Group: Super Admins
Joined: Dec. 1999
||Posted: Feb. 25 2013, 06:20
|Quote (Ugo @ Feb. 23 2013, 23:35)|
|Sleeve notes for HR credt Farfisa, Lowrey and Gemini organs, which, as far as I know, are all Hammond "derivatives". Why did Mike never go for the 'real thing'? Maybe he didn't like the sound of the Hammond?|
There are a lot of things wrapped up in that question...
I'm not sure it's helpful to look at these organs in terms of derivatives vs the 'real thing' - the means of sound generation in a Hammond versus those other types of organs is very, very different, so both the sound and the construction of the instruments is very different too.
The classic Hammonds are electromechanical - they use wheels that are spun by a motor in front of something like a guitar pickup. The Farfisa, Lowrey and Gemini are, by contrast, electronic, using oscillator circuits to generate their sounds.
An aspect of those that Mike used a lot on those early albums was their ability to generate square/pulse waves, creating the reedy and flutey sounds that help create the distinctive sound worlds of Tubular Bells and Hergest Ridge (by Ommadawn, it was already shifting in favour of string machines and synthesisers, but that's another topic! ).
Mike used a real tonewheel Hammond on Tubular Bells 2003 - an L122 - so I think we can deduce that at least the Mike of 2003 likes the sound of the Hammond and felt that it was what he really wanted to have on Tubular Bells (whether the Mike of 1972-3 really wanted a Hammond is more a matter for conjecture).
I think it's also telling that, when Mike talks about Tubular Bells, he says there were no synthesisers then, when in fact the likes of the Minimoog and EMS Synthi AKS had been offering analogue synthesis in a portable and accessible form for a number of years (not to mention the earlier modular synthesisers). While Mike's statement is clearly not a statement of historical fact - there were plenty of synthesisers available - it does reveal that the availability of instruments to Mike was probably quite limited. He probably didn't use a Hammond for the same reason he didn't use a Minimoog - because nobody offered him one to use.
That, to tie things up nicely, is why I mentioned the difference in construction at the beginning of the post...Hammond tonewheel organs are heavy! I know people who've literally given themselves hernias taking Hammonds to gigs - a B3 is just shy of 200kg. Moving one of those into the studio was most likely more than anyone was prepared to do for the virtually unknown Mike Oldfield. They also didn't really have all that much money at the time...so Mike made do with what was available!
Edit: In other words, what Holger said more concisely in less time than it took me to finally hit send on this post