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Getting away from the "synthesiser" sound.

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Getting away from the "synthesiser" sound.

Postby Arpangel » Sat Feb 22, 2020 9:57 am

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=6KQ9se5PHQg

Thought this was worth watching, and I’m also interested in early electronic music, as the sounds aren’t so stereotyped or easily described or pigeon holed, there is a mystery about them. The owner of this studio talks about this, and it’s very fascinating.
An inspiring video by Hainbach, also a very interesting guy.
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Re: Getting away from the "synthesiser" sound.

Postby The Elf » Sat Feb 22, 2020 11:32 am

Interesting.

This is why I coninue to apply weirdness to my music - start using the sound of comets to drive a granular synth, add a couple of guitar pedals, and it's amazing where it takes you! ;)
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Re: Getting away from the "synthesiser" sound.

Postby Ben Asaro » Sun Feb 23, 2020 4:52 pm

I love Heinbach's content, it's frequently very interesting.

That studio looks amazing, but there is a definitely a whiff of elitism going on as well.
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Re: Getting away from the "synthesiser" sound.

Postby Ben Asaro » Sun Feb 23, 2020 5:00 pm

Arpangel wrote:https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=6KQ9se5PHQg

Thought this was worth watching, and I’m also interested in early electronic music, as the sounds aren’t so stereotyped or easily described or pigeon holed, there is a mystery about them.

I wonder if this isn't due to people these days being divorced from the actual sound-creation process, as well as 'conventional wisdom' which has now become set in, while maybe not stone, in very hard clay. Voice architecture, how many VCAs you require, has been discussed and distilled to a point where it's just easier to get X sound than spend ages developing/chasing new (or unique) sounds.

For me personally, I am more interested in what people are doing with the sounds they have than the sounds themselves. What Ligetti can write for a single piano and single pitch class can be far more interesting than some piece of test equipment making a drone which can arguably be played just as easily on something new. You might not get the exact sound (old electronics have their own thing going on) but for the sake of getting things done and out there? There's a saying, "it'll be better than good, it'll be done" which may apply here.
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Re: Getting away from the "synthesiser" sound.

Postby Martin Walker » Sun Feb 23, 2020 11:54 pm

Ben Asaro wrote:For me personally, I am more interested in what people are doing with the sounds they have than the sounds themselves. What Ligetti can write for a single piano and single pitch class can be far more interesting than some piece of test equipment making a drone which can arguably be played just as easily on something new.

Well said Ben! :clap:

I started watching the above video with great enthusiasm, but like you I also detected the whiff of elitism from the studio owner.

Mind you, Hainbach himself is a lovely talented guy (I already have some of his music output in my collection)


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Re: Getting away from the "synthesiser" sound.

Postby Arpangel » Mon Feb 24, 2020 8:09 am

Ben Asaro wrote:
Arpangel wrote:https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=6KQ9se5PHQg

Thought this was worth watching, and I’m also interested in early electronic music, as the sounds aren’t so stereotyped or easily described or pigeon holed, there is a mystery about them.
I wonder if this isn't due to people these days being divorced from the actual sound-creation process, as well as 'conventional wisdom' which has now become set in, while maybe not stone, in very hard clay. Voice architecture, how many VCAs you require, has been discussed and distilled to a point where it's just easier to get X sound than spend ages developing/chasing new (or unique) sounds.

For me personally, I am more interested in what people are doing with the sounds they have than the sounds themselves. What Ligetti can write for a single piano and single pitch class can be far more interesting than some piece of test equipment making a drone which can arguably be played just as easily on something new. You might not get the exact sound (old electronics have their own thing going on) but for the sake of getting things done and out there? There's a saying, "it'll be better than good, it'll be done" which may apply here.

It all comes down to getting your message across, and emotions, and surprisingly subtle, or not so subtle differences in sounds make no difference whatsoever in doing that, they don’t stop the postman from delivering his message.
However, as much as I find this video interesting, I’d never want to go down that route myself, it’s like taking a plane to New York and a boat back on the way to walking next door.
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Re: Getting away from the "synthesiser" sound.

Postby Ben Asaro » Mon Feb 24, 2020 3:42 pm

Arpangel wrote:I’d never want to go down that route myself, it’s like taking a plane to New York and a boat back on the way to walking next door.
Great analogy! :)
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Re: Getting away from the "synthesiser" sound.

Postby Arpangel » Tue Feb 25, 2020 11:19 am

Ben Asaro wrote:
Arpangel wrote:I’d never want to go down that route myself, it’s like taking a plane to New York and a boat back on the way to walking next door.
Great analogy! :)

I find there’s a trend going on these days for "how different I can be" it’s got nothing to do with making music, it’s all about elitism and being seen to be different, and also, rich, or also, trendily poor, like making music with rubbish etc.
That may sound a bit harsh, but the results speak for themselves, and I’m not hearing anything revolutionary in keeping with what’s being used, especially given it’s being produced in the context of what’s being made today, using today’s technology, so what’s the point? Fine if that’s what floats your boat, but I find it all a bit of a waste of time and effort, personally.
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Re: Getting away from the "synthesiser" sound.

