This is a paperface unit belonging to Batchas.

(article by Batchas)

A bit of history:

This paperface system was owned during nearly 4 decades by the swiss composer, sound designer and audio-visual artist Ernst Thoma. I bought it from him in 2016 and Iím slowly refurbishing it, troubleshooting etc.

This paperface system was originally designed by David C. Johnson, who had a Serge from the very first generation and was also the director of the electronic studio from the Musikakademie in Basel. He assembled it for and with the Jazz musician Martin Schlumpf, who sold it to Ernst Thoma around 1978, because he could not really carry out his musical ideas on the Serge.

David C. Johnson also had a Serge from the very first generation and Ernst got to know the instrument pretty well, cause he could patch and play with it while he was Davidís student at the electronic studio.

Ernst used this Serge for the first time in a live performance with the artist Peter Trachsel and in 1980 they played at many different places like the Paris Biennale, Performance Festival in Lyon etc.

From 1980 he also played in duo as "Polyphonie Zurich" with the guitarist Stephan Wittwer and as "TV Totem" with the drummer Knut Remond (actual manager of "ohrenhoch" in Berlin).

From 1983, all tracks from the swiss project UnknownmiX (1) were produced on this Serge and the instrument was central in all live acts of the band (later on in 1985 an Oberheim Xpander was added to the set). To give you an idea, Ernst played over 250 concerts in all Europe with UnknownmiX!!! In 1990 he decided to leave UX, to concentrate on his studio work.

Because itís not always easy to reproduce the sound on Serge and even pretty unpredictable, he used it less and less for his studio works, unless he needed some special sound or effect.

The last time he used it on a recording was in 2013 on "MicroSono 13", made for the Spazio Soncino (VII Biennale die Soncino in Italy).

The Serge can also be heard on other diverse productions.

Ernst was for instance at Conny Plankís studio in 1985, where all electronic parts were produced on it for Gabi Delgadoís song "Mistress" (2). It also can be heard in the soundtrack of the movie "Der Rechte Weg" (3) from Fischli/Weiss.

(1) UnknownmiX: we can hear the Serge very well on their debut album from 1984.
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=vvidgJuHzNw

And on the following ones as well.

1985:
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=gd2yg8y2vNU

1987:
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=yuhpO4XIxt8
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=0knCOAYZ6Hk

(2) Gabi Delgado "Mistress": https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=k-lfJSxh_PE

(3) "Der Rechte Weg": https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=KifP3BGYYwc

Details about this system:

Some stickers on the boards have also initials which say JF, which means that Jill Fraser populated and tested these boards in 1978!

    Panel 1
  • 2 x New Timbral Oscillator - 8/78 - 9/78
  • 2 x Precision VCO - 9/78
  • 1 x Extended Range VCF - 8/78
  • 1 x Variable Slope VCF - 3/78
  • 1 x Variable Bandwidth Filter - 9/78
    Panel 2
  • 1 x Touch Activated Keyboard Sequencer
    Panel 3
  • 1 x Wave Multipliers - JF 8/78
  • 1 x Dual Processor - JF 8/78
  • 1 x Dual Random Generator
  • 1 x Looks more like proto board - JF 9/78
  • 1 x Serge board 2565PS - no date
  • 1 x Noise Source - JF 9/78
  • 1 x Trigger Sequencer - JF 8/78
  • 1 x Triple Bi Directional Router - JF 8/78
  • 1 x Triple Comparator - JF 9/78
  • 1 x C/M (Dual Attenuator / Trig Switch)
  • Passive - No boards
    Panel 4
  • 2 x Dual Universal Slope Generators - 8/78 - 9/78
  • 1 x Dual Transient Generator - 9/78
  • 1 x Smooth and Stepped Function - 9/78
  • 1 x Keyboard Envelope Generator - 9/23 <<< ?!
  • 1 x Dual Analog Shift Register - 8/78 - 8/78
    Panel 5
  • 1 x Voltage Control Stereo Mixer
  • 2 x VCA 101-A - JF 8/78
  • 2 x PAN 102-B - JF 8/78
  • 1 x Universal Equal Power Audio Processor
  • 1 x VCA 101-A - JF 8/78
  • 1 x PAN 102-B - JF 8/78
  • 1 x Audio Mixer - JF 8/78
  • 2 x Ring Modulator - JF 8/78
  • 2 x VCA - JF 8/78
  • 1 x Dual Phaser
  • 1 x Looks more like proto board - JF 5/78
  • 1 x Serge board 2565PS - no date

Here you can see it in action in a few patches I did recently:
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ntmCBEiFJxU
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=d55GQpHPbgE
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=85L744rneY0

All Pictures Copyright Batchas 2016. Used with permission.

 


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