Chris Lapsa on the EMS VCS3…

This is really a bit of history. It belonged to John Baker of the BBC Radiophonic Workshop and was used in countless numbers of old BBC productions including Dr.Who. It’s a classic old synth and the forerunner of the Synthi AKS which Pink Floyd used in “On The Run”, although it has different characteristics one being that it did not originally come with a keyboard and has the wonderfully playful joystick to mix effects and settings.

Sometimes known as The Cricklewood I played this on It Only Takes A Second. The idea of that track is to provide a shocking departure or interlude from the main melodic and lyrical theme of the album – mortality – the track is meant to jar the listeners ear with its chaotic vocals and bubbling, pounding volcanic synths, evoking the same emotions of shock, anxiety and panic when the realisation of our own mortality blasts to the surface for example, when a loved one dies, or we are in a serious accident, or any other truly shocking human happening. We are suddenly fully awake and aware of our feelings. The mirror of the track is imagining what actually occurs in the mind of someone in the final seconds before committing an act of true harm, the final splintering crack inside their minds.