After seeing a lady using an OP-1 live in Kyoto (i think from the band Suzmenba) in December 2012, I bought one secondhand and took it travelling for a year (2013) down through Latin America.
I’d heard a bit about it previously – briefly had a go of a friend’s, thought it sound interesting but maybe a bit gimicky (but I only heard it through the internal speaker and besides which didn’t know how to use it!). Anyway, I was really impressed by the use of it as a performance instrument by this lady, alternating with a piano – interesting sounds and very delicately performed; I think she was using the accelerometer as a live LFO. So, suffering early on-set synthesizer withdrawal, I sought one out and bought one.
It is a really great travel keyboard – discrete, looks a bit like a toy, but has a very solid build and works like a full studio – sampling, synthesisers, drum machines, effects, eq, 4 track recorder, compression, able to record a ‘master’ and then dump the tracks and final recording as audio files over usb to a computer (or android phone, which is what I did for backup). I also got the ‘unit portables’ official case for it, which latched on nicely to my satchel when I wanted it to and kept it padded and safe in my backpack at other times.
The first song (‘Casa Lula’) I recorded a few days after acquisition (Mexico City, 30 Dec 2012), playing around with the sequencers and sampling the radio. I didn’t understand much spanish at the time, so I really had no idea that the radio presenters were talking about ‘One Direction’! It’s a bit of a cheesy fun mash up of sound.
The second song, ‘Possession‘, I finished 6 months later (Bogota, June 2013 ).
I recorded lots of ideas during those 6 months, but learning Spanish and doing tourist type things, I didn’t get much finished until we had extended stays in one place (June, July & August in Bogota and November & December in Buenos Aires).
There was a piano in the Airbnb apartment we were staying at in Mexico City (in La Condesa – beautiful suburb; Mexico City is such a wonderful place!), so I recorded some ideas using the OP-1 at the time (Jan 2013) and over months in buses and hotel rooms, toyed around with the ideas, before finishing the following 2 tracks using these piano recordings:
‘Sociaphobia‘ – singing recorded in the bathroom of our apartment in Bogota, June 2013; where I felt I was spending too much time!
My favourite track I recorded is ‘Great Ape‘ – except for my voice, but you have what you have.
I just made a music video for ‘Ghostlight’.
If you are thinking of buying an OP-1 for travelling – I heartily recommend it. Very useful, great potential for interesting sounds and potential as a performance instrument too. Feel free to ask any questions.