The Sounds

The Fairlight is known for many things. Its iconic design, the revolutionary way it allowed users to compose music, being the first digital sampler and of course, its unique and unmistakeable sounds.

For the first time, users of the Fairlight could not only synthesize their own sounds but actually create new sonic textures from any sound source they desired. Soon, we were hearing emulations of other instruments, along with fascinating sounds that spawned from the most unmusical of places. Dustbin lids, smashed television sets and stones run along guttering were turned into rhythmic or chromatic timbres and made the music of the day sound like no other. Just like the other artistic forms of the 1980’s, sound was now breaking new barriers and the Fairlight was at the forefront of such artistic adventures.

Fairlight themselves saw the amazing sonic potential of their instrument and assembled their factory libraries with many wondrous sounds that inspired and infiltrated almost every aspect of music. From the latest pop chart sensations to film scores and pseudo-classical works, the Fairlight’s factory library was omnipresent.

And now, over 30 years later, the Fairlight Instruments CMI 30A brings back those libraries, in their original format, played back through the meticulously modelled digital and analogue characteristics of the original CMI Series so that, for the first time since those pearl white behemoths of the past, we can revel in their sonic glory once more.

From here, you can explore the history of some of the factory library’s more iconic sounds and discover not only how those sounds were created, but also who used them and where. We have also provided links so that you may go and purchase these works to fully appreciate the influence of the Fairlight factory library.

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