The TX816 was, and still is, a behemoth of a synthesizer. Or rather, it's 8 synthesizers. Each TX816 has 8 independent slots of TF1 modules, which are essentially compact DX7 brains. Each module allows for 16-note polyphony (hence the 8 and 16 in TX816). Each voice uses 6 sinusoids which can be interconnected in 32 ways. This adds up to immense timbral and polyphonic capabilities.
In relation to the present project, I think this hardware works in several ways. First, the TX816 was released in 1984, making it a slightly older brother to Electric Counterpoint (composed 1987). Second, it unites two of my idols: John Chowning, father of the FM synthesizer and co-founder of CCRMA and its predecessor group at Stanford; and of course Steve Reich, whose revolutionary compositions have had such an impact on me.
Third, I think timbral exploration in this decidedly electric way will complement what I attempt to achieve with spatialization, while still leaving Reich's score entirely intact. (More on that in another post!)