Jean-Michel Jarre Video: History of Samplers & Delays

Following on from his previous video about the history of electronic instruments, Jean-Michel Jarre has a new video talking about samplers and delay effects:

This coincides with the upcoming release of his new album, Electronica 2: The Heart of Noise.

It’s interesting to hear him talk about the evolution of sample-based music. In the beginning, he just had a tape recorder. Then digital sampling came along in the form of the Fairlight CMI. It revolutionised music, really, being able to sample any sound and then play it on a keyboard.┬áThis led him to record his album Zoolook, which is very sample-heavy. He went round the world recording many different people.

This was then followed by the E-mu Emulator in the early 80s, and then the Akai S1000 in the late 80s; and sampling has come on in leaps and bounds since then. But Jarre says he still uses the old sampling instruments like the Fairlight and the Emulator because their limitations are what give them their unique sound character.

Now we have many software samplers which can allow us to do many things with our sounds. Jarre says that electronic music is like cooking food. Instead of mixing together different spices and flavours, you are mixing together frequencies and sound textures; and the modern software is like an oven for sound.

But Jarre’s advice is to do your own sampling as much as you can, rather than relying on the vast sound libraries that often come with modern software. If you record your own sounds, they will have something unique about them which cannot be found in the samples that everyone else is using.

Jarre then goes on to talk about delay effects, and how he used them so much on his early albums. But he achieved this using tape-based delay effects, and over the years, he was never satisfied when he tried to use digital delay effects to achieve similar results. Then came along Replika by Native Instruments, which can give him the sense of width that he was looking for in his sounds.

The advantage of using plugins is that it gives you a lot of control over every step of the sound signal. You can easily change the order of effects in the chain, which is more difficult if you are using hardware effects units.

Anyway, what do you think? Why not let me know in the comments section below.

All the best,

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