In 1995 I was living in Japan, as part of my Japanese degree. I befriended a student from the English class I used to teach at, a lovely lady by the name of Masako Inoue. One day, after a lesson at her home, she said “Oh, I have something that maybe you can use” and produced a Roland SH-101 monosynth from her attic.

Scenes like this are the stuff of clich├ęd legend, but its true. Boxed, absolutely mint condition. She had bought it in the 80s, but totally misunderstood what it was for (in fact she thought it would make a sound like a piano), so just put it away. I felt like the luckiest person in the world. I remember getting back to the student halls of residence, plugging it in and having a night of no sleep as I got totally carried away jamming on this ultra-funky little machine.

It is well known as a fat little bassline synth. Wonderfully flexible though. I used this machine for pretty much everything on the AIR tour of 2007, and it stood the pace well. It was used for some Theremin-type lines on Champagne Dividend and various other sonic mayhem.

Muchas gracias again to Pete Hampson for his amazing technical skills keeping it going.