It happened in 3016.
We two dudies, Frank and Uwe, rented an old “Arche” class spaceship to make our first tour to the outer planets. Before setting out we completed a short astronaut training course for the A-class. The ship was considered good-natured, robust and was largely automated. We were both synthesizer enthusiasts of the old school and there had recently been a revival of this instrumental genre triggered by the band ‘The Analogue Jesus Orchestra’. We were also fans of any and all space operas.
To cut a long story short, we shot into space and headed straight for Jupiter’s orbit. If we wanted to gain more speed then we had to drive further than the belt of Jupiter’s gravitational system. But just before the moon IO we lost control of the ship. The autopilot failed us and the Arche spun down towards IO and threatened to crash. But shortly before the impending disaster our ship was wrapped suddenly in some kind of ball, and instead of spiralling to our deaths we landed gently on the inhospitable surface of the moon. Peering out at this strange land, before us we saw volcanic activity in front of our eyes, hilly terrain, landscapes colored red and earthy brown, and we had a monstrous view of Jupiter’s imposing mass hanging in the sky above. How could such a thing happen? Was it all a dream, a vision, the end of the world, or perhaps the beginning of everything?
The explanation for our narrow escape soon revealed itself to us. Round-ish things approached that seemed to float in the air and change shape. We prepared ourselves for anything and everything, considering this quirky spectacle with humility and gratitude, of course mingled with intense curiosity. We closed ourselves into the corridor on our ship, we checked the external temperature and dressed ourselves in our space clothes. Time to get out of the boat! Lovely, bizarre, moving, rustling, smoky sounds reached our ears through our external microphones. We had never heard such things before. The floating alien shapes seemed to be trying to contact us. But how to communicate?
Shortly we came up with an idea – we had brought some of our favorite synths along, and now we took them out of the ship. We showed these alien beings the essence of our machines using an external battery and speaker. We let our good sounds sound. Immediately a communication arose, an understanding of what we are, what we were and what we will be. As it became clear there are some things that music cannot tell, we produced some pictures too. And by this time we were sure – this was not a dream. The alien lifeforms in turn produced their wondrous instruments, circuits, algorithms for us too. We photographed everything. We understood it all too little.
Finally they gestured to us to get back into our ship. As soon as we boarded we immediately spun into a whirlpool in the fabric of time and were pulled up into space. Our trusty ship picked up incredible speed and we were able to engage the autopilot on a course back to planet Earth. This extraordinary encounter had taken us too far, we had to go back and start work building these incredible sounding electronic instruments from the IO moon – so sweet, so pure, so powerful, with full deep dynamics.
But when we landed on the Earth we realised that we were 1000 years back in time! Of course when we told our story to the Earth people they did not believe us. Of course we invented everything, we’re spinning, stuck on a trip… So probably you don’t believe our story either. But we tell you: everything is true, and now we are on a mission. You have been invited to participate. It’s worth it.
Your buddies from IO-INSTRUMENTS
IO-Instruments was founded by two synthesizer enthusiasts Uwe George Giegler (Berlin) and Frank Kumm (Frankfurt / Main). For many years there has been a lively exchange of new phenomena and (re) constructions in this genre. While Frank took care of the IT department of a large bank internationally, Uwe was a producer and live-act in many countries and worked for MFB for 12 years. Both regularly held public performance sessions using all types of hardware equipment.
After the formation of numerous ideas and due to peculiarities of the existing equipment, the two decided at the beginning of 2017 to found their own company: IO Instruments was born! Concepts were experimentally implemented and specified using eurorack modules, first models were created, parts were ordered, tried out, contacts made, and logo and design studies carried out. In 2018, the time had come: various work spaces were set up and equipped. A provisional office was created in Uwe’s studio on the shore of Paul-Lincke Ufer, Berlin, and the first analogue and digital circuits were defined.
Dr. Nikolai Dichev (previously ACL) from Sofia, who is now an integral part of our team, started to develop many basic synthesizer sections. Throughout 2018 a whole line was called into being, some discarded, some postponed to make an appearance later. The product line will initially be concentrated on a dozen or so eurorack modules while stand-alone devices will follow in 2020. Own poti-, switch- and fader caps designs are created and commissioned.
The first prototype, the themisto VCO, first saw the light of day at the end of 2018. VCA, MIXER, RING MODULATOR, NOISE and FILTER modules are in progress. In addition, the physicist Riccardo Perris and software developer Sven Braun (developer of Zmors modular/app for the ipad and founder of SI GmbH) were brought into the team, and the Brazilian graphic artist Jorge Kuriki supports us with the design, while the website is built by Martin Sroka. Sissy Lohmeyer is doing the assembling, soldering and testing stuff, and takes care that we all have enough coffee to work properly 😉
Our first fairs are coming up (Superbooth 2019 – Berlin / Synthfest 2019 – Nantes / Soundmit 2019 – Torino) and we have found a new office in the beautiful Berlin Old Treptow neighborhood. The preamplifier DIA brings the Studio Edition to life. And our goal is to bring the audio quality of the 500 series into eurorack format. The second prototype, the themisto VCOs, can finally go into series, while the VCA Sinope and the 12x Mixer / Attenuator Sponde will be seen and heard in May.