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Grant Richter on East Coast vs West Coast
MUFF WIGGLER Forum Index -> Buchla, EMS & Serge  
Author Grant Richter on East Coast vs West Coast
consumed
I have appropriated this from the Wiard Yahoo list. My apologies if Grant did not intend this to be republished, but I found this to be interesting and enlightening. (I will yank this if it is a problem)


Grant Richter wrote:
I will try to explain a little of the philosophy behind the Wiard modules. It has to do with the "East vs. West" coast synthesizer history. This is an over simplified explaination, some "East Coast" instruments support FM for example.

It really starts with the concept of a patch. In the "East Coast" instruments (basically all synthesizer manufacturers except Wiard, Buchla and Serge) you have a subtractive synthesis patch entirely oriented towards the filter. This is your classic VCO-VCF-VCA connection with ADSR type envelopes. The envelopes generators typically have only a single output. The oscillators usually have very simple waveforms such as sawtooth and square wave. This is what most people are introduced to and why many people are puzzled by more complex instruments like the Wiard. This patch makes sense for playing with a black and white type keyboard. It produce a limited but pleasing range of timbres and is easy to operate and understand.

In the "West Coast" instruments, there are 3 possible synthesis modes. Additive, non-linear waveshaping and dynamic depth FM are the primary synthesis modes. "East Coast" subtractive synthesis is typically not DIRECTLY supported. It was not in the Buchla or Serge (no 24 dB/Oct. resonant filter). Good aproximations of subtractive synthesis can be patch on the Serge with cascaded filters. These instruments are oriented towards controlling with a multiple output sequencer or multiple output complex envelope generator instead of a black and white keyboard. They produce a larger and more importantly, different set of timbres than the simpler "East Coast" instruments.

The classic patch in a "West Coast" instrument involves two blocks. The first is a complex oscillator which supports both non-linear waveshaping and dynamic depth FM (Buchla 259 and Serge NTO). The second signal processor is a Lowpass Gate or "frequency and amplitude domain processor". The primary timbre generation is done directly with the oscillator, and the Lowpass Gate just tweaks the amplitude and frequency character. These two blocks are designed to be controlled by one complex envelope generator with multiple outputs routed to all the timbre factors.

Once again this is a simplifed explaination to illustrate subtle points. Actual usage involves a combination of both techniques.

In the 1200 series we have the groundwork laid for a complex "West Coast" voice. The JAG will convert two simple ADSR envelopes into a multiple output complex envelope generator. The Boogie Filter can be used as a Lowpass Gate but also supports the "East Coast" Moog type subtractive character. The Borg 2 Filter is a classic Lowpass Gate that can also be used like the "East Coast" MS20 subtractive filter.

The icing on the cake is the complex oscillator. The Wiard Synthesizer Mini-Wave and VCO (manufactured under license by Blacet Research) is a type of complex oscillator and non- linear waveshaper already well established. A lot of good work has been done with these Wiard designs. Improving on such a solid base is no easy task.

It would be great if a complex oscillator could support as many timbre modes as possible. Simultaneous support for multiple non-linear waveshaping, dynamic depth PM and wavetable would be ideal. If each of these was independent, you could look at them like geometric axis. Modulating the timbre parameters then becomes a matter of "walking about" in a large timbre space with multiple dimensions of simultaneous control. This is true timbre morphing and not just simple crossfading between timbres (which is good too).

This is where my research is currently focused. Exactly when the complex oscillator will be finished depends upon sales of the existing 1200 series modules. If the public is not interested in the extra "West Coast" synthesis methodology, it would be foolish to waste time and money on products for that purpose.

"East Coast" designs are as common as dandelions, but I feel support for subtractive synthesis should be included in a complete instrument. That is why the Wiard designs support BOTH East and West Coast synthesis methods. For example, any Wiard complex VCO will include classic subtractive waveform outputs in addition to the complex outputs.

I think that I need to focus on education to promote the idea of the more complex synthesis "West Coast" style. I am going to try and write manuals for the Boogie and Borg 2 modules that cover the less obvious operating modes. For the short term, I will be concentrating on that.
Kwote
fuck yeah!!! i read that before. i think pop music and subtractive synthesis is probably the reason most people don't care about modulars and hop on the hardwired synth bandwagon. would love to see the world open up more for analog modulars.

i read that before. good stuff. he should definately write some literature. he's good at explaining that shit. it's generally a bit difficult to understand modular synthesis without actually being involved in it though. i barely know anything and yet it still seems like a lot. can't wait til i really wrap my head around this stuff.

oh yeah the WESTCOAST fuckin rules. killa cali fo sho' twisted lol twisted
consumed
i posted this because you were asking about the wave multiplier. you can really warp sin waves through it and give them a lot of dynamic character through voltage control. the wave mult can also be used as a type of distortion, although i dont happen to use it like that. anyway, i think the wave multiplier is an important design and im glad that it has been made available to the rest of the world and not just to serge users. every modular should have one.

same thing goes for the VCS.
Kwote
yeah judging from the description of the wave mult on metalbox's site it sounds like the opposite of subtractive synthesis ie: additive. but then i'm sure it was kind of a crude description that doesn't even scratch the surface of it's true capabilities. can't wait to have one.

can't wait to have a VCS too. definately on the list.

i have 3 10u racks that i've imagined for myself thus far. don't really wanna think beyond that. already severely overwhelmed.
consumed
Kwote wrote:
yeah judging from the description of the wave mult on metalbox's site it sounds like the opposite of subtractive synthesis ie: additive. but then i'm sure it was kind of a crude description that doesn't even scratch the surface of it's true capabilities.


additive is a little bit different, but i understand the context in which you are using it (adding harmonics). additive synthesis actually uses a combination of sin waves to create the sound, on the principle that every sound we hear is a collection of sin waves at varying frequencies and amplitude, which create the timbre. its not an area that analog excels at, since you can really use up a lot of sin wave (oscillators) just making a relatively simple sound.
Kwote
yeah. i actually did a ton of research on all this back in may. but my memory kinda sucks. haha.
Chuck E. Jesus
Quote:
It produce a limited but pleasing range of timbres and is easy to operate and understand.


and that's bad how? obviously there is some marketing going on there, and there's nothing wrong with that...personally, if i were to draw a line in the sand regarding synth mfg's it would be those that name them after their creators (Moog, Arp, Buchla,etc) and those with silly made up names razz

Quote:
i think pop music and subtractive synthesis is probably the reason most people don't care about modulars and hop on the hardwired synth bandwagon.


price and bang for the buck are other important considerations...i got into modular when the Doepfer came out because i could actually afford it...
Kwote
ross g wrote:
Quote:
It produce a limited but pleasing range of timbres and is easy to operate and understand.


and that's bad how? obviously there is some marketing going on there, and there's nothing wrong with that...personally, if i were to draw a line in the sand regarding synth mfg's it would be those that name them after their creators (Moog, Arp, Buchla,etc) and those with silly made up names razz

