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My Version

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Never Growing Up
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Oddity 3

My Version of some things


I don't believe in an immutable truth because in my experience the truth is different things to different people. However, immutable facts do exist and that's what I'm interested in. In theory that might sound reasonable, but (a) it's not easy in this misinformation age, and (b) different people remember things differently. So while I'm often told that my memory is good, it may be that my take on certain things is not the same as others who were involved. That's why I call this 'My Version' and while I wholeheartedly advocate never letting the truth in the way of a good story, my version is verifiable and by default is as close to an immutable truth as you're likely to get.;-)


At school but obsessed with music. In my careers meeting I proudly announced that I wanted to do 'A Level Rock Musician' and amazingly I didn't get caned for such insolence (for the younger generation, in my day 'being caned ' equated to being beaten with a stick, a punishment that British schools embraced wholeheartedly up to about the early 80s)

During this time I learned to play two instruments, Piano and Drums. However, I was always obsessed with synthesisers, spending most of my Saturdays hanging in Rumbelows annoying the salesman with bullshit claims that I'd buy one if I could only play it for a bit longer. Amusingly, Gordon Reid later wrote about this in Sound On Sound as he too used to hang out in the same store and ended up owning the same Octave Cat I used to lie to the salesman about buying.

I was also obsessed with any records that used synthesisers, right from the early 70s with Stevie Wonder's Talking Book, Innervisions (thanks Karrie) and Fullfillingness First Finale, through a brief but compulsory interlude with Prog, then Herbie Hancock's Feets Don't Fail Me Now, and finally in 1979 when I walked into my A Level Music class clutching a copy of Gary Numan's Pleasure Principle announcing "The piano is dead!"

The teacher's retort was two-fold. "Can you play chords on a synthesiser? Is a synthesiser velocity dynamic?"

I didn't care, I just wanted one. But sadly, synths were expensive in the UK so I carried on hanging out in Rumbelows, Rose Morris, Biggles and any other store that would tolerate me. Then in 1980 my band started rehearsing at the studio of a well known prog rock drummer and I got my hands on instruments such the Wasp & CS80. Subsequently, every spare bit of cash I had was spent on renting and learning the latest polysynth.


After a lengthy period of time as drummer and keyboard player for a variety of bands (mostly with bass player and now bro-in-law Dale Davis), using my beloved Simmons SDS5, my Premier Acoustic kit and, when on keys duties, everything from a lowly SH1000 to the lusty Jupiter 8, I eventually realised I'd made more money from drum and keyboard programming (via studios such as Audiogenic, the aptly named Tone Deaf Studios and Martin Rushent's Genetic studios) than I'd ever made from playing drums and the next step was to open a commercial recording studio with old band guitarist (and wannabe Nile Rogers) Rick Greaves, called DFA.

DFA Studios originally stood for "Don't Fuck About" but after a distracting period of petty gangsta activity, hit records so minor they barely bruised, and a seedy vibe that surrounded the whole place, shortly after a bona fide gangster robbed it I decided it really stood for "Done Fuck All" and it was time to move on.


Rick and I had been in several funk bands over the years and he was one of the few musicians that I worked with via telepathy. and it was sad day when I said a final farewell to him years later after he lost his fight with cancer. 

In 1991 I landed a tour with Debbie Harry and on return decided to change everything in my life for the better and run away with Louise.

In 1992 Louise and I returned to the real-world whereupon I worked as a researcher on the 4th and 5th editions of the Keyfax Books. Essentially, buyers guides to every synth in existence, this was my introduction to the world of MI and lead to myself and the author forming Keyfax Software in 1993 to release the first Twiddly Bits volume - General Instruments.

This was an interesting and valid set of musical tools, consisting of MIDI recordings of top-flight musicians using the corresponding MIDI controllers (Bill Bruford, Steve Hackett etc) and from its start with a small ad in Sound on Sound, they soon became recognised across the globe with distribution in every major territory. After the opening of a USA office in Santa Cruz, California, I spent the next few years producing in the region of twenty titles most of which won key industry awards and have subsequently been used in many pro keyboards including the Yamaha Motif range and Ableton Live. They still are too.

