Red Dog Music | Oct 9, 2018 | 0
Roland Aerophone AE10 – The Saxophone From Space
Where to start with a post about the Roland Aerophone AE10? It’s not easy, but our resident Roland expert has found a way to do just that…
Do you remember the first time you saw Star Wars? The iconic scene where “Han shot first” in that sketchy bar in Mos Eisley? Where the band are grooving away in the corner and creating one of the most recognisable earworms of all time? You know “ba ba, ba ba, ba ba ba…ba na na na, na na, naaaaa, na…etc? No? Well you should. Go watch it.
My point is that it was probably one the first times I was aware of a band in a film. I always knew I wanted to be in a band, but at the tender age of 7 years old, my ambition became clear. I wanted to be in a band from space!
First things first, I need one of those space Saxophones the the bulbous headed cantina band guys play. I searched the galaxy for such an instrument to no avail. I saw the odd wind controller but they just didn’t seem right. On my journey I got heavily into synths. I even took up trombone, but after 26 years it has finally arrived! Welcome, the Roland Aerophone!
This intergalactic instrument will be landing imminently and retails at a very reasonable 639 galactic credits, sorry pounds. Most importantly it sounds amazing! It’s repertoire goes far beyond the Cantina Theme. If Jean-Michelle Jarre and Wendy Carlos had a baby (in space) that was raised by Yoda and pals with Chewie and Kenny G, then this is the instrument they would have invented!
The Roland Aerophone Review – from our own ears!
So, down to business. What is an Aerophone? Well maybe it’s easier to start with what an Aerophone isn’t. It is not a Saxophone. It is not a clarinet nor is it a phaser rifle. It most certainly is not a “wind controller”. Wind controller makes it sound like some elaborate flatulence management system. It doesn’t really do it justice. The Aerophone is one of the most expressive electronic musical instruments I have ever witnessed. Last month I was lucky enough to travel over 2000 light years to a secret base where I saw the Aerophone played for the first time. What is it? It is the future of wind instruments! Redefined!
In case you hadn’t guessed by now, you blow through it to get a noise. The fingering is very similar to that of a Saxophone making it easy for many players to pick it up and get going. Most “Wind Controllers” have a different fingering layout which strikes me as a wee bit counter intuitive. Also unlike other electronic wind instruments, it is capable of detecting a wide range of expressive techniques that a saxophonist or clarinet player would find familiar.
When I heard the Soprano sax sound on it I closed my eyes and I could not believe it. There could have been a real sax there in front of me. Other woodwind sounds and even tones from other instruments resonated round the room. The incredible sound engine under the hood allows complete behavioural modelling, meaning it delivers the nuanced and expressive performance you’d expect from a beautiful acoustic instrument. Sounds on board include, Alto, Tenor, and Soprano sax, Tuba, Shatner’s Bassoon, Trumpet and even bagpipes!
Then…there was a pause…a change of pace…The Aerophone successfully made the jump to hyperspace!! It is a truly cosmic synthesiser!! Yes!!! Imagine a sax player. Imagine the initial attack of a note. Imagine how he or she holds a note. Picture with your ears what it sounds like loud and soft and how the sound reacts to different levels of air pressure. Imagine techniques like slurring, vibrato and flutter tonguing. Ok, keep that sonic picture there…then apply all that expression to a synth sound! Yes! Imagine the possibilities.
All of this is possible due to the advanced and unique breath and bite sensing technology inside. This is remarkably accurate and intuitive for a saxophone player but it also means that beginners can enjoy it too. There are some great features for practicing, including a headphone output for silent practice. After all, in Space, no one can hear you scream! Well, that is unless you use the handy built in speaker, perfect for intimate gigs in the Restaurant at the End of the Universe. Or, use the line outs so you can connect to a massive PA and shred a face melting (Han) Solo for the annual “Lando Fest” on Cloud City.
The AE10 also has a very handy USB for MIDI. Just like R2D2, the AE10 talks to computers very nicely and, via a DAW can communicate with external MIDI modules and synths. Welcome to the party, sax players! Now you can input MIDI notes, control synthesisers, trigger loops in Ableton, and do just about everything else keyboard players and producers take for granted. I’m particularly excited about the opportunities for sonic experimentation that this affords. For instance, I’d love to see someone make specific Reaktor instruments or design some totally barmy MAX for Live patches. Imagine the performances and productions you could create.
So there you go. The Roland AE10 Aerophone is an awe inspiring and amazing accomplishment for Roland. Once again, they have brought something truly original and expressive to the party. All I need to do now is learn to play it! I know a little green guy who lives in the Dagobah system who’s meant to be quite a good teacher. Has anyone got his number? In the meantime, as soon as we get an Roland Aerophone AE10 in, we will be posting videos and getting a professional sax player to review it, so watch this space!
Thanks for listening. May the force be with you!
Looking for a deal on a Roland AE10 Aerophone? Be sure to contact Red Dog Music!