Quote:
i think pop music and subtractive synthesis is probably the reason most people don't care about modulars and hop on the hardwired synth bandwagon.


price and bang for the buck are other important considerations...i got into modular when the Doepfer came out because i could actually afford it...


yeah. i was saying people hop on the whole non modular trip cuz it's more accessible to the general public via pop music etc.

i actually wanted to get into doepfer originally but the price of there case scared me so i got a monosynth instead. but once i finally found out about blacet i couldn't make any excuses not to go modular.
Chuck E. Jesus
Kwote wrote:
ross g wrote:
Quote:
It produce a limited but pleasing range of timbres and is easy to operate and understand.


and that's bad how? obviously there is some marketing going on there, and there's nothing wrong with that...personally, if i were to draw a line in the sand regarding synth mfg's it would be those that name them after their creators (Moog, Arp, Buchla,etc) and those with silly made up names razz

Quote:
i think pop music and subtractive synthesis is probably the reason most people don't care about modulars and hop on the hardwired synth bandwagon.


price and bang for the buck are other important considerations...i got into modular when the Doepfer came out because i could actually afford it...


yeah. i was saying people hop on the whole non modular trip cuz it's more accessible to the general public via pop music etc.

i actually wanted to get into doepfer originally but the price of there case scared me so i got a monosynth instead. but once i finally found out about blacet i couldn't make any excuses not to go modular.


yeah, when i got the doepfer it was actually quite a bit cheaper...i got an A100 basic system for i believe 1550 bucks, but that was about ten years ago (and the US dollar wasn't down the craphole)...putting a subrack together yourself is the way to go...actually i'm not sure i even knew about blacet back then....

just teasing about Wiard, i plan on attending the Midwest Analogue Heaven gathering in the spring and checking the stuff out firsthand....
Kwote
ross g wrote:
i plan on attending the Midwest Analogue Heaven gathering in the spring and checking the stuff out firsthand....


hopefully someone will videotape it and post it on youtube wink
BTByrd
Grant Richter wrote:

I think that I need to focus on education to promote the idea of the more complex synthesis "West Coast" style. I am going to try and write manuals for the Boogie and Borg 2 modules that cover the less obvious operating modes. For the short term, I will be concentrating on that.
[/quote]

[I don't mean to totally resurrect this thread... or do I? ]

As someone who has some West Coast modules (Hz Donut, Anti-Osc, QMMG) but an East Coast background, I'd be interested in hearing more about "less obvious" operating modes for LPGs.
Entrainer
Supposedly, other than being filters...
they can make bongo sounds.
haricots
Is it just me or is the whole east west thing kind of silly? hmmm.....
jonkull
It had it's place in history and serves as an easy descriptor.
Entrainer
It's a good starting point.

Helped me wrap my head around a few ideas coming
from a Arp/Moog/Roland/Korg background.

Mostly using sines, triangles, and self oscillating filters
FM'd combined with wave multipliers. Starting with
low harmonics and adding them instead of starting
with high harmonics and subtracting them.

And it helped with a multi function module such as
Serge VCS and it's euro counterpart Maths.

Using sequencers instead of a keyboard... both lend
themselves to sequencing and keyboard performance.

Other than that, it's two coasts of the same island.
Ranxerox
haricots wrote:
Is it just me or is the whole east west thing kind of silly? hmmm.....


It's a binary simplification. While it might have held some truth in the early 70s, I don't think it has any value nowadays - most people on here are able to achieve fairly complex timbres regardless of their format.

Even MU, which originally was kind of the ultimate 'East-coast' synth format, now offers huge sophistication - including FM, LPGs, waveshaping oscillators (the HRM), and various complex EGs and sequencer / gate processors that go far beyond Grant's prescription of what the limits of an 'East-coast' synth should be.

In terms of variety and complexity it now seems that Euro offers the most, not Serge, Buchla or Wiard, and so we have long since entered a 'post-coastal' era.
bwhittington
Ranxerox wrote:
we have long since entered a 'post-coastal' era.

Mr. Green thumbs up
e-grad
As Grant wrote in the text quoted:
Quote:
This is an over simplified explaination, some "East Coast" instruments support FM for example.


However it is a valid theoretical and educational concept which can help to understand different forms of synthesis.
richard
moog and buchla had very different images of what a modular could be. I think east coast vs west coast merely marks that memory. I don't think its even contentious as anyone with half an ear loves both.
BTByrd
I agree with the spirit of what most of you are saying. The East/West distinction is indeed a simplification, but it does seem to track two distinct design philosophies and ways of patching.

That said, I can't say that when I patch up a FM based patch using a Hertz Donut or Anti-Oscillator and then run it through a LPG that I get something that sounds radically different from what I can achieve with some east coast oscs and a filter + VCA.

I feel like I must be overlooking something; what - aside from bongos and fm - are some standard "west coasty" sounds or techniques for sound design?
Entrainer
Comparators were new to me as well, EOR or EOC, triggering
other events.
dougcl
It is relevant to this day in that many people (most?) categorize themselves into one or the other, according to their taste, if not in so many words. There is no trend, nor should there be, toward merging everyone's definition of "good" into agreement. West remains the domain of those who covet the "weird" and East is the domain of those who covet the "musical." From this standpoint, I don't think we will ever be "post-coastal."
Entrainer
dougcl wrote:
West remains the domain of those who covet the "weird" and East is the domain of those who covet the "musical."


Cue Nelson Baboon.

Enter stage right.
dkcg
dougcl wrote:
West remains the domain of those who covet the "weird" and East is the domain of those who covet the "musical." From this standpoint, I don't think we will ever be "post-coastal."


Weirdly musical?
DanielW
e-grad wrote:
As Grant wrote in the text quoted:
Quote:
This is an over simplified explaination, some "East Coast" instruments support FM for example.


However it is a valid theoretical and educational concept which can help to understand different forms of synthesis.


Yes, it really clarifies what's different about modules like Maths or systems like Serge from "ordinary" synths. When I got to try out a Serge system for the first time, I had no idea how to get anything good out of it, because I wasn't even aware about how it differed from what I considered a synth to be (i e subtractive).

The more I get into modular, the more interesting the west coast philosphy gets.

I find the introduction to the Serge Creature in this manual (p. 11 and on) very informative, with Moog-style modules being "molecular" and Serge modules "atomic", "function blocks", and east coast synths being built from the "outside-in" while west coast synths are built from the "inside-out".
dequalsrxt
When's this shit gonna end? Too many have died already because of this nonsense.



Peace.
dougcl
That's the best I could do without offending either side. You all know what I mean. Except for Droolmaster, of course. But let me avoid stating the obvious.
Nelson Baboon
Entrainer wrote:
dougcl wrote:
West remains the domain of those who covet the "weird" and East is the domain of those who covet the "musical."


Cue Nelson Baboon.

Enter stage right.


No problems with that. Quote marks are wonderful things...
Nelson Baboon
dougcl wrote:
That's the best I could do without offending either side. You all know what I mean. Except for Droolmaster, of course. But let me avoid stating the obvious.


