MATRIXSYNTH: The Driskell Serge

Monday, March 07, 2022

The Driskell Serge

"W" - Part 1 of 3 of WAD: A Trio For Richard Driskell.
"A" - Part 2 of 3 of WAD: A Trio For Richard Driskell.
"D" - Part 3 of 3 of WAD: A Trio For Richard Driskell.

"'I Am Because We Are'

An Announcement of New Explorations and a New Composition Project

Here is 'WAD: A Trio For Richard Driskell.'

It is composed of three improvisations where I explore, for the first time, the Wilson Analog Delay (WAD.) Even though it is not a fully operating module (no input 2, for the moment) it is still remarkable and something that I’ve had few chances to play with.

So here I am, using the WAD from Richard’s Serge with patch elements from the Mystery Serge, combining them for new explorations.

While I hope that these Improvisations are interesting in themselves, I know that the videos will raise some questions about Richard and his Serge system.

I have known Richard as a friend for about a decade. We met at one of my early (I think the first) Church of the Super Serge concerts at Robotspeak in San Francisco. I quickly came to know him as a wonderful photo documenter of the San Francisco experimental music scene. You have seen me represent myself and my music here many times using his beautiful images.

Over time I learned that Richard was also a member (the drummer) of the important early synth punk group, The Units. Eventually, as our friendship developed, I learned that Richard went on to pursue synthesis directly and had a Serge system. One I was familiar with, in fact, because it was used by LX Rudis in his performances and we had shared the stage several times and had even performed together at the Outsound New Music Summit (with Dmitri Bronson) using that same system.

Richard’s Serge is now in my hands.

When I asked Richard how I could talk about how and why his Serge is in my hands, he said that he and these circumstances are an open book.

Richard is in the end stages of cancer. It is his second such fight over the years and while he has persistently fought it and continues to at this time, everyone who is close to him appreciates every day that he is still with us.

When Richard thought about the future of his synth, he decided that it was most important that it remain active in the Bay Area modular music scene. With this in mind, he contacted me and we discussed how, in my hands, the system could continue to be heard and seen, and how it could also take on a community-building role through efforts that I could put forward using it.

Richard’s thoughtful stewardship of his synthesizer and its future is a remarkable sign of the maturity of the Serge world both in terms of age, and more importantly, in terms of the continuity and continuation of our community as an important artistic and technological entity.

As you can see, this trio of improvisations unpacks a lot more than just new music or sonic explorations. It unpacks the whole of what we are as artists, as a community, and as people who support each other because we know each others’ value to what we all are.

With this, I announce a longterm composition project to be conducted at my studio, where composers contribute using the Driskell Serge. The project, being developed to start soon, is called, “I Am Because We Are” and is dedicated to the wonderful artist, musician and community builder, Richard Driskell, to benefit experimental music and the Bay Area modular music scene.

Doug Lynner"

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