Saturday night my friend Alex Keller, Austin sound artist, video game sound designer, and mobile sound engineer extraordinaire, and I made our way to the opening celebration of a new store in Austin, Switched On. Switched On is a Music Electronics shop that specializes in "providing repair, restoration, education, consultation and an array of vintage musical instruments".
The opening started at 7pm and we got their around 7:30 to check out the store and and hear Eric Archer play a set of his unique jam-style electronic music. The store was packed with people gawking at the array of vintage synths and drum machines lined up on the walls of the store. There were headphones available so folks could plug in and play around with the gear. I almost felt like I was in a synth museum as I wandered past the Mini-Moog, Korg Mono-Poly, Roland Juno Six, Rythm Ace drum machines, Farfisa organ, etc etc.
The party also extended to the Victory Grill across the street. Where they were serving up free beer and live electronic music from a handful of Austin electronic bands. We hung out there and caught some music and some beers and called it a night. I left the event thinking that Switched On was a cool concept but perhaps they have made too small of a niche for themselves. They seem to focus mostly on vintage synth gear and a smattering of boutique electronics from various local sources (Bleep Labs, 4MS Pedals). Most of the vintage gear, while extremely cool, is very pricey, difficult to maintain and appeals only to a small subset of people who create electronic music. Boutique gear is also very cool but again only appeals to a small niche. My thought is that in order for Switched On to survive they will have to look at also stocking new synths, controllers and (gasp) software. Regardless I wish them luck as I think the store is cool.
For more pictures of the event and the gear in the store, check out my Flickr Photo Stream.
- Until Next Time... Over N Out