Yes, please do.
Entrainer
Nelson Baboon wrote:

No problems with that. Quote marks are wonderful things...


I just know it's a favorite topic. : )



6:33
chrisso
jonkull wrote:
It had it's place in history and serves as an easy descriptor.


I completely agree.
For me, I have both east and west inspired systems, and can see an argument for the lines becoming more and more blurred.
chrisso
dougcl wrote:
It is relevant to this day in that many people (most?) categorize themselves into one or the other
West remains the domain of those who covet the "weird" and East is the domain of those who covet the "musical." From this standpoint, I don't think we will ever be "post-coastal."


All I can say is "there are no rules". There should be no rules.
I'm about making music, not following a design philosophy.
I can't see anything but positives in a point where different synth designs cross fertilize.
Nelson Baboon
This is all true. Lots of these distinctions are really just talking points, and it's a good thing that all of the formats are becoming more flexible as far as one's approach.

I do find it useful to talk about approaches to making sounds, which does seem to roughly fall into this east coast/west coast thing....maybe it should just be a historical reference abbreviation for an overall approach. If you say 'west coast' I kind of have an idea of what you're talking about, but if you try to describe it in other ways, it takes a lot more words, and some of them might be big ones.

chrisso wrote:
dougcl wrote:
It is relevant to this day in that many people (most?) categorize themselves into one or the other
West remains the domain of those who covet the "weird" and East is the domain of those who covet the "musical." From this standpoint, I don't think we will ever be "post-coastal."


All I can say is "there are no rules". There should be no rules.
I'm about making music, not following a design philosophy.
I can't see anything but positives in a point where different synth designs cross fertilize.
chrisso
Nelson Baboon wrote:
If you say 'west coast' I kind of have an idea of what you're talking about, but if you try to describe it in other ways, it takes a lot more words, and some of them might be big ones.


Absolutely. thumbs up
Just me
So, I guess I have Southern Coast synthesis going on as my modular has become a hybrid of both philosophies of sound design. LPG's, complex envelope generators, AM and FM, exponential and linear. Complex and simple. Additive and subtractive.
That is a cool thing about time and technolgy together. They advance.

I have 8 space left in my MU cabinets, what to put in them???
Peake
"BOTH".

Yep!

And isn't the MS20 more of a "Far East Coast"?

The again, the 200e could again make me forget "East Coast" completely. Have you seen the demo for the 296e?
vozs
Peake wrote:
"BOTH".

Yep!

And isn't the MS20 more of a "Far East Coast"?

The again, the 200e could again make me forget "East Coast" completely. Have you seen the demo for the 296e?


PPG Modular? Center mainland?
pbr
I'm interested in the history of these two approaches to synthesis. The historical geography doesn't seem to help the articulations. One historical-technical approach emerges in the top-down emulation of existing pop-music elements (subtractive synthesis begins with the emulation of existing musical and conventional voices; brass, woodwinds, human voice, etc) in order to produce an apparatus that can be brought into line with the pre-existent conventions of popular music (predominance of 4/4 intervals in sequencers and appegiators, 12 semitones, the continuation of musical structures along the Wagnerian-Schoenberg axis). The other looks like a rhizomatic growth of functions (someone said 'atomic' in reference to Serge and Buchola) that are engineered with less of a teleology in mind. I think this is why most people think "sci-fi" when they hear a noodle: culturally these are "effects" (they're always cinematic supplements, special effects) but more radically, they are the "effects" of the relations of the functions (modules) that produce them. Until Cage, music is never an effect, it's always a composition down a hierarchy.

Which gets us to conventions of Noise music and non-hierarchical compositions on one side and popular 'product' engineering on the other. Almost every relationship on this forum exists in some relationship along this axis: either someone is producing a shimmery, sexy tone to fetishize as new in the old framework of Club, house, post-rock-pop-hip-hop or someone is trying to produce noise -- if not as a resistance to the former then just because of the horizontality you get when interfacing with crazy patches (as opposed to composing "music").

Anyone know any good recent histories on the topic?
Nelson Baboon
huh?

pbr wrote:
I'm interested in the history of these two approaches to synthesis. The historical geography doesn't seem to help the articulations. One historical-technical approach emerges in the top-down emulation of existing pop-music elements (subtractive synthesis begins with the emulation of existing musical and conventional voices; brass, woodwinds, human voice, etc) in order to produce an apparatus that can be brought into line with the pre-existent conventions of popular music (predominance of 4/4 intervals in sequencers and appegiators, 12 semitones, the continuation of musical structures along the Wagnerian-Schoenberg axis). The other looks like a rhizomatic growth of functions (someone said 'atomic' in reference to Serge and Buchola) that are engineered with less of a teleology in mind. I think this is why most people think "sci-fi" when they hear a noodle: culturally these are "effects" (they're always cinematic supplements, special effects) but more radically, they are the "effects" of the relations of the functions (modules) that produce them. Until Cage, music is never an effect, it's always a composition down a hierarchy.

Which gets us to conventions of Noise music and non-hierarchical compositions on one side and popular 'product' engineering on the other. Almost every relationship on this forum exists in some relationship along this axis: either someone is producing a shimmery, sexy tone to fetishize as new in the old framework of Club, house, post-rock-pop-hip-hop or someone is trying to produce noise -- if not as a resistance to the former then just because of the horizontality you get when interfacing with crazy patches (as opposed to composing "music").

Anyone know any good recent histories on the topic?
pbr
sad banana
futureworlder
i think he's referencing this:



Nelson Baboon wrote:
huh?

pbr wrote:
I'm interested in the history of these two approaches to synthesis. The historical geography doesn't seem to help the articulations. One historical-technical approach emerges in the top-down emulation of existing pop-music elements (subtractive synthesis begins with the emulation of existing musical and conventional voices; brass, woodwinds, human voice, etc) in order to produce an apparatus that can be brought into line with the pre-existent conventions of popular music (predominance of 4/4 intervals in sequencers and appegiators, 12 semitones, the continuation of musical structures along the Wagnerian-Schoenberg axis). The other looks like a rhizomatic growth of functions (someone said 'atomic' in reference to Serge and Buchola) that are engineered with less of a teleology in mind. I think this is why most people think "sci-fi" when they hear a noodle: culturally these are "effects" (they're always cinematic supplements, special effects) but more radically, they are the "effects" of the relations of the functions (modules) that produce them. Until Cage, music is never an effect, it's always a composition down a hierarchy.

Which gets us to conventions of Noise music and non-hierarchical compositions on one side and popular 'product' engineering on the other. Almost every relationship on this forum exists in some relationship along this axis: either someone is producing a shimmery, sexy tone to fetishize as new in the old framework of Club, house, post-rock-pop-hip-hop or someone is trying to produce noise -- if not as a resistance to the former then just because of the horizontality you get when interfacing with crazy patches (as opposed to composing "music").

