An interactive synthesizer museum where you can book one-on-one time with a huge collection of vintage machines is opening in Melbourne.
MESS (Melbourne Electronic Sound Studio) is a not-for-profit organisation started by artists Robin Fox and Byron J Scullin. Their new North Melbourne studio has a workshop with "one of the most unique, eclectic and historically significant collections of electronic instruments in the world." It'll include a formidable range of Roland, Korg, EMS and Moog instruments, alongside rare machines such as the Transaudio LaTrobe custom. According to the MESS Facebook page, just three were made for the city's LaTrobe University in 1975, of which they have two.
“We want it to be like a museum, but one where you can use and touch everything,” Scullin told Broadsheet. “And also like a gym – come down and work out on a synth. If you leave these things locked away, they’re like a vintage car – if you don’t take it for a drive then the whole thing seizes up."
At least for now, the studio will be open only to members and their guests. There are 500 memberships available at $220 a year. Grab one and you can book a four-hour session with whatever you're feeling for $44. Only a third of the collection can be on display at once, so there will be a rotation every six months. Fox and Scullin hope international artists will be drawn to work with the instruments when in Melbourne and plan to open the studio for public masterclasses in the future.
“So many people nowadays make electronic music on their laptops at home,” Scullin continued. “But the thing about making music that way is there’s often not a lot of cross-pollination that happens organically. Get a bunch of people in a room like this and it’s a bit like bumping into people at the record store. We’re excited to see what collaborations and partnerships might come out of it.”
So are we.
For more information, the full collection of synths, drum machines and more, or to sign up as a MESS member, head here.
Scott Carbines is Mixmag's Australian Online News Editor, follow him on Twitter.