I must admit, that even though I have been an active pianist for more than 10 years, I have always humbly accepted the weight and size of my transportation kits. There was always enough room on stage or the floor. When I started playing techno music in underground clubs, picnics, galleries etc. I started to realize that bringing an 88 key synthesizer with a whole set of additional instruments is impossible to fit in many DJ booths, especially when DJ's are playing there too and need the whole deck space for themselves. There is a smaller and lighter version of my Juno DS with 61 synth keys, weighing only 5,2kg (my current version of Juno DS weights 17kg). That was my target - to have the two Juno sisters under one roof.
Quite recently I started looking around those mini key synthesizers like Microkorg, Novation ...and then I bumped into Roland's JD-Xi. It is considered to be a decade late reply to ever popular Microkorg. Because it looks like a shining little "toy" and most demos were not so impressive (focused on EDM mostly) I never focused much on it. Never judge the book by it's cover. Just by accident, I found out, that this little beast has a four track sequencer - which basically means that you can play 4 sounds at one time - two digital sounds, one for drums and the fourth - an analog monophonic engine. Juno DS has 8, JD-Xi has only 4, but it weighs 2,2kg and has around 50cm length! Less carriage, less space but almost the same possibilities.
Here is a proof that good folks exist. I am still eager to get my Juno DS back into my studio, yet I have to earn for living somehow - so I still catch any gig I can. But with one monophonic synthesizer, it is ultra hard.
I asked many, but only two of my friends, Seban and Piotrek, lend me their synths - an SH-201 and tiny Volca FM. Both great, but I rode with SH-201, as it has a synth keybed with around 51 keys (Volca has only a simulation of the keyboard). The Volca FM is super sweet though.
I got the SH-201 on Thursday and spend 7 hours - from 6 pm till 1 am - making my own patches. I made a lot of pad sounds and synth sounds, with one crazy sub sound and one patch sounding as if it was played on a Moog. (Then straight to work at 8am next day on Friday and then immediately to play the gig at 8pm).
Because this Roland synthesizer is ugly and looks plastic, it has 4 vcos and wobbly parts, I was not convinced at all. But in the middle of the night, when extraterrestrial pads and glitches started coming out of my headphones, I felt in love. Pitty it does not have the octa track sequencer like Juno DS, then it would be a killer of all the deals for me.
Thank you Seban and thank you Piotrek for helping me out and trusting me with your personal synthesizers.