Anyone know any good recent histories on the topic?
modularland
I think there is a LOT of missing backstory to Grant's post... I'll fill in a bit:

On the West Coast, academic music nerds from Mills College and other places wanted to get away from the endless piano scales they had been drilling on for years and created the San Francisco Tape Music center where they were splicing tapes, using test tone oscillators, and trying to be avant garde and cool. They set up shop in a San Francisco flat, had parties, and had a scene.

They decided to build an actual dedicated electronic instrument, and solicited for engineers, and Don Buchla showed up and fulfilled their wish- and thus came one of, if not the first, examples of a modular synth: the Buchla. It conformed to these West Coast Hippies ideals of getting away from all that sheet music back at Mills College, looked cool, sounded cool, and to this day looks cool, sounds cool, and has no keyboard.

Meanwhile, back on the East Coast, where people could actually make a living in New York City playing classical music, jazz, composing for films, etc a different idea formed. The East had already mastered the bleep bloop electronic music sounds at various universities like the Columbia-Princeton Electronic Music Center (disclosure, I am a Columbia grad) so they were kind of over bleeps and bloops.

Musicians like Raymond Scott already had commercial success (making music for commercials) using electronic instruments, but what was really intriguing was the idea of electronic instruments that could be used to actually help earn a living- instruments that had keyboards, could play notes, and be used to make an entirely new generation of music. So an army of Jewish engineers, and they were all indeed Jews- even the West Coasters Buchla and Serge, (disclosure, I am Jewish) like Alan R Pearlman (ARP) and Bob Moog started working with local musicians step by step making instruments that they would find useful- hence the more linear 'left to right' patch design of various 'voices' of a Moog or Arp synth that was used with a keyboard to make tonal music.

In the end, the instruments made in the commercial center of art and music (New York) were the winners and most influential (the Minimoog) and that was what created the entire market for electronic instruments as we know it today.

Note that a few rebel (and non Jewish) West Coasters like Tom Oberheim (Oberheim) and Dave Smith (Sequential Circuits) got wild and made East coast style instruments influenced by the Minimoog and had commercial success as well.

And the rest is history.

Postscript- Even Raymond Scott was a Jew- real name was Harry Warnow, an immigrant from the old country (Hungary? Poland?) ... I think Jews are drawn to modular synthesis because our ancient tongue, Hebrew, is built on modular linguistic structures (called Binyanim in Hebrew) so we have a genetic imprint that naturally draws us to making structure out of something metaphysical like music...

Happy Passover!
Nelson Baboon
God, I'm so glad I'm over bleeps and bloops.
pbr
modularland wrote:
I think there is a LOT of missing backstory to Grant's post... I'll fill in a bit:

On the West Coast, academic music nerds from Mills College and other places wanted to get away from the endless piano scales they had been drilling on for years and created the San Francisco Tape Music center where they were splicing tapes, using test tone oscillators, and trying to be avant garde and cool. They set up shop in a San Francisco flat, had parties, and had a scene.

They decided to build an actual dedicated electronic instrument, and solicited for engineers, and Don Buchla showed up and fulfilled their wish- and thus came one of, if not the first, examples of a modular synth: the Buchla. It conformed to these West Coast Hippies ideals of getting away from all that sheet music back at Mills College, looked cool, sounded cool, and to this day looks cool, sounds cool, and has no keyboard.

Meanwhile, back on the East Coast, where people could actually make a living in New York City playing classical music, jazz, composing for films, etc a different idea formed. The East had already mastered the bleep bloop electronic music sounds at various universities like the Columbia-Princeton Electronic Music Center (disclosure, I am a Columbia grad) so they were kind of over bleeps and bloops.

Musicians like Raymond Scott already had commercial success (making music for commercials) using electronic instruments, but what was really intriguing was the idea of electronic instruments that could be used to actually help earn a living- instruments that had keyboards, could play notes, and be used to make an entirely new generation of music. So an army of Jewish engineers, and they were all indeed Jews- even the West Coasters Buchla and Serge, (disclosure, I am Jewish) like Alan R Pearlman (ARP) and Bob Moog started working with local musicians step by step making instruments that they would find useful- hence the more linear 'left to right' patch design of various 'voices' of a Moog or Arp synth that was used with a keyboard to make tonal music.

In the end, the instruments made in the commercial center of art and music (New York) were the winners and most influential (the Minimoog) and that was what created the entire market for electronic instruments as we know it today.

Note that a few rebel (and non Jewish) West Coasters like Tom Oberheim (Oberheim) and Dave Smith (Sequential Circuits) got wild and made East coast style instruments influenced by the Minimoog and had commercial success as well.

And the rest is history.

Postscript- Even Raymond Scott was a Jew- real name was Harry Warnow, an immigrant from the old country (Hungary? Poland?) ... I think Jews are drawn to modular synthesis because our ancient tongue, Hebrew, is built on modular linguistic structures (called Binyanim in Hebrew) so we have a genetic imprint that naturally draws us to making structure out of something metaphysical like music...

Happy Passover!



Right, essentially my interest is in the ideology that governs the design of the technologies. That the "keyed instruments" (compositionally disposed toward the long history of musical conventions in the west) became successful is quite clear. They were designed to emulate commercially successful music. We owe Acid House to the fact that Roland's R&D dept fucked up something with the tb-303 so that it was a commercial failure as far as mainstream studios and large budget musicians were concerned. When the prices came down, musicians without the funds to originally invest could buy them and started making music around the 4/4 house-techno template and the addition of glides and tweaking sliders. (Miracles! Monotony!) In the same historical trajectory, MIDI and DAWs are the strongest source of the monotony of contemporary music: everyone is trained by the architecture of the technologies (designed to be commercially successful products to be sold) to play in line with the dominant, highest-grossing musical form. (Side note, I'll never be able to afford a buchola or serge, like most of the people who would want to play them in the first place. Both because it's tough to make that kind of cash when you're producing relations that are illegible and uninteresting to 95% of listening audiences and because the demand has not been high enough long enough for the Fordist efficiency-in-mass-production effect to occur.)

The renewal in modular interest (eurorack) I think owes to two things: 1) the exhaustion of digital timbres and acoustic samples in pop-music production 2) the general cultural of post-fordist operation and non-linear production strategies (ie, do something oblique, it might be interesting and saleable.)
Tombola
Love this thread.

I'm English, so I'm fond of joysticks and spring reverbs and multi-turn pots.

Our synth heritage comes from Russian aristocracy (Peter Zinovieff) and WW2 Royal Navy radar operators (Tristram Cary)
Nelson Baboon
I like making noise music because I can see no logical reason why music should be constrained by the traditional rules, and I can hear for myself that this is true.

I don't think that digital timbres have been exhausted at all - I guess you're referring to 'pop music' production. But I really don't think that most people who are interested in eurorack stuff are into making 'pop music' with it.

