Electronic musician and producer James Blake has paid a heartfelt tribute to Dave Smith, the legendary synth designer who died on 31 May.
Writing on Instagram, Blake - who was known for his heavy use of Smith’s instruments - said: “RIP to Dave Smith. Such a lovely man, complete genius and in my opinion even in 2022 was still making the best synths in the world. I’m shedding a few tears as I write this.
Blake went on to call Smith his “longest standing collaborator”, based on the fact that “about 99% of my songs involve one of his keyboards”.
He also acknowledged the key role that Smith played in the creation of MIDI, and his desire to keep pushing synth tech forward. He ended with a revealing story about how the Sequential Circuits founder once got him out of a technical hole when he was on stage.
“One time we were playing in San Francisco and my Prophet 08 went completely out of tune and none of us had any clue how to fix it (no manual to hand and I’m literally on stage between songs), and as luck would have it, Dave was in the audience. He ran from the back of the hall, pushed through the crowd, jumped on stage and calibrated the oscillators (which took a while as we all just stood there nervously hoping it would work), and I was able to finish the gig, and we all gave him a huge round of applause. What a fucking legend.
“Here’s to another, final round of applause for Dave Smith.”
Other musicians and those from the wider music technology world have also been paying tribute to Smith since news of his death broke. You can read a selection of them below.
RIP to the legend Dave Smith/ @sequentialLLC visionary creator of the Prophet 5 ❤️ pic.twitter.com/Nm5na53GowJune 2, 2022
Dave Smith made the best keyboards ever … that’s saying it lightly. Innovator of so much. Inspiration. Thank you Dave Smith. https://t.co/247rSB7cmVJune 2, 2022
A legend & an incredibly warm, friendly person. Would be nothing without what he created. I’m so sorry to hear this terrible news.June 2, 2022
RIP Dave Smith – iconic synth designer, music tech innovator, and one of the inventors of MIDI who laid the groundwork for much of what makes digital music making possible today. https://t.co/pOSlR0PQy0June 2, 2022
"I am really sad to hear Dave Smith, synth guru and designer of the Prophet V has left our analogue world."https://t.co/36N0AV0xpG pic.twitter.com/WnHZzaJGdVJune 2, 2022
Korg USA wishes to pay respects to the family, friends, and legions of fans of Dave Smith. We've lost a true pioneer and wonderful human being. From the roots of MIDI to Sequential, Dave leaves behind a legacy of innovations that have forever changed the way we create music. pic.twitter.com/2V3dqai5zNJune 3, 2022