In 1995 I was enlisted to help with the opening of the UK's first and only Museum Of Synthesiser Technology, inviting Bob Moog and all manner of musicians to the opening ceremony and acting as synth programmer and sound engineer for the opening event and subsequently released video. Other commercial video titles I worked on include the How To Get The Most Out Of Home Recording series but probably my biggest claim to fame was appearing in a Butchers dog food commercial as a newspaper boy (don't ask)

I also continued to work for artists and bands including Shakespeare's Sister, Steve Hackett, Thomas Dolby, Bill Bruford, Underworld and Elvis Costello (to name a few of the more interesting ones) in​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​ addition to working with almost every session player in the UK. Other sidelines included consultancy and development work for companies including Akai, Creative Labs, Yamaha, Novation, Beatnik, Emu Systems, Roland Japan and Generalmusic. I also kept my hand in as a video sound engineer, working on both location and post production projects as well as continuing to develop my own video projects.

After one Twiddly Bits Volume I designed (Programmer's Toolkit) around NRPN Templates did exceptionally well, a discussion took place which ultimately lead to the development of the Phat.Boy MIDI controller under the banner of Keyfax Hardware in 1998. While my old partner stakes claim to having the 'idea' for a box with knobs on, it was based (a) on the success of Programmer's Toolkit (b) via a telephone discussion with me and (c) the entire production was largely instigated, funded and subsequently managed by my now partner Chris Macleod. Many argue that "an idea is simply an idea until something is done with it" (see Iris below) and many claim that "the idea is everything". Whichever side of the fence you sit, the Phat Boy went on to win countless awards and was responsible for bringing controllers to the mainstream musical arena after years of frustrating 'wallpapering through letterboxes'​ ...and I still own serial number 00001 today.


It had to happen....and in 2000 after what could only be des​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​cribed as 'financial differences' of opinion between Chris, myself and our then partner, we split from Keyfax and we formed the music division of GMedia Technologies Plc.

Between us we devised the M-Tron, a virtual studio instrument based on the classic Mellotron keyboard using tapes provided by a number of Prog Rockers and an Oxford band whose name must never be spoke (but has the word 'radio' in it). Since its release, the M-Tron has won a host of industry awards and provided the fuel for other VST projects. Simultaneously, I also created the GForce range of Sample CDs, including the Platinum Award winning UK Garidge & 2 Step Grooves, Acoustic Swing and Shuffle Grooves, as well as the On The Rhodes and Trance and Epic House titles.

In 2001 Chris and I extracted ourselves from GMedia Technology Plc, due to 'artistic differences' with the corporate world, and set up a small independent company, GMediaMusic, using GForce as the brand for future releases.

We continued to manufacture the Phat.Boy and the M-Tron plus three additional M-Tron tapebank volumes, plus in cooperation with Ohm Force we developed the Oddity Synthesiser. Oddity is a highly accurate model of the classic ARP Odyssey synthesiser which over the ensuing years has won several industry awards and was acknowledged as a significant step in the evolution of virtual synthesis and analogue emulations. It was used as the main sequence in The Stereophonics' Dakota as well as countless other records.


"The Oddity is so authentic it takes me back to my Headhunter's days." - Herbie Hancock

December 2003 saw the release of the similarly lauded impOSCar, a plug-in emulation of the wonderful British OSCar synthesiser. This was almost two years in development and contains some of the most beautiful software filters to-date - so much so that they've been licensed to ace virtual instrument company Spectrasonics.


"It looks right and sounds right.

I was impressed with the attention to detail on all fronts." - Chris Hugget (OSCar designer)


We also instigated several collaborative software products created in conjunction with other independent companies such as OhmForce, Fxpansion and CodeAudio, while I also continued to work with a range of inspirational artists including Billy Currie, Rick Wakeman, Richard Barbieri and Herbie Hancock on a series of sounds specifically for Plug-In instruments. Sadly, the Herbie Hancock sounds for Oddity were never released publicly under their intended guise but read on and you'll find out that they resurface at some point in the future.