I was a graduate student in philosophy, but reading stuff like this makes me yawn.
momo
Alas, I am a gentile cry Nice account Modularland! thumbs up
modularland
My interest in analog modular comes from two sources:

#1 I was, at a very young age, exposed to modulars via parents friends studios, electronics via ham radio dad (I built my own shortwaves as a kid), and electronic music (was the backdrop of most science shows and sci fi in the 70s) so it to me was integral in the formation of my perception

#2 As a professional sound engineer, my ear is trained to pick up on very subtle sounds, and the subtleties of analog and analog modular are very pleasing to my ears... it is 'relaxing' for me to listen to analog synths, or solo acoustic instruments for that matter....

I don't have any predilction for West (atonal) or East (tonal) instruments... so long as its analog, I like it.

I was trained by Gordon Mumma and Peter Elsea who both were neutral on style... we listned to Iannis Xenakis, we listened to Mother Mallard...
cerebrosis
pbr wrote:

The renewal in modular interest (eurorack) I think owes to two things: 1) the exhaustion of digital timbres and acoustic samples in pop-music production 2) the general cultural of post-fordist operation and non-linear production strategies (ie, do something oblique, it might be interesting and saleable.)


I dont know, all the pop music i happen to hear now a days is saw or square and lowpass. And look at the all digital euro modules; hertz d, piston h, cyclebox, e350, ect...
diophantine
pbr wrote:
That the "keyed instruments" (compositionally disposed toward the long history of musical conventions in the west) became successful is quite clear. They were designed to emulate commercially successful music.


I don't believe this is quite true. I've never got the impression (from readings or elsewhere) that the Moog/"east coast" design motivation was to emulate existing music or instruments at all. If anything, far from it.

Sure, it was used for many commercial uses (as was the Buchla, though to a lesser extent), but it wasn't designed to emulate commercial music.

The keyboard was something that customers really wanted, because it gave them a familiar interface. (Granted, Moog did use a keyboard in creating prototype modulars, but my impression was that it was mostly just something handy to trigger things on them.) Keep in mind too, that Moog also had a ribbon controller.
modularland
my impression from a lifetime of observation and history of the field is that the Moog etc instruments were built as instruments, not designed to 'emulate' anything but to be a new efficient class of instruments for musicians.

yes, the goal was to be able to change timbres to make a more 'wind' sound or a more 'bass' sound... but it wasn't aimed at copying an existing instrument...

diophantine wrote:
pbr wrote:
That the "keyed instruments" (compositionally disposed toward the long history of musical conventions in the west) became successful is quite clear. They were designed to emulate commercially successful music.


I don't believe this is quite true. I've never got the impression (from readings or elsewhere) that the Moog/"east coast" design motivation was to emulate existing music or instruments at all. If anything, far from it.

Sure, it was used for many commercial uses (as was the Buchla, though to a lesser extent), but it wasn't designed to emulate commercial music.

The keyboard was something that customers really wanted, because it gave them a familiar interface. (Granted, Moog did use a keyboard in creating prototype modulars, but my impression was that it was mostly just something handy to trigger things on them.) Keep in mind too, that Moog also had a ribbon controller.
pbr
Nelson Baboon wrote:
I like making noise music because I can see no logical reason why music should be constrained by the traditional rules, and I can hear for myself that this is true.


Of course, that's why a lot of us are here. The history of the ideological underpinnings that produce those "rules" are a big part why we hear the things we do.

Nelson Baboon wrote:
I don't think that digital timbres have been exhausted at all - I guess you're referring to 'pop music' production. But I really don't think that most people who are interested in eurorack stuff are into making 'pop music' with it.


Yea, exclusively the pop-production ethos. I said eurorack because it's cheaper than modcan and still makes nice sounds and because I saw a photo on this forum of deadmou5's crates of eurorack. I don't know, but it seems like Doepfer single-handedly created a cheap, small format (more than motm or .com) that allowed for open-source-like diy production.
pbr
diophantine wrote:

The keyboard was something that customers really wanted, because it gave them a familiar interface. Keep in mind too, that Moog also had a ribbon controller.


That's exactly what I mean, the 12 semi-tone system is one of the oldest conventions in western music. You could go further with the genealogy by looking at Wagner's influence on pop-music structuration.

As to the "emulation" issue, it's true they were never meant to be woodwinds or brass or voice or whatever. But the design did take existing forms of sound as prototypes around which to compose architecture. Say the VCO-filter-asdr-vca path.
pbr
cerebrosis wrote:

I dont know, all the pop music i happen to hear now a days is saw or square and lowpass. And look at the all digital euro modules; hertz d, piston h, cyclebox, e350, ect...


Yeah, I know there's also the whole bit-cruching affect. I guess by "digital" I meant soothing more like software modeling. Or some sort of affect that means recent obsolescence, cold boring . . . so scratch that whole thing, it's too vague.
futureworlder
pbr wrote:

Right, essentially my interest is in the ideology that governs the design of the technologies. That the "keyed instruments" (compositionally disposed toward the long history of musical conventions in the west) became successful is quite clear. They were designed to emulate commercially successful music. We owe Acid House to the fact that Roland's R&D dept fucked up something with the tb-303 so that it was a commercial failure as far as mainstream studios and large budget musicians were concerned. When the prices came down, musicians without the funds to originally invest could buy them and started making music around the 4/4 house-techno template and the addition of glides and tweaking sliders. (Miracles! Monotony!)

In the same historical trajectory, MIDI and DAWs are the strongest source of the monotony of contemporary music: everyone is trained by the architecture of the technologies (designed to be commercially successful products to be sold) to play in line with the dominant, highest-grossing musical form. (Side note, I'll never be able to afford a buchola or serge, like most of the people who would want to play them in the first place. Both because it's tough to make that kind of cash when you're producing relations that are illegible and uninteresting to 95% of listening audiences and because the demand has not been high enough long enough for the Fordist efficiency-in-mass-production effect to occur.)


I strongly disagree; your summation of the "history" of this genre is lacking some really important factors, influences, innovators and conditions. The true mindprint of modern electronic "music" is deeply rooted in the post-war climate of England, France and Germany, in particular, with the advent of Musique Concreté, ala Pierre Shaeffer, Pierre Henry, Karlheinz Stockhausen, and their disciples, namely Holger Czukay (founder of CAN) Moebius & Roedelius (founders of Kluster) and Tangerine Dream (possibly most responsible for the popularization of tonal modular sequences) which took influences from similar-minded musicians and free radicals from England, namely space-rock bands Hawkwind /Michael Moorcock and Pink Floyd. Hawkwind's weapon of choice (see: Sonic Attack) was the EMS VCS3 aka 'The Putney', created by the aforementioned Peter Zinovieff and Tristam Carey (although the guts of the beast were largely designed by David Cockerell and modeled after Zinovieff's gigantic "modular" system consisting of decommissioned military tone-generators and modulators. Alas, no keyboard there. In 1973, Roger Waters also used a smaller, portable version of this machine, the Synthi-AKS to compose and record the groundbreaking track "On the Run" for The Dark Side of the Moon. Although he used the Synthi's membrane "keyboard" to record the initial 8 note sequence, this arguably could've been done with a step-sequencer and the speed increased to the 166 bpm on the track. So again, here is an example of a modular system being used sans-keyboard to record an innovative piece of music. The Dark Side of the Moon most probably introduced more people to the 'magic' of the synthesizer than any recording prior or since. Shortly thereafter, inspired by the proto-krautrock pioneers such as CAN and Kluster, KRAFTWERK began adapting the concepts of syncopation and repetition to conjure images of futurism and robotic precision. Although a few "Western" pieces, such as the MiniMoog remained staples in their Kling Klang Studio, the real innovation in the realization of Kraftwerk's austere and futuristic sound was their development of percussive synthesis, and their embrace of the "rhythm box" later rebranded more aptly as "the drum machine". The 70's were quite possibly the greatest cross-pollination period of musical ideas since the advent of the drum.

