Gearphoria Volume 7, Number 1

QUICK TAKE u Robert Walter’s 20th Congress 28 GEARPHORIA SEP/OCT 2018 Congress Is Back In Session Robert Walter & Co. reconvene for vintage sci-fi inspired Spacesuit THE CONCEPT for Robert Wal- ter ’s 20th Congress’ latest album Spacesuit was simple — music based around an old idea of what the future might be like. The future, to someone living in the 1950s and ‘60s, was often por- trayed as a gleaming metropolis filled with every indulgence: robot assistants, miracle medi- cines and flying cars. Of course we know that future turned out slightly different. Robots are around today, but far from being a household item. Miracle medicines are also around, but it seems so are more menacing diseases. And don’t even get me started on flying cars. For Walter, whose career to date has mostly been centered around his love for ‘60s and ‘70s-era jazz and funk, Spacesuit was an outlet for the memory of being a kid flipping through his dad’s record collection and reading cheap comics. “I was into progressive rock and what was being played on the ra- dio… new wave, all of that stuff,” explains Walter. “I was big into sci-fi and comic books. I liked all of those film scores from Blade Runner and Star Wars, of course. My dad also had a lot of German electronic records — Tangerine Dream, Klaus Schultz and all of that kind of stuff. That influence creeped in a little bit. I guess this album is a combination of both the music I have been playing for the last 25 years and that older memory, or a whisper of what I remember that memory to be from being a kid and being fascinated with what I thought was futuristic music, the use of synthesizers and stuff like that. I also thought it would be interesting to combine those kind of synth-y textures with a rhythm section that is referenc- ing New Orleans a little bit. It’s a juxtaposition of a couple of things that I hadn’t heard before.” Synthesizers are not new to Walter. He has used them previ- ously in his other band, Greyboy Allstars, but never to the degree he has on Spacesuit . However, his basic tracking rig remained his faithful vintage keys — Fender Rhodes, Hammond B3, Clavinet and acoustic piano. For the more futuristic sounds, he turned to a Dave Smith Instru- ments Prophet 6 and Mini Moog Model D… and a lot of software. “I made my own samples then I used some stuff from Hollow Sun, they make these really cool libraries of exotic instruments,” he says. “I also used stuff sampled off of records and some sound