Monday, February 4, 2013

Strider Systems Inc. MicroSequencer "Designed for live performance" brochure, 1978

Strider Systems Inc. MicroSequencer "Designed for live performance" two-page folded brochure from 1978.

I think this is a first. In over four years of posting scans, I don't think I've ever posted a scan that wasn't mine - either through my personal collection, or given to me by some generous interviewee or reader. But I just couldn't resist with this one.

If you've been keeping up with my blog posts lately, you know I've been on a bit of a Strider Systems kick and while doing my research I managed to track down then co-owner and president Jim Christensen. During a follow-up email on the Microsequencer, he was generous enough to provide this scan of the original brochure and give me permission to post. Up until I saw this brochure, I've never stumbled across any other reference to the Microsequencer except the single ad I posted last week

The brochure provides a lot of new information about the functionality of the sequencer, but to me the most important reason for getting this brochure online is that photo. It really helps provide good reference to its size and functionality.

As the brochure states, the Microsequencer came bundled in a "compact case" that could "be placed beside or on top of your keyboards", with a slanted top "for easy operation of the controls". The digital display and the 1/8" mini-jacks further help to put its minute size in perspective.Small indeed.

I also love that front cover of the brochure. For two reasons.

The first is the alternate name for the Microsequencer - " µSEQ ". Using the "micro" symbol just adds to the hipness of this little device. And makes the name as compact as the sequencer itself.

The second reason I love that front cover is that HUGE logo. Ever since I first came across the Strider Systems logo, in the back of my mind I've always wondered something. And, quite frankly, I'm a little surprised no one else has commented or emailed me about it.

I'm talking about Lord of the Rings.

This logo is screaming "Seven stars and seven stones and one white tree". If you do a Google Image Search the resemblance is amazing. And then when you put that together with another LOTR reference - the name of the company: Strider Systems - I start going into full-on geek mode.

[Aside: It reminds me of another great literary reference from a keyboard ad. Yup - the Arthur C. Clarke quote from an E-mu advertisement that appeared in Keyboard Magazine back in 1982.  One of my favorite quotes of all time.]

I couldn't resist asking Jim if the company name was LOTR-influenced.
"Yes, it was intentional. Strider (Aragorn of Arathorn) was a big hero of Roy's [Jim's business partner]."
So then who designed the logo? 
"My younger sister (she was 24 at the time). 'Seven stars, seven stones and one white tree.'"

And it makes total sense.  Lord of the Rings was huge in the 70s. From Wikipedia:
"The Lord of the Rings has had a profound and wide-ranging impact on popular culture, beginning with its publication in the 1950s, but especially throughout the 1960s and 1970s, during which time young people embraced it as a countercultural saga. "Frodo Lives!" and "Gandalf for President" were two phrases popular among American Tolkien fans during this time."
Even the game Dungeons & Dragons threw in many of the races found in the books "as a marketing move to draw on the popularity the work enjoyed at the time" Gary Gygax was developing the game. And this led many games that were influenced by D&D to carry on these LOTR references into the games of today. How awesome is that.

But most importantly, music of the 70s was also influenced by LOTR. Led Zeppelin, Rush, Styx and Black Sabbath. And I'm sure there were more.

So, put it all together, and there is little chance that at some point in time a high-tech (*ahem* "geek") start-up synthesizer company wouldn't be influenced by LOTR.


I've said it before, and I'll say it again:

Talent borrows. Genius steals.

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