Something has been bothering me for the last couple of days, and last night I finally decided to do something about it. Basically, the problem is this. My “trusty” Korg M1 keyboard hasn’t really earned the nickname, because I hardly ever use it and it never goes anywhere. I acquired it in August 1989 – which means that it is 14 years old! This wouldn’t normally bother me, after all, old keyboards eventually die and are replaced by more capable machines. But the M1 was the last synth my brother and I really tweaked and programmed new patches into, and some of them are completely vital to some of the music we wrote. A couple of these pieces of music have been “on the shelf” for several years, waiting for me to go back to them and polish them up.

Again, this wouldn’t normally be a problem. These days, when working on music projects on the computer, I tend to “print” an audio track of each instrument/voice, so that I don’t have to be concerned with coming back after a period of time and putting a lot of effort into reconstructing the particular patch used.

Well – some of the music that relies on the customised M1 patches doesn’t exist in multi-track audio format. In fact, when I went back through my backups, I realised that not only did I not have digital backups of the multi-track (I was recording to 1/4″ tape at the time, cut me some slack here), but I was going to have to restore the MIDI sequence data from some of the first CD-R discs I ever burned! Yes, these are gold CD-R discs made back in the dim dark ages when every second CD you made was a coaster. Although I verified I could read them at the time, I hadn’t actually tried to read data from these disks for 10 years.

So I was little nervous… anyway, it turned out there was no trouble reading them even after all this time, and I have started building a new multi-track project in Sonar – with separate audio tracks for the M1 patches, for future use.

The Korg M1 worked as well as ever. No sign of aging other than the cheezy piano sample.