OMNICHORD - info
Daniel Lanois has often used the Omnichord as an instrument in his recordings and productions.
It's a bit like an electronic autoharp in a way. You hold down a button for the overall key (they're laid out in the circle
of fifths), which plays the fundamental background sound, and you can use the strum plate to strike individual notes in the
chord sort of like strumming a guitar. The earliest Omnichords only allowed you to use the built-in sounds, which was fairly
limiting. Though you could program the strum plate to play a few different kinds of built-in sounds, with adjustable decay
and vibrato settings, etc., Lanois had his Omnichord modified to get different sounds and effects. The built-in sounds, while
poor imitations of real instruments, have a certain charm of their own. There's also a built-in "drum kit" that allows you
to set about ten different rhythms with a round knob for tempo. The image shown above is a picture of my Omnichord, which
I purchased in 1992 for about $300. This particular model has MIDI-out capabilities, so you can program the chords and strum
plate to play through a MIDI keyboard rather than being stuck with the Omnichord's limited sound set. It's a whole lot of
fun to play, and a very good instrument to experiment with (though, I haven't played with it nearly enough in the last few
years). If you listen closely, you'll hear the Omnichord on many of the records listed in the discography below.