The inaugural SYNTHPLEX Music Conference, held in Burbank on March 28 through 31, drew more than 2,500 electronic music enthusiasts. The confab included performances, lectures and, most importantly, hands-on time with instrument manufacturers — from marquee names like Roland and Elektron down to smaller, more boutique modular companies.
Among the highlights was a standing-room-only keynote delivered by composer Tom Holkenborg, aka “Junkie XL” (“Alita: Battle Angel,” “Mortal Engines”), an appearance by Thomas Dolby, who received the Golden Ear lifetime achievement award, and synth-master Harold Faltermeyer, who spoke of how “Axel F” came to life and his work on the forthcoming “Top Gun 2020” with Hans Zimmer. Also in attendance were Mark Isham, Michael Abels, MIDI inventor Dave Smith of Sequential, songwriter Shelly Peiken and “Coco” composer Germaine Franco.
In addition, SYNTHPLEX hosted a pop-up synth museum which allowed attendees to view the private collection of the conference’s founding partner Michael Lehmann Boddicker and even play some of the vintage instruments, like the Ondes Martenot.
According to organizers, attendees came from all over the world to take in more than 40 electronic music performances, 70 speakers and over 90 exhibitors at the LA Marriott Burbank Airport Hotel & Convention Center. Billed as the destination for “all things synthesizer,” the event provided a more intimate experience when compared to NAMM, which also takes place in Southern California in the winter. One attendee described SYNTHPLEX as “something special.”