QED (loose lineage here): Musique Concreté>Psychadelic Rock> Krautrock (CAN, Amon Düül, FAUST, NEU!, KLUSTER, KRAFTWERK>(Italo)-Disco(Moroder, Soccio, Telex, Cerrone, Marouani, CYCLADES>House/Techno/Electro-funk.

Syncopation and "monotony" as you put it, had already been road-tested and proven by the neo and post-psychedelic community some and had found their way into the hedonistic nightlife that had grown increasingly popular in the late 60's and early 70's. The fusion of funk and tribal african rhythms had given rise to syncopation, spurred on by derivatives of several mitigating factors, namely the popularity of amphetamines in the nightlife of clubs in the US and Europe (creating the ability/ desire to 'dance all night long' combined with the sequential tonal pulses of modular systems, namely the Moog system 15, most infamously 'introduced' on a mass-scale by Giorgio Moroder in Donna Summer's 'I Feel Love' and the ARP 2600, popularized by Herbie Hancock's funk fusion work 'Sextant'. The other, more overlooked factor, was the creation of the 12" extended play single record, which allowed DJ's to play a single track for up to 20 minutes; this was a huge innovation influencing all future production and distribution of electronic music. Composers were now free to release recordings that were comparably cheaper to manufacture, and more importantly, required less post-production as they contained less edits and engineering (track breaks, etc.) also less attention was paid to the packaging of the disc itself, relying on a slightly larger version of the paper sleeve used to wrap 45rpm singles. The larger playing surface also allowed for better physical manipulation of the disc, creating a need for a stronger, "workhorse" direct-drive turntable to be used for playback.

But that's another story altogether. razz

MIDI, otoh, showed up as an accepted protocol around 1982...
pbr
futureworlder wrote:


I strongly disagree; your summation of the "history" of this genre is lacking some really important factors, influences, innovators and conditions. The true mindprint of modern electronic "music" is deeply rooted in the post-war climate of England, France and Germany, in particular, with the advent of Musique Concreté, ala Pierre Shaeffer, Pierre Henry, Karlheinz Stockhausen, and their disciples, namely Holger Czukay (founder of CAN) Moebius & Roedelius (founders of Kluster) and Tangerine Dream


This I totally agree with, although I don't know the whole cluster around Stockhausen (though I met and talked with Maryann Armacher once). Any texts you could suggest would be nice.

When I was thinking of the acceleration of popular conventions and technological design, I mostly had in mind the american imprint (and maybe misreading), in Chicago and Detroit, of Kraftwerk's poker-faced irony that coupled technological innovation, nationalist dissolution, and emerging global neo-liberalism. This is a very limited history, to be sure, but I didn't intend to sort out anything so ambitious. The 'east coast'-'west coast' binary left a lot to be desired in understanding the relations among contemporary approaches to synthesis.


futureworlder wrote:
Zinovieff's gigantic "modular" system consisting of decommissioned military tone-generators and modulators.

Cool

futureworlder wrote:
Alas, no keyboard there. In 1973, Roger Waters also used a smaller, portable version of this machine, the Synthi-AKS to compose and record the groundbreaking track "On the Run" for The Dark Side of the Moon. Although he used the Synthi's membrane "keyboard" to record the initial 8 note sequence, this arguably could've been done with a step-sequencer and the speed increased to the 166 bpm on the track. So again, here is an example of a modular system being used sans-keyboard to record an innovative piece of music. The Dark Side of the Moon most probably introduced more people to the 'magic' of the synthesizer than any recording prior or since. Shortly thereafter, inspired by the proto-krautrock pioneers such as CAN and Kluster, KRAFTWERK began adapting the concepts of syncopation and repetition to conjure images of futurism and robotic precision. Although a few "Western" pieces, such as the MiniMoog remained staples in their Kling Klang Studio, the real innovation in the realization of Kraftwerk's austere and futuristic sound was their development of percussive synthesis, and their embrace of the "rhythm box" later rebranded more aptly as "the drum machine". The 70's were quite possibly the greatest cross-pollination period of musical ideas since the advent of the drum.

QED (loose lineage here): Musique Concreté>Psychadelic Rock> Krautrock (CAN, Amon Düül, FAUST, NEU!, KLUSTER, KRAFTWERK>(Italo)-Disco(Moroder, Soccio, Telex, Cerrone, Marouani, CYCLADES>House/Techno/Electro-funk.


Loose lineages hardly go as above demonstrated. wink

My interest is in the acceleration of popular forms and the acceleration of directed technologies and their mutual reinforcement according to a determined ideology. The cultural status of synthesis differs in 1973 from the explosion in house and techno (at the end of your lineage) and the subsequent, contemporary landscape of the billboard top 100.

futureworlder wrote:

Syncopation and "monotony" as you put it, had already been road-tested and proven by the neo and post-psychedelic community some and had found their way into the hedonistic nightlife that had grown increasingly popular in the late 60's and early 70's. The fusion of funk and tribal african rhythms had given rise to syncopation, spurred on by derivatives of several mitigating factors, namely the popularity of amphetamines in the nightlife of clubs in the US and Europe (creating the ability/ desire to 'dance all night long' combined with the sequential tonal pulses of modular systems, namely the Moog system 15, most infamously 'introduced' on a mass-scale by Giorgio Moroder in Donna Summer's 'I Feel Love' and the ARP 2600, popularized by Herbie Hancock's funk fusion work 'Sextant'.


When I said monotony, I didn't mean syncopation. Syncopation is already variation; repetition is never repetition of the same. By monotony I was thinking of the reduction of variation in forms and conventions coupled with the increase in the volume of music production. (My speculation is that this is a shift that happens across the last 15-20 years; it happens in other fields of cultural production as well under similar conditions.)

futureworlder wrote:

The other, more overlooked factor, was the creation of the 12" extended play single record, which allowed DJ's to play a single track for up to 20 minutes; this was a huge innovation influencing all future production and distribution of electronic music. Composers were now free to release recordings that were comparably cheaper to manufacture, and more importantly, required less post-production as they contained less edits and engineering (track breaks, etc.) also less attention was paid to the packaging of the disc itself, relying on a slightly larger version of the paper sleeve used to wrap 45rpm singles. The larger playing surface also allowed for better physical manipulation of the disc, creating a need for a stronger, "workhorse" direct-drive turntable to be used for playback.

