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Today we sat down with Hugh Hitchcock to chat about the Putney VCS 3, which is a vintage analog synth that features a joystick and some fairly funky sounds.
The Putney VCS 3 was created in 1969 by Peter Zinovieff’s Electronic Music Studios Limited (EMS), based out of London, England, and pioneered a lot of unique and awesome music gear.
Although it is relatively unknown these days, some people will instantly recognize the sound of the VCS 3, as it has been used on a number of big radio hits from the ’70’s, including The Who’s “Who’s Next” album, not to mention Curved Air’s song “Young Mother”. Other notable musicians and groups who have made use of the Putney VCS 3 include Brian Eno, Jean-Michel Jarre, King Crimson, Pink Floyd, The Alan Parson Project, and Hawkwind. In fact, the more you dig into its history, the more you realize that this list of fans, admirers, and artists who actually used it just keeps on going.
That said, on the whole, there aren’t a lot of musicians who have laid their hands on the Putney VCS 3 console, but Hugh Hitchcock is someone who has.
Hugh is a multi-instrumentalist and owner of Funkatology Records out of Miami, Florida. Hugh had the unique opportunity to use this synth in the 1970’s, when he was attending the Royal Conservatory of Music in Toronto at a young age. Hugh has tracked with this analog instrument, and he even managed to snag the user manual, which he still has and is quite familiar with.
Indeed, Hugh’s knowledge of the Putney VCS 3 and other analog synths is extensive. As such, we wanted to pick his brain on the topic of the Putney VCS 3, not to mention vintage analog synths in general.
Please enjoy our rambling one-hour interview with Hugh Hitchcock on along the lines of vintage synths like the Putney VCS 3 and other things!