Saturday, July 10, 2010

Synthesizer on Stamps

My first love was music, and in the 90's, I wanted to be musician more than being a physician. My dad desperately wanted me to proceed to medicine after graduating in Medical Technology. In the 80's, I already was the keyboardist of the New Cebu Music pioneers and New Wave group "40" the Band in Cebu, and so I resented his decision for me to take up medicine. He then told me, "Not all musicians can be doctors, but any doctor can be a musician if you got the talent for it"; and so I proceeded to medicine and eventually became a gastroenterologist 12 years later.

When I graduated medicine in 1993, my dad gave me a Korg X3- the first synthesizer I ever had (although I already had several keyboards before, they were not synths). I made several compositions using this wonderful synth and saving them to its built in floppy disk. Unfortunately, these disk were damaged or lost and of the remaining disk, not one remained functional today. These floppy disk were not really built to last.

Years later, while in China, I saw this stamp (above)- the first stamp ever I saw with a synth on it, and surprisingly it was an X3 (or looks like an X3, maybe an M1 or O1W perhaps, what do you think)?

The Korg X3 is a synthesizer produced by Korg in 1993. The X3 features 200 Programs, 200 Combinations, 32-voice polyphony, a 32,000 note, 16-track sequencer with 100 patterns and 10 songs and a double-sided, double-density 3.5 inch floppy disk drive for song and other data storage types. Korg also released the X2 (76-key) with 8 Mbyte ROM (6Mbyte X3 + 2Mbyte new Piano) in 1994 along with a rackmount version dubbed the X3R, which also had a floppy disk drive.

Many of its samples come from the T3 Series and 01/W Series Synthesizers. The X3 features 339 samples compressed into 6 megs of ROM and Korg beefed this synth up in areas where previous Korg synths had been weak (For example, Organs and Strings).

The X3 lacked several key piano samples that had become popular in the M1 and 01/W series, replacing them with different samples altogether, and (arguably) not as good sounding as before. They eventually brought back some of these classisc Korg sounds (like the M1 Piano) in the X5D and future Korg synths.

Picture above: me and the group "40" the Band (the original/first generation) in 1987.

Jonathan Tiu (2nd keyboardist then, now Aseana Pilot based in Seoul)
Alvin Chiong (drummer and owner of A. Salonga Music Center, now band leader SRO)
Troy Degamo (lead singer, now still a singer and recording artist based in Canada with his group The Cobra Kings
Arnold Ang (lead guitarist then, now businessman lead guitarist of "Kuwarenta"- a blues band
Lyndon Banzon (bass guitarist then, now businessman and bass guitarist with "Kuwarenta" . Still together with Arnold after all these years
Madeleine Fernandez ( lead singer, singing still abroad- I don't know where?)
Vicente Avanzado Jr. - (lead keyboardist then, now an Internist- Gastroenterologist)