In January 2005 we released Minimonsta, again with co-conspirators OhmForce. The Minimonsta is effectively a Minimoog with roid-rage and once again this instrument set a new benchmark for analogue emulations. Together with the Melohman Key-Triggered Patch Morphing and the extra ADSRs and LFOs, the Minimonsta is more like a modular synth with live performance capabilities. Since its release, it has consistently beaten other Mini Emulations in head-to-head tests and we've also had mail from musicians claiming that it sounds better than their Minimoog Voyagers.


“There's simply nothing out there that comes close to this little beauty” - Rick Wakeman

Shortly after Minimonsta, a request from Kasabian to source them a Solina, prompted our journey into the entire String Ensemble genre. We were amazed to discover that over 100 string ensembles were produced and when this info coincided beautifully with Will Gregory using the Roland RS505 for the main riff on Goldfrapp's single, Number One, and the discovery that the String Ensemble was really invented by a Brit called Ken Freeman, the idea of collating these classic instruments was born.

The result was VSM, or as it was originally intended to be called, Analog Replica String Ensemble. Sadly though, our distributors at that time failed to see the humour in the name ARSE and so we were pressured into renaming it VSM. Featuring the Solina, Rhapsody, Freeman, Quartet, Opus III, String Melody and others, once again it set the standard for the copycat software products that inevitably followed.


"VSM is simply beautiful - detailed, accurate and very useful. All the classic instruments are here and this is Retro Repro at its best - informed, sensitive, detailed, technologically extended - and best of all - a new, very useful electronic instrument in its own right." - John Foxx


VSM was followed by the long awaited update to M-Tron, the M-Tron Pro. Over the years we'd accumulated more and more tapebanks and a lot of user requests so we figured we'd use the M-Tron Pro to step up to the mark and release something simple and yet complex enough for users to get their teeth into should they fancy. As with every previous instrument, M-Tron Pro won numerous awards and we became the only plug-in emulation company to maintain a record of 100% Platinum Awards in Future Music for our instruments.


"The M-Tron Pro is truly inspirational - I haven't felt this excited about a virtual instrument for a very long time" - David Hentschel (Genesis, Elton John)

M-Tron Pro spawned two add-on packs, based on the Optigan and the Chamberlin. Both of these were iconic instruments and in the case of the Optigan, I'd started work on this volume several years before, working in my spare time to produce a something where all the loops from all the genres sat at the same tempo and gave the user the opportunity to mix and match styles within the M-Tron Pro.

The Chamberlin pack was based on our magnificent Chamberlin M4 and our one-off MIDI M1 Remote. We'd immersed ourselves in the entire Chamberlin story and in doing so fallen in love with the pioneering spirit of inventors such as Harry Chamberlin and the Bradley Brothers. At around this time I decided to document the histories of some of our favourite instruments in video form and this lead to the Original Instrument Videos now available on our You Tube channel, GForceSoftwareTV, featuring the Chamberlin, the Oberheim 8 voice, Mellotron Minimoog, OSCar, Odyssey, Solina, Optigan, Roland Jupiter 8 etc

2011 saw big changes, firstly with a new GForce website and also the release of impOSCar2, taking an already lauded plug-in classic and turning it into a massive instrument of joy. Development of this, the website, and the help we gave to people developing a highly robust imp2 controller was immense and both Chris' and my health suffered as a result. However, impOSCar2 is such a wonderful instrument that I felt the price was almost worth it. The engineer, Jon, did a remarkable job and I like to think my patches contributed to it being given another Platinum Award and being listed in both Computer Music and Audio Review as one of the best synthesisers of 2012.


"It's difficult to believe ImpOSCar2 is a virtual synth. I salute those crazy scientists at Gforce.

Good work, boys, really good work." - Robert Bell (The Blue Nile)

Immediately after impOSCar2 and the website was finished I took time to contribute to the Bob Moog Tribute Library for Spectrasonics Omnisphere before Chris and I threw ourselves wholeheartedly into a venture with iZotope.

