> It’s hard to believe that the **ENSONIQ MIRAGE** sampler-keyboard was once the mainstay of our song-writing process. Released in 1984 for just under $2000, it was considered the first practical and affordable sampler. I bought mine used for $150. A bunch of disgustingly dirty floppy disks of orchestra hits and classical percussion sounds bound with a rubber band were included in the deal. Supposedly the MIRAGE was revolutionary in its day for its many features and envelopes that allowed the inventive musician to customize her sounds, but to us these features were so obscured by technical language that our results were generally accidental. The initial Le Tigre sampling strategy involved lifting a couple of bars of music from a record and pitching it way up or way down (Deceptacon, Hot Topic, Slide Show, Phanta, My My Metrocard etc). We used the maximum sampling time on the MIRAGE to make super low resolution (8 bit) samples that sounded scratchy, warped, underwater. We would then try to manually trigger the sample in time with a beat. It was an abject approach to electronic music, all about the aesthetics of impending disaster (i.e. our “one step behind the drum style”). We were insane to take the MIRAGE on tour (it is so fucking heavy!),loading floppy disks between every song and playing it through a guitar amp, but magically, it never broke (although we can't say the same for the guitar amp).more
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