2022 HAS BEEN A YEAR OF SIGNIFICANT LANDMARKS, THE BEGINNING OF A NEW ERA FOR THE RHODES ELECTRIC PIANO. IT HAS BEEN A YEAR BRIMMING WITH FRESH CHALLENGES AS THE DREAM OF THE MK8 CAME SHARPLY INTO FOCUS.
Here is Rhodes’ review of a historic twelve months.
A SHOWCASE IN SOHO
January 2022 quickly kicked into life with the ‘Meet The MK8’ launch event at Ronnie Scott’s in Soho, London. The event was a ‘who’s who’ of London’s virtuoso players and saw off-the-cuff performances from artists such as Bill Laurance of Snarky Puppy, Omar Lye Fook and Incognito. Rhodes CPO Dan Goldman also provided an in-depth demo of the MK8 preamp’s vast capabilities to a wowed audience. Watch the whole show and subscribe to the Rhodes YouTube channel here
March 2022 played host to another flurry of Rhodes activity, as the 75th Anniversary ‘Win a MK8/75AE’ competition went viral across social media. We want to thank everyone who entered the competition and offered their admiration towards Axel Hartmann‘s stunning design. The MK8/75AE will start shipping in early 2023, and we are excited to witness the reaction to this historical instrument, celebrating 75 Years of Rhodes pianos. Check out the MK8/75AE here.
STEVIE AND HERBIE TEST DRIVE THE MK8
In May, the Rhodes team embarked for Berlin, Germany, to exhibit at Superbooth – a three-day showcase from the world’s elite synthesiser and keyboard brands. For Rhodes’ exhibit, we chose to celebrate the life and work of composer Angelo Badalamenti, basing the exhibit decor on ‘The Black Lodge’ from ‘Twin Peaks’. Angelo composed ‘Twin Peaks’ beautiful yet menacing theme on a battered Rhodes MK1 alongside director David Lynch. The stunning exhibit, nicknamed ‘The Rhodes Lodge’ sparked the imagination of Superbooth attendees, winning ‘Best Visual Reference’ in Music Radar’s Superbooth review. Sadly, as we learned of Angelo’s passing last week, the tribute to would prove timely. View the Sound on Sound MK8 demo from Superbooth here.
It was soon June, and there was little time to decompress on returning from Berlin as the Rhodes team again hit the road, this time boarding a transatlantic flight from LDN to LAX for ‘The Namm Show’ in Anaheim, California. The Namm Show was an undoubted triumph for the Rhodes team as the four MK8 pianos exhibited stole the show, marking their debut on US terra firma. Witnessing the joyous reactions of Rhodes aficionados playing the MK8 for the first time, not least from a certain Mr Stevie Wonder, was an undoubted ‘moment’ for the new era of Rhodes. Watch here.
Fast forward a fortnight, and another titan of the Rhodes electric piano – the legendary Herbie Hancock, was headlining London’s Barbican Center. Now in the sixth decade of a storied musical career, Herbie remains where he has always been: at the forefront of global culture and music. After Herbie warmly accepted Rhodes’ invitation to try the new MK8, Rhodes A&R Officer Jamie Bullock and CPO Dan Goldman took the journey to London to meet Herbie and catch up with their idol. The show itself was a revelation, showing there is simply no stopping this man.
JAMIE OLIVER COOKS UP SOME MK8 MAGIC
July was another surreal month, with another legend of his game gracing the MK8, yet this time the game wasn’t music. It transpired that celebrity chef and culinary genius Jamie Oliver purchased a MK8 piano and warmly invited Rhodes over to jam. We look forward to hearing the MK8 grace on the title music of Jamie’s next TV series. Watch here.
August saw the 75th Anniversary ‘Win a MK8/75AE’ competition draw to a close. The disbelieving winner was Jean Kapsa of Paris, France. A pianist of some fearsome repute, we look forward to hearing the magic Jean coaxes from this beautiful machine.
September was historic for Rhodes Music Group as the first pianos of the new era left the factory doors and made their way out into the world. With shipping of the MK8 Preamp Edition now well underway, early 2023 will see the start of the MK8-FX era. The flagship MK8-FX will be a true game-changer for the electric tine piano, its vast sonic capabilities ranging from ‘classic Rhodes’ to ‘intergalactic electro-mechanical monster synth’ and beyond.
‘ROBTOBER’ AND A NIGHT AT THE MERCURY’S
October saw Rhodes ambassador Robert Glasper take over The Big Apple as his 31-day ‘Robtober’ residency graced famed New York Jazz club, ‘The Blue Note’. Robert used the Rhodes MK8 every night during his extraordinary 52-show run, featuring on-stage collaborations with Yasiin Bey, Lalah Hathaway, Terrace Martin, Alex Isley, and many more.
Also that month, UK Mercury Prize nominated band Yard Act performed their hit single ‘100% Endurance’ at The Mercury Prize 2022 Awards Show, live on BBC Television. Yard Act producer Ali Chant joined the band on a custom ‘Gold Rover’ MK8 piano built especially for the event. Taking the classic route, Ali chose a Vox AC15 amplifier and an analogue spring reverb unit to add some lo-fi grit to his sound. Watch the performance here.
In November, the Rhodes 75th Anniversary MK8/75AE immediately sold out. The digital order book opened on September 15th, with the allocation selling out within ten minutes. Shortly after the launch, Rhodes allocated the final eight pianos to reverb.com, with all eight units also selling quickly.
So here we are; in the blink of an eyelid, it is December, and as we draw the curtain on an epic 2022, we hope you stay on board the Rhodes-a-coaster for a blockbuster 2023.
Never ones to rest on our laurels, Rhodes has a historic new product arriving in Jan 2023, one with which we would like YOU to be involved. Stay tuned for huge Rhodes news early in 2023.