New York electronic rock outfit, LCD Soundsystem has one of the most loyal followings of any band active today.
Founded in 2002 by unlikely superhero James Murphy, the band began to gather momentum when their singles started charting in the UK.
With an artistic approach to sound and a humorous take on lyrics, LCD carved out a niche with lively primitive dance records “played with real instruments”, which was just what we all needed at the time.
The LCD Soundsystem Sound
While one could easily draw parallels with David Byrne and Talking Heads, LCD Soundsystem created their own timeless sonic identity by simply being themselves.
Although there definitely seems to be an attraction towards vintage analogue gear, it is only a small component of what makes up the LCD sound.
James approached the CS-60 in his own unique way, even synthesizing different drum hits and resampling them to create the rhythm tracks on songs like Get Innocuous!
The CS-80’s little bro is still an incredibly lush-sounding 8-voice polysynth with 1 VCO and a sub-osc per voice. Its scaled-down version of the ’70s polyphonic monster synth engine still sounds very similar, especially when layering multiple sounds in the mix.
If you’re after a modern version of the classic Yamaha sound, it doesn’t come much better than the Black Corporation Deckard´s Dream MKII desktop module. It may be pricy, but it’s still a fraction of the cost of the real thing.
- The History of Yamaha
Black Corporation Deckard´s Dream MKII
Like many DJ-turned-electronic musicians, James is a big fan of the Roland SH-101, especially live. When it comes to dancefloor-orientated music there are few synths that fit the framework so beautifully.
The simple synth engine can go from sweet-sounding to absolutely noxious in less than 3 seconds, and the sequencer adds a uniquely organic feel to your workflow.
As an alternative, the relatively recent Roland SH-4d can model the 101 sound closely and comes equipped with a 64-step pattern sequencer and a range of digital effects.
- The History of Roland
Sequential Circuits Prophet-600
The Prophet-600 is another synth you’ll find on LCD Soundsystem recordings and a darling of electronic musicians of many styles. It’s remarkably easy to use, and its 2-track sequencer widens the scope of creative possibilities.
The 6-voice polyphonic engine is quite simple, but it also has MIDI, which is great on a synth from 1982. From gliding leads and pads to warm pulsating drones in the background, the Prophet-600 never seems to disappoint in any area.
Behringer’s recent recreation, the Pro 800, is an 8-voice desktop module version of the Prophet 600 offering astounding value for the price.
- More from Sequential
The thunky drums from Losing My Edge come from the famous Simmons SDS-V drum synthesizer from 1981. Its somewhat primitive sound was all over many 1980s records, but never quite made the impact of the Linndrum.
The modular SDS-V drum brain works in conjunction with the unmistakable hexagonal drum pads, delivering a sonic experience similar to that of being walloped across the forehead with a large trout. Who said fish didn’t have feelings?
The Reel Machines ad-pak for Addictive Drums 2 has a flexible interface and incredibly authentic Simmons drum sounds, along with other classics like the 808, 909, DMX, and Linndrum.
- More about Simmons
XLN Audio AD 2 Reel Machines Download
Some musicians just have that one piece of kit that becomes like a part of their DNA. For James, it’s the Sennheiser MD409 dynamic microphone, which suits his voice and singing style perfectly.
A very rugged and robust mic, the MD409 also offers great resistance to handling noise. Although it may seem counter-intuitive, James actually prefers the sound of introducing high frequencies via EQ to using a brighter mic. Go figure.
If you too would like to take a different approach to lead vocals, the Sennheiser E609 is based on the 409 and doesn’t come with that vintage price tag.
- More from Sennheiser
Sennheiser E609 Silver
Which of your favourite artists would you like to see in our Sound-alike series? Please let us know in the comments below!
More about LCD Soundsystem:
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- Yamaha CS-60: Great Synthesizers
- Roland SH-101: SMEM
- Sequential Circuits Prophet 600: Prophet600 Facebook Page
- Simmons SDS-V: Sound Gas
- Sennheiser MD409: Mikrofunken