Some beats & musings on the OP-1

When I first purchased the OP-1 a few years ago, I felt that instant, almost intangible connection to the instrument. It immediately became my “desert island synth” and the one piece of gear I’ll never part with, regardless of any unforeseen financial woes (I’d sooner sell a kidney). However, adult life and shiny new toys can easily command one’s attention, and for the better part of the last year, the OP-1’s been on an extended stay in the closet.


About two weeks ago, I decided to dust her off and rekindle the flame. Perhaps naively, I expected to pick right up where we left off and the floodgates of creativity to burst wide open as soon as the TE logo flashed on the OLED screen. But behind those flood gates was a dry, rocky road. I wasn’t inspired. I hated everything I made. I scrolled endlessly through every preset with the same “meh” reaction. Admittedly, I briefly considered the cynical perspectives of the OP-1 internet critics: maybe it is just an expensive toy. Shameful, I know.

Eventually, I came to my senses. I realized the problem was with me, not the OP-1. I wanted the OP-1 to behave like every other synth, sampler, or groovebox, but she’s a free spirit and wouldn’t comply. And that’s the beauty of the relationship: it’s not one-sided. All of my other hardware are machine slaves engineered to do my perfectly quantized bidding, but the OP-1 challenges me to think outside the box and flex my creative muscle. Making music with the OP-1 feels more like a collaboration.

We’re still working out the wrinkles, but the spark is definitely back. OP-1 sessions are full of spontaneous creation, sloppily-timed finger drumming, random radio sampling, mistakes recorded to tape that I “made work”, and - most importantly - joy. If you aren’t having fun with the OP-1, you’re going to hit a wall.

I hope this is helpful for anyone feeling writer’s block with the OP-1. Sorry for the long-winded post, and some of the weird metaphors (I promise I don’t have sex with my OP-1). Here are some snippets from my first tape with the OP-1 in over a year:

https://youtu.be/FtDzu5gmbas





1 Like

Great post and welcome back from the OP1 abyss! And really dig the beat tape (and visuals too).

Great post and welcome back from the OP1 abyss! And really dig the beat tape (and visuals too).

Appreciate it my dude

Very entertaining explanation of your revealing relationship to the OP-1! Cannot listen to the Beattape right now tho… later then.

Absolutely love this post.
Quote…
" she’s a free spirit and wouldn’t comply. And that’s the beauty of the relationship: it’s not one-sided. All of my other hardware are machine slaves engineered to do my perfectly quantized bidding, but the OP-1 challenges me to think outside the box and flex my creative muscle."

I found this as the perfect op1 metaphor.
But then I clicked on your video.
Excellent stuff!
The videos overlade really worked aswell.

1 Like
Absolutely love this post. Quote.. " she's a free spirit and wouldn't comply. And that's the beauty of the relationship: it's not one-sided. All of my other hardware are machine slaves engineered to do my perfectly quantized bidding, but the OP-1 challenges me to think outside the box and flex my creative muscle."

I found this as the perfect op1 metaphor.
But then I clicked on your video.
Excellent stuff!
The videos overlade really worked aswell.

Thanks, friend. I think it’s this aspect of the OP-1’s personality that causes people to both loathe and adore it. It’s not always the most effortless process for me, but I’m rewarded a kind of magic that can only happen on the OP-1.