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Why I Love... The Future

Jyoti Mishra By Jyoti Mishra
Published November 2021

Why I Love... The FuturePhoto: Tara Winstead

Isn't 'the future' meant to be all about user convenience?

One of the things that most irks me is when someone blithely says, “Oh, everything’s been done, there’s nothing new to discover.” This, from a member of a civilisation that still hasn’t established a colony on its moon, let alone another planet.

I’m pretty sure when the first two humans accidentally discovered vocal harmony, they patted themselves on the back and said, “Well, Glargh, that’s it. What else can there be after that? Pass the mammoth, please.”

It’s a twisted chrono‑hubris that assumes that we, us, here and now, just happen to live at the pinnacle of all human creativity. Everything’s been done? No it bloody hasn’t! Stop being lazy, get off your postmodern posterior and engage your brain.

So, to get you going, seeing as I appear to be playing Toffler in a sea of maudlin Baudrillards, here are some things I would like to see in The Future...

When I used to record on a Fostex X15, reverse delay and reverb were simple effects to create. You just flipped the tape over, bunged the effect on the source, recorded to a new track and then flipped the tape back the right way. Wind forward to DAWs and you would think that there’s a plug‑in that does that for you. But, dear reader, I have Googled ’til I’ve drooped and I haven’t found one. You can do it, but it’s a faff. Now, my genius is exceeded only by my laziness; as if I have time to do all that. Give me a plug‑in that scrolls through the entirety of the track and then yields proper reversed reverb and delay. And I don’t mean an envelope simulating it, I mean the plug‑in does all that reversal wotsit inside itself and then plays the result.

It’s a twisted chrono‑hubris that assumes that we, us, here and now, just happen to live at the pinnacle of all human creativity.

We are overflowing with plug‑ins that mimic vintage greats. But could someone, somewhere, please make me a Roland JX‑3P plug‑in that can listen to my old cassettes of saved patches and sequences and load them? Surely it can’t be that difficult for a DAW to pass audio to a plug‑in which then reads it? Oh, and while you’re at it, please do the same for my TR‑707, Jupiter 8 and MC‑202. Ta!

I want a physical modelling plug‑in but… more inclusive? I want it to model the instrument, the player, their body, their life history, their current mental state and maybe even the room they’re in. So, if I give the plug‑in a middle eight to compose and enter ‘Morbidly obese middle‑aged Indian synth‑botherer with a dodgy knee and only the vaguest grasp of modes playing a Rogue with scratchy pots’, then I can go and have a cup of tea, and my solo will be, as we say, le kiss du chef.

In the immortal words of Robert Browning: “Grow old along with me. The best is yet to be…”