I'd been working on sound design for a couple of movies. One was for Peter Gabriel, Richard Evans and David Rhodes and where my brief was to create sounds that would confuse as to their synthetic or organic nature. For the majority of this work I'd use iZotope's RX software, isolating harmonics of specific sounds and then rendering them out to layer with other sounds and replay from within Logic's EXS24. This gave me an idea for a synth based on this spectral synthesis filtering and after several chats with iZotope they agreed to give it a try. We'd already worked together when Underworld's Rick Smith and I programmed the iDrum Underworld edition in 2009 and that process was simple and effective. Here, the process was more intense but, again, highly enjoyable. The result was Iris which was launched in 2012 to rapturous reception and once again, has gone on to become a multi award winning instrument. Shortly after its release, I was at an art exhibition where I was introduced to Brian Eno as 'the man who invented Iris" and then felt terminally guilty as he waxed lyrical about how great it is and how he loves much he bought it twice!

I tried pointing out that "an idea is simply an idea and the team behind this were the real stars" but I fear it fell on deaf (but golden) ears.

At this point I should say that while I may appear to be the front man for GForce, we are a team and my partner, Chris, is the one who's controlled the finances from day one. With Keyfax, my being a partner entailed that I took home about £50 a week for at least 60 hours work. However, since I've worked with Chris he's put a living wage in my bank every month for years without fail. We may not always see eye-to-eye but we know what each other is thinking, we have each other's backs and he is absolutely honest. The truth is that I couldn't function without him.

In 2012 we also released the third M-Tron Pro pack, entitled The Streetly Tapes Volume 1, containing sounds from the original Mellotron makers' master tapes. Chris engineered this entire deal and while I did the necessary editing and compiling for the add-on pack, then shot and edited the video entitled The Great British Tron Story, if it hadn't been for Chris picking up the phone one morning and making a call to Martin Smith, none of this would have happened. John Bradley and Martin Smith have proved themselves true friends and it was with this in mind we included them in our next product, Re-Tron.

Released in mid 2012, Re-Tron was one of the first ever third-party instruments for Reason's new Rack Extension format. It takes the most iconic tron sounds from the last 30 years and allows Reason users to integrate them seamlessly into their workflow. No more ReWire!

During 2012 & 2013 I worked with Karl Hyde to source suitable musicians for his solo album tour, Edgelands, at the same time as I was moving home. Later, I chuckled hugely to find my name was misspelled on the album credits, because, while I've contributed to many records under assumed names, this was the first time my own name had been misspelled by a good friend. Levity indeed.

2013 saw the release of 64-bit versions for all GForce instruments, Streetly Tapes Vol 2, OrchesTron Expansion Pack and the building of two studios with windows for both Chris and I.


The kit list grew ever longer and in my room I had a Dotcom System 88, EMS AKS, Andromeda, Simmons SDS5 & SDS7, ARP 2600 & Seq. M4000, Korg MS20, Korg 800DV, Yamaha CS-01, Yamaha CS30, Yamaha CS80 & CS60, SCI Pro One, Prophet 5, Prophet 10, Prophet 600, ARP Odyssey Mk1, MkII & III, Minimoog, Minitmoog, Sub 37, Moog 55, Polygamist, Solina String Synth, Hohner D6 Clavinet, Wurlitzer Electric Piano, Oberheim OB8, Oberheim 8 Voice, Octave CAT & Catstick, Roland VP330, Roland RS-505, Roland SH-101, Jupiter 8, Jupiter 6, ARP Pro DGX, EDP Gnat Special, EDP Wasp Deluxe, OSCar, Roland JD800, Roland TR-808, Simmons SDS5, 6 & 7 and an Eminent Orchestra


2014 saw the release of the VSM Expansion Pack which features sounds from many more classic string machines including the magnificent and super rare Yamaha GX-1, an instrument that we recorded over 8 years ago. It also saw the release of Oddity2, a massively expanded Oddity which we'd managed to quietly work on for approximately two years and as a result release ON SCHEDULE! 


Reviews included a 10/10 from Computer Music and the same from Music Technology Magazine. Later MusicTech voted it the best emulation of 2015. Oh... and here's a bit of inside info - those Herbie Hancock signature sounds that never saw light of day with original Oddity? Well, they're quietly included in Oddity2.


