Pocket Operators by CHEAP MONDAY X TEENAGE ENGINEERING
Words by Bossman75
One of my first memories of a band using a synthesizer came from seeing Derry Brownson hammering his Kawai K1 II playing Unbelievable on The Word way back in 1990. At that time EMF were responsible for my taste in surf / skate clothing, my love of the OG red Fila Trailblazers and the desire to be a DJ or play keyboards in an electro-rock band. Sadly my spotty-faced, curtain-haired dream never came true. Fast forward some twenty five years and my desire to own a synthesizer is at least finally fulfilled.
Cheap Monday have introduced a line of micro synthesizers in collaboration with Stockholm based Teenage Engineering. This new line of musical instruments is called Pocket Operators and consists of three pocket sized synthesizers. There are three different models producing different kinds of sounds;
PO-12 / RHYTHM The RHYTHM is a drum machine with a 16 step sequencer with 16 different sounds which are a mix between synthesis and samples.
PO-14 / SUB The SUB is a bass line driven synthesiser. It’s got a 16 step sequencer with 16 sounds and 16 effects / playing styles.
PO-16 / FACTORY The FACTORY is a melody / lead-synth oriented machine with a 16 step sequencer, 16 sounds and 16 effects / playing styles.
This collaboration came about when Jesper Kouthoofd, Founder and Creative Director of Teenage Engineering, asked his long time friend and fellow Swede Ann-Sofie Back to create super limited lab coats for his staff. Cheap Monday took on the challenge and delivered a line of modern denim workwear and T’s for the Engineers. The partnership and collaboration was successful and the natural progression was to find a new route to work together and to bring something fresh and inspiring to both brands’ audiences.
“I think this can be the seed to a new movement, at least a new music genre. All thanks to the open minded team at Cheap Monday and Ann-Sofie Back”, Jesper Kouthoofd
Last week I was invited to attend a workshop at the Cheap Monday Carnaby Street store, and ever since have been trying to get my head around how to make the PO-12 Rhythm work. Tobias from Teenage Engineering made it look very simple, and there are manuals and guides aplenty online, but I’m still very much a novice. Fortunately the Pocket Operator can be used with personal headphones so there is no excuse not to carry around and use it. The only downside I see to the Pocket Operator is the very real (not really) danger of alienating friends and family, losing your job and ruining any relationship or marriage whilst you spend every spare minute trying to master it.
The capabilities of this extraordinary device, particularly when partnered with the other models, are remarkable and at the affordable price of an average Friday night out. The Pocket Operators are made for those with a keen interest in music and gadgets, but essentially anyone with opposable thumbs will find these entertaining. Whatever your intended use is for the pocket synthesizer, distraction, hobby, path to music superstardom, it’s going to have your creative synapses firing from the moment you pop in those triple A’s.
Alongside the Pocket Operators, Cheap Monday has created 3 special edition T-shirts featuring graphics from the lab-wear created for the Teenage Engineering team, you can get yours direct from Cheap Monday HERE.