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Pipe Dream


Looking like something straight out of the Star Wars cantina, the PIPE was developed by SOMA Laboratory in order to extend the traditional boundaries of singing.   

The founder of SOMA Laboratory Vlad Kreimer is not exactly a household name outside the music tech world but among the cognoscenti he is regarded as something of a guru.  He started out making high grade studio and audio equipment in his native Ukraine but, now based in Russia, he is combining an experimental innovative approach with the best technologies of the golden age of analogue synthesisers to create unusual and innovative musical equipment

Pipe Dream

Words by Jonathan Beckitt
3 weeks ago

Looking like something straight out of the Star Wars cantina, the PIPE was developed by SOMA Laboratory in order to extend the traditional boundaries of singing.   

The founder of SOMA Laboratory Vlad Kreimer is not exactly a household name outside the music tech world but among the cognoscenti he is regarded as something of a guru.  He started out making high grade studio and audio equipment in his native Ukraine but, now based in Russia, he is combining an experimental innovative approach with the best technologies of the golden age of analogue synthesisers to create unusual and innovative musical equipment.  

The PIPE turns your voice into a powerful FX soundscape synthesiser as well as offering unprecedented levels of vocal processing.

As explained by Vlad:

“I’m a composer of electronic music and I always wanted to use my voice, but I’m not a great singer. The biggest problem for me was trying to sing with lyrics. I can write either a text with good sense but it will not be poetic, or I can write a good melody for singing but then it’s hard to attach meaningful text to it. So instead, I began using my voice as a lead instrument or as a coloured sound cloud. Soon I realised that what I actually wanted was to sing like a synthesizer. But there were needed new sound possibilities for it.

The search started for a way to make this dream a reality, and this led me to design the vocal contact mic used in the PIPE. It was the decisive step in the development because this mic made possible the type of sonic explorations with my voice that I was looking for. Then I decided to add a dynamic FX processor, programmed specifically for processing signals from the mic”.

It was perhaps no surprise that German duo About Aphrodite would discover the PIPE and use it to great effect adding to their arsenal of electronic instruments.  And this month we bring you their second studio album ‘Future Memories’ featuring Jaime Moraga Vasques on drums, percussion and vocals alongside Gilda Razani on Theremin, soprano saxophone, PIPE, live electronics, and Hans Wanning on piano, synthesisers and live electronics.     

The PIPE in combination with the Theremin and vocal harmonies gives the music a rhythmic and textural complexity that is both haunting and uplifting.  It sounds truly magical.  Listen for yourselves!

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