Photo by Brad Meese
Chicago-based psych-rockers Umbra and the Volcan Siege have a new weapon in their musical arsenal. Bandleader and mellotron enthusiast Jim Licka reports that he has just received the new M4000 from Streetly Electronics, “the foremost experts in mellotron restorations, and the home of the all-new M4000.”
Licka, who also plays guitar and Moog synthesizer with Umbra and the Volcan Siege, placed his order for the M4000 in 2007 after visiting Streetly’s Staffordshire, England, headquarters and testing a prototype. An older model mellotron is featured on the most recent Umbra and the Volcan Siege EP, 2009’s The Beginning of the End.
The M4000 is the newest model of mellotron, an electro-mechanical, polyphonic keyboard that dates back to the early 1960s. Psychedelic and progressive rock bands used the mellotron extensively in the 60s and 70s and the instrument features on such classic albums as George Harrison’s Wonderwall Music, King Crimson’s In the Court of the Crimson King and Architecture & Morality by Orchestral Maneuvers in the Dark.
Licka purchased his first mellotron in Toronto several years ago and is proud to be among a select number of M4000 owners, including Sir Paul McCartney, Arcade Fire and Medeski Martin & Wood.