Also cool, it's great to have more these narratives around.
megaohm
Nelson Baboon wrote:
<SNIP>... I can see no logical reason why music should be constrained by the traditional rules, and I can hear for myself that this is true.


thumbs up

More artists should operate with this level of courage.
Nelson Baboon
This thread is devolving into post-cannibalistic neostructuralism.
A Dingleberry Monstrosity
wreaked of snobbery to me....

east vs west was 20 years ago, this day in age its a moot concept. Or atleast with everyone here...

no one here runs an oscillator into a filter into an amp without slathering it in unicorn penis. Is unicorn penis "east" or "west" anyways?
cbm
A Dingleberry Monstrosity wrote:
Is unicorn penis "east" or "west" anyways?

Umm… it's hollow earth. Everyone knows that.
J3RK
North by NorthWest actually. You'll never see a unicorn pointing in any other direction.
dopefiend
Hee, hee....I have read some of the posts in this thread, and some of them are hilarious. I just love how people will go into deep and complex diatribes with all sort of glittery rhetoric to try to solve the eternal enigma of why some people like music A and some like music B. I am partial to the dude that dislikes the repetitive format of the some of the contemporary pop songs, and agree that the currently-available technology has favored the overpopulation of music made by computer-savyy people without necessarily requiring much musical knowledge or playing dexterity. I remember the first time I heard a drum machine, my reaction was to say: "they're cheating!!". I could not bear the thought of sound coming from a static, sterile, lifeless box. And oh, don't get me started on the TB-303!!!! But again, I am expressing opinion, and should be (I guess) included in any population used to gauge the predominance of "east vs west".
I've gotta tell you something: As hard as I have tried to acquire a test for atonal, aleatoric, dysrrhythmic music (some Subotnick, Shaeffer, etc...), I find myself just reaching for my Joy Division, Smiths or Hiromi CD's. Does that make me an east coaster? hmmm.....
I also love Tangerine Dream (70's and early 80's only) and enjoy their hypnotic sequences on Phaedra and Rubycon, but I just cannot stand "rave" or "electronica" stuff (you know, you walk by the front entrance of the local disco and you hear the pulsing "oogh oogh" bass drum) d'oh!

Now I own a Buchla with original 200 series modules, no less, and yet I use to play tonal stuff. Chromatic, 12-tone, piano-key scales all the way. And the truth is that if I wanted to play weird shit like "Touch" or "A Sky of Cloudless Sulfur" I could you that perfectly fine on my MOTM system, or even my Yamaha CS80 (BTW, I recommend Robert Rich's "Bestiary" CD made on his large MOTM rig).

Bottom line is: while the original driving forces that inspired the creation of one format vs the other might have been different musical philosophies, nowadays very few people take this into account to purchase their modular rig. I definitely think PRICE matters much more....
very frustrating

As for the Jewish dude: Yes, I totally agree that there has been a conspicuous strong presence of those of the Hebrew persuasion in the design of these instruments, and would like to add the great Ray Kurzweil to the list. And oh, BTW, I think Tom Oberheim might also be Jewish (Oberheim? Have you seen his face?). And no, I'm not Jewish, just a humble little Mexican who sees his faith as Judeo-Christian and loves matzo crackers..... lol
richardm123uk
I personally do not give fuck were my 200e came from or my Moog Voyager. The inside of people's heads are odd and confusing at the best of times so I am just glad that these people were together enough to get a final product out there for me to spend my cash on. They give me fun. I can make fun sounds on them and occasionally the hairs on the back of my neck stand up when I play them.
dougcl
I think Ruskin nailed it:

Quote:
Taste is not only a part and index of morality, it is the only morality. The first, and last, and closest trial question to any living creature is "What do you like?" Tell me what you like, I'll tell you what you are.


Now the design of instruments is tailored to different tastes. That's it. In other words, as I said before, this is not about instruments, it's about people and taste, and these things will always remain relevant, independent of technology. To say that we are post coastal based on recent instrument development is false. There may be more options now (intermediate options), but the differences remain in the minds of people, and they always will, as they should.
vozs
In Europe we have this west-east inland debate instead!
Polivoks vs Dataton 3000! w00t
Joxer96
dopefiend wrote:
Hee, hee....I have read some of the posts in this thread, and some of them are hilarious. I just love how people will go into deep and complex diatribes with all sort of glittery rhetoric to try to solve the eternal enigma of why some people like music A and some like music B. I am partial to the dude that dislikes the repetitive format of the some of the contemporary pop songs, and agree that the currently-available technology has favored the overpopulation of music made by computer-savyy people without necessarily requiring much musical knowledge or playing dexterity. I remember the first time I heard a drum machine, my reaction was to say: "they're cheating!!". I could not bear the thought of sound coming from a static, sterile, lifeless box. And oh, don't get me started on the TB-303!!!! But again, I am expressing opinion, and should be (I guess) included in any population used to gauge the predominance of "east vs west".
I've gotta tell you something: As hard as I have tried to acquire a test for atonal, aleatoric, dysrrhythmic music (some Subotnick, Shaeffer, etc...), I find myself just reaching for my Joy Division, Smiths or Hiromi CD's. Does that make me an east coaster? (snip)


Very well put, I particularly agree with the part I highlighted. Sorry, but I'm gonna be an asshole and say that generally speaking, people who can't play or compose make noise and try to call it Art.
richard
urgh, what bullshit, you might as well say that people who can play or compose music don't spend all their time fucking around with synthesizers: it has about the same faint percentage of truth to it.

you make an either/or out of what should be an and
jonkull
Joxer96 wrote:
Very well put, I particularly agree with the part I highlighted. Sorry, but I'm gonna be an asshole and say that generally speaking, people who can't play or compose make noise and try to call it Art.


I think you may have joined the wrong forum.
cbm
Joxer96 wrote:
Sorry, but I'm gonna be an asshole and say that generally speaking, people who can't play or compose make noise and try to call it Art.

Just because you don't like it, or don't understand it, does not mean it's not "Art." Stravinsky's "Right of Spring" caused riots at its premiere in Paris, because is was "not music." People who can play three chords make hits: Punk rock was a pinnacle of outsider art music. What's your point?

I'm sure that many of the people creating "noise" are well trained enough to make "real compositions." Picasso was a well-trained artist who could do "normal," but he was a great artist because he chose not to.
modularland
I never say that what someone is doing isn't art. However I do sometimes say what they are doing isn't memorable or unique...
Nelson Baboon
I might post an analogous comment that people who can't think very well are the ones who post closed minded bullshit like this.