“Oddity2 really does take the original's sound into new dimensions. If ARP had carried on as a company, this is the synth it would have made now. 10/10” - Musictech Magazine


On the subject of quietly working on things, in 2014 I was approached by I Monster to make a "little film" to accompany an album they were making, itself dedicated to several electronic music pioneers. I immediately recalled several years ago when I'd removed the back of our Minimoog in order to take it to the NAMM show in LA so that Bob Moog would sign it. En route to the airport I realised I'd forgotten it and duly cursed. Chris attempted to placate me by saying "Don't worry. He'll be at Frankfurt" but he wasn't and that year we lost not only a pioneer but a gracious human spirit too. I was fortunate to meet him in the 90s at the opening of the Museum Of Synthesiser Technology and a lot of what we talked about still resonates today. So in 2014, with Chris' blessing, I decided to plough the bulk of my efforts for the next eighteen months into the making of Bright Sparks, the documentary. which has now been released for free


This was an amazing experience and something that the teenage me wouldn't have believed possible. Sitting in the home of luminary engineers and inventors such as Alan Pearlman and Peter Zinovieff and filming them recount their life stories was mind blowing. Later, after herculean amounts of work, finally getting endorsements from Vince Clarke, Brian Eno, Paul Hartnol and others, was the icing on the cake.


“Electronic Music has been around for long enough to deserve its own historians and archaeologists. Dave Spiers is right at the top of the list: this loving and exhaustive study sets a new standard in instrument research, unravelling the tangled webs that lead to innovations.” - Brian Eno


I hasten to add that the documentary would not have been possible were it not for a raft of people who graciously helped including Mark Vail, Michelle Moog-Koussa, Marc Doty, Dina Pearlman, Dean Honer and Jarrod Gosling - the list is huge but, as usual, special mention must go to Chris who encouraged me every step of the way and even persuaded me that he and I needed to get on a plane to Boston to film Alan Pearlman and Dennis Colin because "we may not get that opportunity again"


Bright Sparks is probably the most personally fulfilling project I've been involved with and if you want to learn more about the human stories behind the instruments that inspire us today go here

Finally in 2015 we somehow found time to collate and release the Streetly Tapes SFX Console for M-Tron Pro, containing those sound effects from days gone by and used on everything from Gerry Anderson shows to classic Saturday morning series such as Robinson Crusoe. And while we knew this was going to be a very niche product, almost immediately after release producer Bruce Woolley contacted me to say he'd used it on an MTV Awards show, in a new mix of Video Killed The Radio Star.

2016 saw plentiful projects, some of which have seen release, such as Vintage Synth Trumps 2, and some which haven't. And although I stopped writing tutorials,​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​ articles and reviews for UK's Computer Music, Future Music and the Japanese music magazine DTM several years ago, whenever possible, I still take time to contribute to a weekly podcast at alongside Goldfrapp contributor and ace host Nick Batt, Chic member Richard Hilton, ex Duran Duran programmer Mark Tinley, Howard Jones' right hand man, Robbie Bronnimann and other hugely knowledgable people. In August 2017 SonicTalk celebrated its 500th edition; 11 years after Nick called me and asked "Fancy, trying a weekly podcast? At worst it might be fun and at best if might have legs."  

In late 2016 Chris and I embarked on building a new studio in which we house our ever growing collection of synths and assorted vintage equipment. Rick Smith kindly loaned us Underworld's old Midas desk for the room, stating "You have no idea how happy that makes me, seeing our faithful baby in that room." To-date the studio has been used by a variety of artists and electronic musical instrument icons and companies ranging from Novation to members of FSOL. It also facilitated the completion of my own album 'Never Growing Up (63-79) full details of which can be found here

"Honest, heartbreaking, stonking, funky, spunky and beautiful." - The Battery Operated Orchestra

2017 continued to see us involved in a raft of projects, from RE-Strings Vintage String Machine Rack Extension for Reason, to Streetly Tapes Vol3 and Streetly Tapes M300 Leads Expansion packs for M-Tron Pro

In 2018 we released ChamberTron-RE, a Rack Extension dedicated to all those magnificent Chamberlin sounds, Streetly Tapes - Vol 4, and after providing a bank of patches for the magnificent Novation Peak synthesiser, I was asked to do the same for their flagship synth, Summit.


