|This article relies too much on references to primary sources. (December 2006)|
|Founders||Peter Vogel, Kim Ryrie|
Fairlight is a digital audio company based in Sydney. In 1979 they created the Fairlight CMI, the first digital audio sampler, quickly used by artists such as Peter Gabriel, Kate Bush, and Jean Michel Jarre. They are now a manufacturer of media tools such as digital audio recording and mixing consoles. Fairlight became such a prominent part of 1980s pop music that Phil Collins included the text "there is no Fairlight on this record" on the sleeve of No Jacket Required.
New sounds could be created by drawing a 'sound wave' on the screen, which the computer would produce as sound. Theoretically, any sound was possible. Apart from opening up a world of new sounds, the Fairlight gave composers and performers instant playback. By changing the wave patterns presented on a screen they could tweak a sound into shape without singing or performing it all over again.
The versatility of the early Fairlight was not lost on recording artists. The first record made entirely on a computer in the United States was done by EBN-OZN (Ned Liben, who represented Fairlight in New York) and Robert Ozn) – "AEIOU Sometimes Y" made in 1981, released in 1983.
Their hybrid analogue/digital Computer Video Instrument, invented by Kia Silverbrook, debuted in 1984. The fact that the CVI was also a "computer" was transparent to its use: it did not use a conventional ASCII keyboard (though in later models one could be attached), but rather a set of sliders and a small graphics pad about the size of the palm of a hand. Menu selections were made with a stylus rather than a mouse. The CVI allowed you to paint directly over the top of video footage as well as "with" video footage via an extensive series of effects.
In April 1989, Fairlight ESP (Electric Sound and Picture) was established by Kim Ryrie, with the financial backing of Australian distributor Amber.
In August 2009, a new company called Fairlight Instruments was launched by Peter Vogel, with the objective of producing a new range of computer musical instruments (CMI) based on Fairlight.au's "Crystal Core" media engine.
In July 2012, the company Fairlight Instruments changed its name to Peter Vogel Instruments. Peter Vogel announced the company was developing a completely new keyboard synthesizer which would be launched at Winter NAMM 2013.
Xynergi – a tactile control unit that makes use of self-labeling LCD keys.
Fairlight CMI 30A – This is a new CMI which is not a product of Fairlight.au. It is being developed by Peter Vogel through his own company, Peter Vogel Instruments.
- Official website
- Company making the Fairlight CMI 30th Anniversary edition
- Fairlight Users Group
- FairlightUS North America
- Fairlight Europe
- Candor Chasma – The main French resource about the Fairlight CMI (English version available)
- Image of Xynergi based studio
- Mars Lasar worked for Fairlight while composing his own works
- Some of Peter Vogel's historical Fairlight images and music collection.
- Technical and historical infos: CMI hardware + software (site by K.M.I.)