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Factory Preset
    - Bob Fugett

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The First Ever Commercial Release of All Original PC MIDI Music

Fugett Sound : the music and of Bob Fugett


 Sugar Loaf, NY 10981


Updated Jan 21, 2016 | By Bob Fugett

    Factory Preset : Liner Notes : the story of Factory Preset


"Talking about music is like dancing about architecture.
It is just a really stupid thing to try and do."

  - Elvis Costello

It is the beginning of a revolution—an expansion of democracy.

In the late morning of a spring day a quarter century ago, the strong crisp mid-week light spills fresh and cool into the shadowed storefront. The walls are stacked floor to ceiling with the sought after guitars, drums, and music instruments of all kinds. They pile high above the glass cases full of small useful accessories. Some of the stock has been moved slightly aside in order to accommodate the ever encroaching (though still few) keyboards and early electronic music instruments.

Outside is the barely controlled chaos of New York City. The buildings are tall and close. The uproar of anarchy, with divergent paths of vehicles and pedestrians cascading all over one another, pulls the buildings even closer together and serves to accentuate the hubbub growing just inside the store’s front door. It is Manny’s Music on 48th Street and the center of the musical arts universe of the time.

A cop waves on yet another vehicle trying to park at the curb. There is always a cop just outside this door. The congestion of music stores on 48th Street draws musicians from all over the world, making it consistently one of the busiest spots in the city.

My gaze is pulled back inside to the excitement of bright young creative musicians holding court over the latest development. Everyone is focused on a never before seen box that is peppered with small square gray, black, white and blue buttons, then two rows of tiny oddly angular black knobs. Three large red LED’s are flashing.

It is the Voyetra 8. Somebody is saying, "Those are soft-keys. That means they don’t have a specific function, but they can be programmed to perform whatever."

Few knew what that meant then; but now, years later, it seems odd that the idea could have ever seemed so arcane and exotic.

The salesperson turned the box around and pointed to its back, "These connectors are for the proposed MIDI specification. They don’t do anything yet, but eventually you will be able to plug a computer into them for remote control. Maybe even to record performances!"

Ramifications of that simple statement were not lost on this crowd. The intensity of excitement ratcheted up a notch. I put my hands on the piano type keyboard that connected to the box via a mic cable and was astonished at the texture and expressiveness of the sounds. I bought it.

So Factory Preset had begun, but I did not know it yet. During the next several months I phoned the manufacturer once a week to ask, "Is the computer interface ready yet?" Always being told, "No not yet. Maybe next week."

Eventually I found myself sitting in a large open room surrounded by half assembled pieces of synthesizers and computer cardsscattered works in progresswhile being presented a MIDI interface pre-dating the MPU-401. There were only two of us there to receive this first look at what would be. Unfortunately, I never got the name of that other musician. We were both focused on absorbing what we were being shown. Then we briefly shook hands and spirited off our prizes to begin work with the powerful technology that these other excellent musicians had assembled for us.

Because I’d prepared an index of the user’s manual for the Voyetra 8 (gratis) in hopes of helping preserve worthwhile technology, I was soon called and asked if I would be interested in Beta testing their new PC based sequencer.

I jumped at the chance and used the opportunity to combine the Voyetra 8 and four other electronic instruments in my studio to produce Factory Preset.

Voyetra’s sequencer never crashed once during the ensuing six months of intensive 18 hour a day music production. Over the next several years I was always bemused as each of the world’s sequencer developers announced an amazing "new" function that always turned out to have already been included in that very first PC DOS Voyetra Sequencer then Sequencer Plus.

That software was fast, powerful, flexible, and reliable enough for me to put together the first ever commercial release of all original, all electronic music produced using a PC based MIDI sequencer.

I have always been surprised at the number and diversity of people who enjoyed the Factory Preset album, especially at the number of people who say they are still listening to it almost a quarter century later. In fact, I told someone in 1987 that there was some bad news, but also some good news, plus some even better news about my album.

The bad news was that it did not fit into any of the music store or radio station categories; the good news was that people were listening to it anyway; the better news was that in 10 years it was still not going to fit into any category, and people would still be listening to it. Sometimes I get lucky and predict things somewhat correctly.

This 2004 re-release of Factory Preset is done with thanks to all who have supported my music and asked for a CD version to replace their aging cassette tapes. It is dedicated to those who, like me, are addicted to tone.





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