatments (phasing, delay, reverberation, and detuning).'

The article describes 6 different models (with photos):
Gmebaphone 1 (1973)
Gmebaphone 2 (1975) - 6 inputs, 2 "networks" (outputs?).
Gmebaphone 3 (1979) - 8 inputs, 22 outputs. Manual analogue control as well as digital computer control.
Gmebaphone 4 (1983) - Digital playback of soundfiles. Digital treatments (phasing, delay, and timbre).
Gmebaphone 5 (1992) - sequencing, graphical interface, automation.
Gmebaphone 6 - (renamed Cybernéphone) (1997) - 8 inputs, 16 outputs, 50 loudspeakers. Possible to save files to CD-ROM.

This page mentions the Gmebaphone number 7 / Cybernéphone (2005): [link]

The convoluted language of the article reminds me of the writings of French composer Pierre Schaeffer, and can be a bit hard to decipher.
There is also some information on a large number of synthesizers that they produced between 1973 and 2008. called Systhysysop (1976), Charybde (1985), Gmebogosse (1972-1999) and Cybersongosse (??-2008?).

They are described in this article (with images): [link]

Many nice images here: [pdf link]

Another article: [link]

More images: [link 1 Also captured here] [link 2] [link 3 Also captured here]

These instruments was also made at the International Institute of Electroacoustic Music at Bourges /IMEB. Read more about IMEB here (use Google translate). [link]

You have written about the Cybersongosse before: [link]

I could not find any audio clips.

All the best"

1 comment:

  1. The black system is a Moog drum synthesizer ;-)
    Seb from Mos-lab


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