This site is dedicated to everyone interested in Serge Modular Music Synthesizers
 
HISTORICAL BITS AND PIECES

This is Kevin Braheny Fortune. Just saw this site for the first time. I was on the early design team of Serge Modular. I have also been the chief engineer at Sound Transform Systems headed by Rex Probe. I have updated many of the original modules. Now I only consult for him at times.

In 1977, '78 I built the highly customized "The Mighty Serge" a 15 panel system. (Recent photo attached.) I built a system for Craig Huxley that he then sold to Michael Stearns. I taught Michael how to play it.

The Mighty Serge

In 1975 I met Malcolm Cecil and worked with him on T.O.N.T.O. (The Original New Timbral Orchestra.) It is through Rex Probe that both Malcolm and I met Serge. I then started working with Serge as well, building the prototype of the NTO.

Gary Chang and I met at Serge's place in 1975 and became good friends and later partners in a studio in Santa Monica, CA in 1981 or '82. The first studio that I know of that used Fairlight CMI, 24trk, and Serge sync'd to video.

Some of the recordings (as Kevin Braheny) I've used it on are:
"Lullaby for the Hearts of Space" - a live album done entirely on "The Mighty Serge" in 1980.
(This album was originally released only on cassette. I am in the process of restoring the original live master tape. Will keep you informed when it is released on CD, or download.)
"The Way Home"
"Galaxies"
"Western Spaces"
"Secret Rooms"
"Desert Solitaire"
"Rain"
"The Spell"

Also many soundtracks and commercials, etc.

"Planetary Unfolding" was not done by me but Michael Stearns using patches he learned from me.

The Mighty Serge

Papoon was done entirely on the Mighty Serge, live. All the chords, etc., were gated randomly off of a steady clock so I wasn't even touching it. Actually, I was playing soprano sax over it at live gig. Didn't record that part. It felt like I had Weather Report as my back up band.

Gary Chang and I used to stay up all night sometimes and play the Buchla at Calarts.

I had built my first system at the same time as Gary. A modest 2 panel system. I wanted to play with it until I really knew how I wanted to use it. Then I built the Mighty Serge. I built so many custom circuits into it. Actually, every single module was customized. Those panel boxes are only 2" deep, black-anodized. There's a lof of wiring and electronics packed into them. I designed it so that the "bowl" of it conformed to the arc of the reach of my arm. I can touch the lower left corner and sweep my hand up to the upper right hand corner and it just perfectly grazes the panels. So that means that I never have to stretch my body or reach hard to do anything on it. The black middle sections have mults that enable me to patch from one side of the synth to the other without using a long unshielded patchcord. The mults have shielded cable behind them with connectors that I unplug when I move it. Beneath the points of the black sections are pins that pull out and I can separate the 3 bays, just like that. No muss no fuss. The middle of the black sections are various I/O's. One goes to my studio patchbay, another to a MIDI to CV controller, another to my prototype EWI. (I built four prototypes with Nyle Steiner, one of which is mine. He's working on a new self-contained MIDI version which I contributed to.)

I can also break The Mighty Serge down even further by unscrewing a few screws and the panels will lay flat. It was skillfully welded by Chas Smith who I met at Calarts through Gary. I traded my big Acoustic 270 amplifier and cabinet for it. He needed the amp for his new passion; the pedal steel guitar.

When I came up to Oakland from L.A. in '93, I got to go back over all of those modules and clean them up with Rex. Improving audio sections, grounding and shielding for example. Did some new graphics, too.

It was interesting to look at the photos of those systems in the gallery section. I know who all of those systems originally belonged to. I built a lot of them.

Keven Braheny Fortune