Remembering my Ensoniq ESQ-1 and early musical experiments

Technology and the Arts co-host Brian Kelley looks back at 25 years of professional synthesizer ownership…all the while playing nothing like a professional.

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BK_c1990_keybdrig001It dawned on me recently that this year (most likely, back in February) marked the 25th anniversary of my first purchase of a professional synthesizer…an Ensoniq ESQ-1 workstation (the image accompanying this post was taken around 1989 and includes the ESQ-1 and some later purchases: an Ensoniq Mirage sampling keyboard, a Roland U-20 synth, a Kawai Q-80 sequencer and an Alesis HR-16 drum machine).

The track below is a very rough recording of a song that was one of the first things I created using the sounds and sequencing capability of the ESQ-1…so the sound quality is poor and the song is pretty terrible. It just represents a trip down memory lane…when I thought music would be my life and I wanted to be the next Howard Jones.

By the way, I still have the ESQ-1 and all the other equipment, too…PLUS, an Alesis QS6.1 synth that I bought…

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Watch a rocket go from Virginia to the moon tonight*

BK's Blog

The inaugural launch of a Minotaur V rocket is scheduled for tonight at 11:27 p.m. EDT. The rocket will lift off from the Mid-Atlantic Regional Spaceport at NASA’s Wallops Flight Facility on the Virginia coast and will carry the Lunar Atmosphere and Dust Environment Explorer (LADEE) mission to the moon.

The launch should be visible to many in the mid-Atlantic and northeast United States, including most of us here in New Jersey. Just look to the southeast 10-20 degrees above the horizon (central NJ should see it about 15 degrees above the horizon) one or two minutes after launch (obviously, there could be delays…or even a scrub for various reasons).

Detailed instructions on how to view the launch from your location

Follow @nasa_wallops on Twitter or follow the latest mission updates before you stake out your preferred viewing location.


(Photo: NASA Wallops/Patrick Black)



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BK's Blog

I grew up at the Jersey Shore and—admittedly—I’ve spent a good chunk of my adult life trying to leave it behind. But even though I never really thought of myself as a “shore person,” it was where I was raised…and it will always be a part of me. Seeing the devastation caused by Superstorm Sandy last week drove this point home to me—and I regret that it took something so horrible to make me see that.

Anyway, I felt a need to express some appreciation for the REAL Jersey Shore—not the manufactured crap produced by MTV—in song. Yeah, it kind of took on the form of a cliché-filled anthem, but that’s always been my Achilles’ heel as a songwriter…I start out with an interesting idea and immediately turn it into commercialized cheese. But I assure you, my heart was in the right place with this.

Then again, I guess when…

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Technology and the Arts co-host John LeMasney offers some personal insights as he embarks on wrapping up some unfinished business over at…