You can hear an audio version of this blog, with music.
In his London apartment, Roger O’Donnell only has one keyboard, the Mini-Moog Voyager that he’s playing as we speak. For the last few years, the Voyager has been pretty much all he’s needed because it’s the sound of his first two solo albums.
But Roger O’Donnell is no bedroom synthesist. In his main home in Devon, he has a full studio and a bunch of keyboards. He collected several of them in ’80s and ’90s as a member of the Cure, co-writing many of their best known songs including all of the Disintegration album, which includes “Pictures of You,” “Fascination Street” and “Love Song.”
Roger O’Donnell: I think Disintegration, that whole album, I was responsible for crating that sound, that big lush orchestral ll of th string sounds were built up with several layers of instruments and I’m very proud of that record, the keyboards on it.
After 18 Years, Roger O’Donnell was unceremoniously fired from the band via e-mail in 2005. But he’d already started recording his first solo album, The Truth in Me. All the sounds on that CD were made with one instrument, the Moog Voyager. It’s the last synthesizer designed by Robert Moog, an update of his classic Mini-moog. For O’Donnell, the Voyager provided a return to an more intimate, hands on sound and music making with analog synthesizers.
ROGER O’DONNELL: When you come back to analog it’s just more pure and very real.
After contributing a track for the Robert Moog documentary, Moog just using the Voyager, he realized he could make an entire album this way.
Roger O’Donnell continues using the Voyager almost exclusively on Songs from the Silver Box, but he’s also brought in singers Erin Lang and Lenka. He worked with Lenka on a demo for her solo debut, but she wound up going in a different direction. So O’Donnell took the song, “In Your Hands Now,” for himself.
Roger O’Donnell’s Songs from the Silver Box, a delightful trip that touches an 80s synth pop sound with a modernist’s hand. This has been an Echo Location, Soundings for New Music.
On the broadcast of Echoes, we’ll be featuring a fuller interview with Roger O’Donnell on Monday, March 16 and it will be the Echoes Podcast that week.
John Diliberto (((echoes)))