Monday, August 8, 2011

Electronic Dream Plant Ltd. Wasp "Invasion" ad, International Musician and Recording World 1979

Electronic Dream Plant Ltd. Wasp "Invasion" 1-page advertisement from page 95 in International Musician and Recording World January (UK) 1979.

The Wasp has always been on my synth bucket-list. Of course part of that check-off includes finding it at a garage sale for ten bucks. :D

Looking at this "Stand by for the wasp invasion" advertisement always puts a smile on my face. Even when it is August during one of the warmest, driest summers we've had around here in a while. For those not from around these parts - these conditions *always* start to bring out the real wasps when sitting on the deck of your favorite restaurant.

But that won't stop my smile because this is one of the earliest EDP Wasp ads - and one of the best. The image of the synth, with the wasps flying out of the speaker is fantastic. Even the artist's rendition of the simplified front panel with the knobs out of place doesn't bug me. Come to think of it, the casing also looks a lot fatter than Wasps I've seen photos of. There is always the possibility that this image was taken from a prototype (but then again, I like thinking all early ads that have synth photos are prototypes).

The ad-copy is simple, but provides a wack of historical reference information including price (199 pounds!), synth functionality, and even the original exclusive distributors for both the U.K and the Americas. Nice.

As far as I can tell, this ad looks to have only have appeared once in IMRW in that January 1979 (UK)/February 1979 (US) issue. Luckily for readers, and not too surprisingly, this issue also contained a "Synthcheck" review of the Wasp.

Written by Robin Lumley (described as a record producer, as well as a former keyboard player with Bowie, and who today has a fairly impressive Wikipedia page), the article isn't exactly written in what would be considered a normal review style. The opening paragraph of the two page review gives readers an idea of what they are in for:
"Once upon a time, there was a little boy called Adrian Wagner, and he lived in a little cottage in Oxfordshire. One day, in between writing vast and complex albums of synthesizer music, he decided to invent a new synthesizer, and after inventing it, he thought of a little company to manufacture it and sell it to all the boys and girls who liked playing synthesizers. He called the company The Electronic Dream Plant Ltd., and he called the synthesizer the Wasp. And here's where the fairy story ends, and the hardware begins because, dreamed up or not, the Wasp synth, designed and developed by Mr. Wagner, rock star of an Oxfordshire parish, represents a very important development in synthesizers indeed."
After making three more points during the next two painfully long paragraphs - it's cheap, its portable on-stage, and its portable off-stage - even Robin admits "This has been a strange review so far, in that I've been lavish with praise in a fairly abstract way without actually describing the nuts and bolts of the instrument".

Gah. But at least Robin then finally delves into the guts of the synth.

Like most reviews, near the end, Robin compares the synth to the Minimoog - "the overall sounds are a little thin" - but notes that its not really a fair comparison considering the difference in prices. And he finally ends the article with the obligatory "if you play keyboards, do go and buy and Wasp. You'll have fun".

Okay, he does tell one funny (and kinda horrific) story related to the Wasp that I just have to pass on:
"Well, I dropped a Wasp out of the fourth floor window of Trident studios into St. Anne's Court one night, without any damage at all to it, and we then, surprised at its survival, backed a Volvo over it. This caused a few knobs to bend, and one to break, but it still worked faultlessly".
Not really scientific, but full points for creativity.

Oh... rock stars...

1 comment:

Funky Home Finds said...

I find myself in an on-again/off-again relationship with vintage electronics, but one area that I never got into is the "vintage synthesizer" arena. But reading this great, yet rather uninformative, review got a spark started in me. I'll have to keep an eye out for this one...I hit plenty of garage sales, so I'll definitely be looking! Thanks for the great post!!

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