Piano Town

Modern keyboards have made an indelible mark on the history of songwriting. Analog synthesizers emerged right alongside early computers, and the two technologies will presumably be running buddies until the very end. While so much focus gets put on the guitar’s prominence in songwriting, the piano’s linear layout has always been the most fundamental writing tool, from Bach to the Brill Building. The ‘80s were when the synthesizer and sampler really took the music industry by storm. Artists like Kraftwerk and Devo pushed drum machines and samplers to the limit, while records by Prince and Michael Jackson made them household words. Over the past few decades, there’s been a litany of game-changing products that have shaped the music being made: Roger Linn’s LM-1 (the first drum machine to use digital samples of acoustic drums); Roland’s ubiquitous JUNO 60; Moog’s Model D (see our Minimoog Voyager review below); and Korg’s M1 (the first music workstation keyboard). Today, artists like Animal Collective have spearheaded a largely sample-based form of music. Experimentation and improvisation are their raison d’etre. In the following pages we look at six contemporary products from some of the most recognized manufacturers in the biz.

YAMAHA CP5
Stage Piano
LIST PRICE: $3,299.00
Read the review

ROLAND SP-404SX
Linear Wave Sampler
LIST PRICE: $465.00
Read the review

NORD ELECTRO 3
Performance Keyboard
LIST PRICE: $2,499.00
Read the review

MOOG MINIMOOG VOYAGER
Analog Synthesizer
LIST PRICE: $3,395.00
Read the review

KORG PA500
Arranger Keyboard
LIST PRICE: $1,899.00
Read the review

ALESIS MICRON SE
Analog Modeling Synthesizer
LIST PRICE: $699.00
Read the review

PLUS: PLAYER’S CORNER
Art Neville of The Meters
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