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Digital Subscriptions > MusicTech > Aug 17 > FIRST LIGHT

FIRST LIGHT

Fader is Benge’s third project to feature a renowned vocalist from the pioneering days of electronic music. Andy Jones catches up with the vintage synth master and Blancmange’s Neil Arthur to discuss their new project and Benge’s incredible synth grotto…
Much of Neil Arthur (left) and Benge’s collaboration as Fader was recorded a number of years ago in LA

Benge has one of the best studios we’ve come across, period. Buried in the depths of the Cornish countryside is a bunker’s worth of vintage gear, which almost resembles a super-villain’s 1960s secret hideaway – albeit a super villain who has a penchant for vintage modulars. Benge has (nearly) everything: a Moog Modular system, Roland System 100m, a rare ARP 2500 modular, a Yamaha CS-80, even a Seiko synth we’d never heard of (we thought they just did watches). There are racks of outboard, analogue keyboards, digital bargains, random pedals, computers, mementos, cables and a dog. A big dog.

Benge doesn’t just collect synths. He’s just completed a hat-trick of recordings with legendary vocalists, themselves no strangers to the technology he has gathered, perhaps even drawn in to his world because of it. First he recorded (and still does) with the Godfather of English synth music, John Foxx. With Wrangler – featured three years ago in MusicTech – Benge teamed up with Stephen Mallinder, the Cabaret Voltaire vocalist, and now it’s the turn of Blancmange frontman Neil Arthur to provide the voice – only this time it’s different.

Firstly, they didn’t meet during the recording of their album First Light – much of it was actually recorded years ago in Los Angeles. Secondly, none of the gear you see on the following pages was used – although we will talk about a lot of it as this is MusicTech, after all. And lastly, the two didn’t meet to talk about how the project should turn out – they let it evolve on its own…

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