FARFISA organ (1965-1972) – The ‘Farfisa’ is a two-manual organ console. In comparison to the more popular Hammond organ (see below), the Farfisa produces a more ‘classic’ organ sound. Wright included a Binson Echorec device for echo as part of his combo and managed to produce many unusual sounds out of it, by experimenting with the Echorec and the organ’s tone and pan settings. The Farfisa was Wright's main keyboard in the early years, when he was playing with Waters, Mason, Barrett, Klose et al. as Sigma 6, The (Screaming…, Architectural…, etc.) Abdabs, T-Set, the Pink Floyd Sound, etc. and was used almost exclusively up until The Piper At The Gates Of Dawn in 1967. Between 1967-72, the Farfisa organ played a crucial role in Floyd’s sound and was used for many of Rick’s leads, which he often panned around the auditorium using a special joystick (an ‘azimuth co-ordinator’ pot) stacked on top of the Echorec unit. Wright used the Farfisa for virtually every solo up until that point, e.g. “The Embryo”, “Fat Old Sun”, “Cymbaline”. He can be seen playing one in Live at Pompeii (1972) and in the studio it was last used for Dark Side (1973). On stage, Floyd kept touring with a Farfisa as part of their equipment while they were still performing live their pre-Dark Side set (e.g. “Careful with that axe, Eugene”, “Echoes” and “Set the Controls for the Heart of the Sun”). This organ’s sound has been strongly associated with certain tracks. In the last ever live performance of “Careful with that axe, Eugene” (in 5 May 1977) the absence of the Farfisa sound was clearly heard. Wright employed his Hammond (see below) and his array of MiniMoog synthesizers (see SYNTHESIZERS section) to play that rendition and the synth sound was somewhat alien to the piece. The organ in the intro of “Time” is the last time the Farfisa was featured in a Floyd recording.more
Michael Riesman (longtime Philip Glass Ensemble Musical Director) says "When I joined, the keyboards consisted of 3 Farfisa Mini-Compact organs. That was it. Over the years of my involvement, the Ensemble went through a series of migrations to new hardware. The first was the replacement of one of the Farfisas by a Yamaha YC45-D dual manual electric organ, a wonderful machine with touch sensitivity and adjustable percussive attack." Also in Philip Glass' book, Words Without Music, Philip goes into detail about finding Farfisas in classified sections and the like, "I picked up three Farfisa electric organs for two hundred dollars each from the Buy-Lines. This kind of used keyboard was easy to come by. Usually a few weeks after Christmas they could be found for sale. I always found them, without exception, in a knotty-pine paneled basement in Queens."more
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