Fairlight CMI - Adoption


The first buyers of the new system were Peter Gabriel, Richard James Burgess of Landscape (who demonstrated it to many British musicians and on BBC TV's Tomorrow's World), Iva Davies of Icehouse, Thomas Dolby, Kate Bush, In the US, Jackson demonstrated the Series I sampler for a year before selling units to Herbie Hancock and Stevie Wonder in 1980 for US$27,500 each. Meat-packing heir Geordie Hormel bought two for use at The Village Recorder in Los Angeles. Other early adopters included Todd Rundgren, Nick Rhodes of Duran Duran, producer Rhett Lawrence and Ned Liben of EBN-OZN. The first commercially released album to incorporate it was Kate Bush's Never for Ever (1980), programmed by Richard James Burgess and John L. Walters. Wonder took his Fairlight out on tour in 1980 in support of the album Stevie Wonder's Journey Through "The Secret Life of Plants" to replace the Computer Music Melodian sampler he had used on the recording. Geoff Downes of Yes conspicuously used a CMI with monitor on the band's 1980 tour to support the album Drama. Jean Michel Jarre used a Fairlight on Magnetic Fields (1981) and also made extensive use of it on his The Concerts in China (1982) and Zoolook (1984) albums. The 1982 movie Liquid Sky featured a soundtrack entirely performed on the Fairlight CMI.

Peter Gabriel's "Shock the Monkey" and its parent album Peter Gabriel (1982) also featured the CMI. In 1981, Austrian musicians Hubert Bognermayr and Harald Zuschrader started composing a whole symphony Erdenklang — Computerakustische Klangsinfonie. This work premiered live on stage, using five music computers, during the Ars Electronica festival in Linz, and was released on LP in 1982.

EBN-OZN's "AEIOU Sometimes Y" was the first American single recorded entirely on a Fairlight in 1981, released in 1983 by Elektra Records and Arista Records in London. The first American album recorded entirely via Fairlight was Feeling Cavalier by EBN-OZN (1984).

Producer Tony Mansfield used the instrument heavily on the B-52's album "Bouncing Off The Satellites". Whilst the band initially disliked the Fairlight, it ended up becoming useful. Guitarist Ricky Wilson died during the making of the album, and so the Fairlight was used to make up for the lack of guitar parts on the album.

Jan Hammer used the CMI to compose the original soundtrack of the 1980s TV drama Miami Vice.

The British new wave band The Art of Noise (AON) and producer Trevor Horn used the instrument extensively. In the mid-90's, AON member JJ Jeczalik would release a sample CD titled The Art of Sampling, which featured all of the unique CMI samples they had used throughout their career.

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