Announced at Superbooth in May 2019 in Sept 2019, Summit is what i consider to be the best British polysynth to-date and it was huge thrill to have the GForce Software Sound Bank included on the A Banks. Again, special thanks goes to GForce's Chris Macleod, Graeme Rawson and Paul Hurst for making sure we delivered 128 patches on deadline.

For those interested, Summit was mainly engineered by Chris Huggett, a good friend of mine and the engineer/inventor behind the Wasp, Gnat and OSCar synthesisers. Until Chris Huggett's sad and untimely demise we met for lunch as often as possible, together with our good friends Fred Gardner and Jeff Boult, who both helped hugely with Bright Sparks and originally recorded at Adrian Wagner and Chris Huggett's studio back in the day.


May 2019 also saw the release of M-Tron Pro V3, with an added flywheel brake function and an overhauled interface with multiple sizes. This was followed by VSM V3 which added multiple GUI sizes and an enhanced library with newly recorded stereo samples from the legendary Solina and magnificent RS-505. The latter also gave me the chance to add sounds from our beloved Oberheim 8-Voice and Yamaha CS-80.


Both the 8-Voice and the CS-80 remain firm favourites of mine and I’ve used the latter on the latest EP from Androgynous Amorphous, working with FSOL legend, Gaz Cobain in the process. This also features contributions by Paul Weller, Hugh Hopper & Peter Hammill, plus an orchestra and choir. The track entitled 'Synthony' is the one based on around those two instruments plus the Minimoog, MS-20 and Octave CAT


Contributing to Alex Ball’s fascinating and definitive ARP documentary, Electromotive, was an absolute pleasure. Alex came to the GForce Synth Studio to record the 2600, Axxe, Odyssey, String Synthesiser, Pro DGX and Omni, but unfortunately Alex melted his camera by accidentally placing it next to a light. As a result I volunteered to film Pro Soloist engineer, Jeremy Hill. Again, a fascinating experience. 


In Feb 2020, I finally found the time to release The Mighty CS-80, a tutorial on what makes the instrument magnificent. I’d been wanting to do this for years and ace CS-80 tech, Kent Spong helped enormously with what turned into an epic project. The final video comes in at just shy of one hour and thankfully was well received with a few commenting that it was a ‘love letter’ to the instrument.


April 2020 saw our 20th Anniversary. It also saw the world turned upside down and immediately after lockdown I wanted to immerse myself in a project that would ‘give something back’ to those who’d supported us throughout those years. Thanks to Jamie Lidell, I hit upon the idea of an Isolation Choir Library for M-Tron Pro. And with the generous contributions of luminaries including Matt Berry, Nate Williams, Jamie Lidell, Angie Pollock and many more, we created and released a truly emotive library that felt like an act of solidarity and defiance in the face of serious adversity.

"Nothing more powerful than voices uniting. 
I’m chuffed to be embedded in the machine for this moment. 
Onwards and upwards my man 

Thanks for all your hard work" Jamie Liddel


Another lockdown project I was asked to contribute to was Cabin Fever. The vision was all down to ace sound designer, Hans-Jorg Scheffler and consisted of over 60 musicians contributing parts in C at 100 BPM. The result is truly spectacular and a credit to both Hans’ vision and the generosity of spirit of some amazing musicians. Finally I can say I’ve played on the same track as Don Lewis and Jean-Philippe Rykiel.


In March 2021, we've released our epic project, OB-E. This is our love letter to the amazing Oberheim 8-Voice and (lack of PC version aside) the feedback from users has been amazing. Diplomacy prevents me from saying who the following words are from, but they're part of a private email from someone who really knows and understands the original instrument.

"Congratulations! The OB-E really does sound fantastic, and is a joy to use!

The presets provided show it off fabulously, and it is easy to get lost in them (in a good way!)

just playing through them all."