Postby Ben Asaro » Tue Feb 25, 2020 1:55 pm

As someone that loves “synthesizer-y” sounds, and as a fan of subtractive synthesis, I admit that the test equipment thing eludes me. It looks boss as all get-out, though! Retro-elitism, and performative poverty, is definitely ‘in’ these days. I find it fascinating that Eurorack brought modular synths back in a compact, relatively affordable format, only to have the pendulum swing back. :P
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Re: Getting away from the "synthesiser" sound.

Postby Hugh Robjohns » Tue Feb 25, 2020 2:06 pm

Arpangel wrote:....so what’s the point? Fine if that’s what floats your boat, but I find it all a bit of a waste of time and effort, personally.

The point is that we all have different preferences and different tastes.

So what you might find boring, uninspiring, and a waste of time, someone else will undoubtedly find inspiring, exciting, stimulating and enjoyable.

And that's exactly as it should be. Dismissing things just because they don't appeal to you is not a great way of making friends or of gaining respect... :think:
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Re: Getting away from the "synthesiser" sound.

Postby desmond » Tue Feb 25, 2020 2:19 pm

I'm not into the modular thing either. Yes, you can technically *do* a lot with these things, but for *musical* purposes, the more complex the sound, the less you can do musically with it, and while it's possible to do a lot of complex but really subtle stuff, in reality the effort in doing that outweighs the musical return in general.

It seems to be the resurgence in popularity of the modular stuff is a mix up of the following factors (listed in no particular order):

- The hobbyist/playing with synthesizers thing as a way to have fun (as opposed to compose music)

- A collector/novelty factor - there's always a cool new, fairly inexpensive module to buy to make my system better

- Playing with synthesizers is a more fun, and less disciplined thing to do than actually composing and finishing music intentionally, which requires some effort (a "conscious ordering of noise")

- A natural rebellion of how the previous generation did it, where the "standard" way of working in music tech is with computers/DAWs. So the kids wear the badge of "DAWless!" as a badge of pride

- Because of this, the workflow has repeated to something similar to what we had to do before we had DAWs - lots of smaller, inexpensive boxes, wired up in different ways, maybe some cassette four track running to capture audio, and a focus more on "in the moment" stuff, without a lot of post-production polish afterwards

Now, I'm all for playing with synths if you enjoy it and that's what you want to do, but for me, even when I was a kid, my playing with sounds and making sounds was *all* in service of writing and recording music (and learning how to do so better), so noise-making as a purpose in itself just doesn't appeal to me too much, and neither does spending an afternoon configuring a complex system in one particular non-repeatable way to generate its own sounds/music for me.

I'm guess I'm an "old", now... :shock: :? :wave:

What's really important is to be engaged in what you're doing, however best works for you. As long as there is that, then I guess there's something worthwhile in spending the time doing it.
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Re: Getting away from the "synthesiser" sound.

Postby nathanscribe » Tue Feb 25, 2020 2:39 pm

Way back when I was first thinking about buying, rather than making, a modular, I was told that starting with 'regular' synth voicing was a waste of time, because "that's not what modular is about". Bah humbug. I decided to make my own, and I've done precisely that. Nothing fancy, just a monosynth which is configured exactly as I want it. I've been through a boatload of commercial monosynths and they've all been compromised in ways that are variously good and bad, but with a modular you can just put together a really nice combination of exactly what you want. Doesn't have to be half an acre of crazy generative blinkenlights, but each to their own.

I remember Dick Mills saying that when they worked with tape and test gear, they had a timing mistake in the Dr Who theme tune, and to find it they just stretched the tape out along the corridor and counted the splices till they found the one that was the wrong length.

I'll stick with my DAW, thanks :D .
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Re: Getting away from the "synthesiser" sound.

Postby FrankF » Tue Feb 25, 2020 2:47 pm

Who knew that the Fat Hairy Bikers spoke German?

Some of those exquisite insect-crackles and doom-booms reminded me of The Shout (John Hurt, with a little help from the Beeb),
and Quatermass and the Pit (The Beeb, with a little help from Nigel Kneale).
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Re: Getting away from the "synthesiser" sound.

Postby desmond » Tue Feb 25, 2020 2:50 pm

nathanscribe wrote:I decided to make my own, and I've done precisely that. Nothing fancy, just a monosynth which is configured exactly as I want it.

Ah, a rare sighting of that mythical beast many thought not to exist - the Restrained Modular User... :thumbup: :wave:
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Re: Getting away from the "synthesiser" sound.

Postby nathanscribe » Tue Feb 25, 2020 4:00 pm

desmond wrote:Ah, a rare sighting of that mythical beast many thought not to exist - the Restrained Modular User... :thumbup: :wave:

:lol:

Designing it all from scratch is helpful in that regard. Want a better sample & hold? Better clear your evenings... :headbang:
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