Feb 2022 saw us finally bring to fruition another project we’ve had simmering away for many years, M-Tron MkII. Anyone who knows their Mellys will understand that this is not an update to M-Tron Pro, and is a new instrument in its own right, essential for TV & Film composers, and anyone into music with a retro vibe... and/or prog. I started working on the master-tapes as long ago as 2016, restoring and re-tempo mapping the Streetly MkI, MkII and Chamberlin Archives. This was one a serious labour of love and I think the result is amazing. But don't take my word for it. Instead, here's Tony Visconti...

“I can’t begin to describe how wonderful this incarnation sounds.  It is the perfect Mellotron. The sound quality is astounding, breathtaking.  It’s like the first day a Mellotron was refitted with brand new tapes, bright, low noise and the motors don’t wobble.  But if you don’t like that sound, you can ‘corrupt’ it as much as you like with plenty of ‘warping’ parameters on board.  All the samples are perfectly in tune, but that’s not a problem.  Create your own version of wonky tuning if that’s your pleasure.  You can play all the instruments in half-speed mode, very trippy. All the sounds of all the dual manual Mellotrons are in here, pristine and ready to play.  Special FX such as very programmable reverb and slap-back, both in stereo, gives you the ability to make the MK II sound full-tilt maestoso.”

Feb 2022 also saw the release of OB-E version 2, where we could finally reveal our collaboration with synthesiser pioneer Tom Oberheim, plus the Tom Oberheim Bright Sparks chapter. Essentially, after release of OB-E Tom and another industry icon, Marcus Ryle approached us, having been impressed with our work. They had a few suggestions on how to make it more authentic and naturally we jumped at the opportunity to make OB-E the first software instrument ever to be endorsed by Tom. 

I'd wanted to include Tom in the original Bright Sparks documentary but at the time everything conspired against us. But during OB-E discussions we all agreed it would be the perfect opportunity to send a cameraman to his house while we dialled in via Zoom and asked questions. The raw footage was then shipped to the UK where our trusted friend Jeff Boult took care of editing duties, using his TV and Film experience to create a chapter that I think is superb. 

This was followed by the release of OB-E V2 which included Tom and Marcus' requests, plus, amongst other features (including the long awaited PC version), a drum mode and a delicious reverb. Feedback on both Bright Sparks and OB-E V2 has been amazing with many professionals stating that the later is the pinnacle of analogue modelling. 

Correspondence from Tom and his family regarding the Bright Sparks chapter has been truly heartening and over the course of the last year we've become firm friends, sharing a mutual interest in old cars and WWII aircraft. As I said to Tom the night before the release of OB-E "Thank you for everything. During the last year I've felt like we've been standing on the shoulders of giants."

Our SEM release was again endorsed by Tom Oberheim and at the recent LA Synthplex 2022, Marcus Ryle curated a pop-up Oberheim museum, featuring every product Tom had a hand in. To see our work alongside many of the iconic Oberheim instruments was a moment the teenage me would have thought impossible. 

SEM was followed by Oddity 3, an ARP Odyssey emulation on steroids and Minimonsta 2. Both have been very well received which is testament to the GForce Software team's superb attention to detail.

Finally, whenever possible, outside of my GForce Software duties, I still work with a few select bands and artists such as Ultravox and Underworld, the latter I've worked on and off with for over 20 years and who remain good friends - reinforced by the 20th Anniversary of Dubnobasswithmyheadman and a particularly emotional gig at Royal Festival Hall. 

Dave Spiers. Yamaha CS-80. Oberheim 8-Voice. OB-E
Dave Spiers. Yamaha CS-80. Oberheim 8-Voice. OB-E
Oberheim Pop-Up Museum
Chris Macleod & Dina Pearlman
Chris Macleod Chris Hugget
Tom Oberheim on the set of Bright Sparks
Chris Huggett, Wasp Synth, Gnat Synth, Dave Spiers
Dave Spiers Bob Moog
Dave Spiers Alan Pearlman
Dave Spiers Chris Macleod
Daniel Miller, Chis Macleod, Dave Spiers, Mute Records, EMS Synti 100
Karl Hyde, Dave Spiers
Dave Spiers Alan Pearlman
Michelle Moog-Koussa
Dave Spiers Synth Studio
Keyfax Days
Sonicstate 8-Voice demo
Rick Wakeman Dave Spiers
Wakeman & Dave Spiers
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