Joxer96 wrote:
dopefiend wrote:
Hee, hee....I have read some of the posts in this thread, and some of them are hilarious. I just love how people will go into deep and complex diatribes with all sort of glittery rhetoric to try to solve the eternal enigma of why some people like music A and some like music B. I am partial to the dude that dislikes the repetitive format of the some of the contemporary pop songs, and agree that the currently-available technology has favored the overpopulation of music made by computer-savyy people without necessarily requiring much musical knowledge or playing dexterity. I remember the first time I heard a drum machine, my reaction was to say: "they're cheating!!". I could not bear the thought of sound coming from a static, sterile, lifeless box. And oh, don't get me started on the TB-303!!!! But again, I am expressing opinion, and should be (I guess) included in any population used to gauge the predominance of "east vs west".
I've gotta tell you something: As hard as I have tried to acquire a test for atonal, aleatoric, dysrrhythmic music (some Subotnick, Shaeffer, etc...), I find myself just reaching for my Joy Division, Smiths or Hiromi CD's. Does that make me an east coaster? (snip)


Very well put, I particularly agree with the part I highlighted. Sorry, but I'm gonna be an asshole and say that generally speaking, people who can't play or compose make noise and try to call it Art.
jeannot
^+1...Show some respect noob, save emotional outbursts for higher post counts
wetterberg
christ, this forum is easily trolled.
Ranxerox
Man, you guys are gonna look pretty silly with your East/West-coast vibes once we're all living in space & making music on the moon! love

I forgot about this thread, glad to see there's still some fridges worth nuking...
rico loverde
wheres the stupid comment of the month award when ya need one.
dopefiend
Whoe, so my buddy Joxer has ruffled some feathers with my help. angry

What I personally have to reiterate is that the aforementioned stuff was just my individual opinion, and do not speak on behalf of the masses. I personally love the impressionists, and I think they are beautiful pieces of art. I do not like heavily sequenced music, but I still DO consider it to be art, and respect those who can appreciate such music (I honestly wish I could, as it is so ubiquitous!). The point that I want to make is that any diatribe about the predominance of one style of music-making (in this case, style and equipment-dependent) versus another one will be ultimately defined by one thing: TASTE. And taste is the same variable that makes me dislike trance or dance but love Mahavishnu Orchestra (which BTW, was considered chaotic, loud, noisy and obnoxious by many!).
It is about taste, guys. That's it. No need to get more cerebral charlie horses over it.

And everyone's taste counts.

We cannot,as much as we dislike type X, Y or Z of music, deny the right/privilege that others have of enjoying it, because if anybody decided to ultimately conduct a scientific test to finally solve this much-discussed controversy about East vs West, it would have to be done by polling people, and (obviously) obtaining subjective variables (TASTE).
So there.
What I wonder is, if such an experiment were to be conducted, where the hell would I fit? I guess middle-of-the-road. Hmmmmmm.... hmmm.....

Anyway, peace, guys, please!!
Joxer96
Woahhhh! Hold on everyone! I said GENERALLY SPEAKING. I listen to plenty of 'noise', and certainly appreciate it and consider it art. I was definitely not trying to troll.
dopefiend
Quote:


I wanted to quote this in my previous post. I agree with this completely.

applause
Nelson Baboon
About cerebral charlie horses - please allow me to have one.

Not all taste and opinions are created equal.

I might say for instance - 'don't get upset, but in my opinion, Hitler was a great man'. Now - I can argue all I want about how this is just an opinion, or my personal "taste", but obviously people would get rightfully offended by the comment. Note that the cliche is to evoke Godwins law, but that's a superficial response. The point is that sometimes an extreme example can clarify the error in a general statement, that otherwise goes unchallenged. And certainly I wasn't comparing anyone to Hitler, although I did while drunk draw a likeness of his mustache on my TKB.

Not all of the following are simply expressions of taste:
"I don't like listening to noise music, or sequenced music"
"In my opinion, noise music is an oxymoron"
"people who create noise music, or other atonal music, have no musical talent"
etc....

The latter one has a logical presupposition, for instance - which goes beyond simply taste, or even simply an opinion. It is presumed to be true. And that is that these forms of sonic organization are not music, in the pejorative interpretation of music/non-music. So, one is either an idiot, or disingenuously hiding behind 'opinion' and 'taste' to insult people, who in this particular area, have broadened their minds about what music is, and what it should do.

Now for Godwin's law - I don't believe that the Nazis felt very favorably about modern art.



dopefiend wrote:
Whoe, so my buddy Joxer has ruffled some feathers with my help. angry

What I personally have to reiterate is that the aforementioned stuff was just my individual opinion, and do not speak on behalf of the masses. I personally love the impressionists, and I think they are beautiful pieces of art. I do not like heavily sequenced music, but I still DO consider it to be art, and respect those who can appreciate such music (I honestly wish I could, as it is so ubiquitous!). The point that I want to make is that any diatribe about the predominance of one style of music-making (in this case, style and equipment-dependent) versus another one will be ultimately defined by one thing: TASTE. And taste is the same variable that makes me dislike trance or dance but love Mahavishnu Orchestra (which BTW, was considered chaotic, loud, noisy and obnoxious by many!).
It is about taste, guys. That's it. No need to get more cerebral charlie horses over it.

And everyone's taste counts.

We cannot,as much as we dislike type X, Y or Z of music, deny the right/privilege that others have of enjoying it, because if anybody decided to ultimately conduct a scientific test to finally solve this much-discussed controversy about East vs West, it would have to be done by polling people, and (obviously) obtaining subjective variables (TASTE).
So there.
What I wonder is, if such an experiment were to be conducted, where the hell would I fit? I guess middle-of-the-road. Hmmmmmm.... hmmm.....

Anyway, peace, guys, please!!
Nelson Baboon
Joxer96 wrote:
Woahhhh! Hold on everyone! I said GENERALLY SPEAKING. I listen to plenty of 'noise', and certainly appreciate it and consider it art. I was definitely not trying to troll.


But it's true of all genres. Some people are good, and some aren't, and which are which is a matter of taste.

So, why single out people who make noise? Personally, I'd MUCH rather listen to someone with no 'musical' background who makes noise, than someone without much talent who makes melodic music.
dopefiend
Ooops, I messed up that last post. Meant to quote modularland's last post, with which I entirely agree.

Again, it's about tastes, dudes. My deepest apologies if my post offended anybody, but please read it carefuly, as well as its follow-up.

Otherwise, I truly enjoy frequenting these fora, and have learned tons of stuff here (here's where I caught the Modulemodule virus, and now I'm hooked!!).

screaming goo yo
cbm
Joxer96 wrote:
Sorry, but I'm gonna be an asshole and say that generally speaking, people who can't play or compose make noise and try to call it Art.
Joxer96 wrote:
Woahhhh! Hold on everyone! I said GENERALLY SPEAKING. I listen to plenty of 'noise', and certainly appreciate it and consider it art. I was definitely not trying to troll.

Yes, you said "generally speaking." You also said you were going to be an asshole, then proceeded to make a provocative statement. From this, I infer that you knew you were likely to get a reaction. This is sort of the definition of trolling, isn't it?
modularland
in first grade I used to close my eyes and lean back in my chair and listen to the sound of two lawnmowers frequencies beat in and out of synch out on the school lawn somewhere...

not unique- easily reproduced, but it was memorable...and I'll never forget it definitely art/music

in high school I listened to endless albums by Throbbing Gristle... I can't remember most of their songs, but they were definitely unique, and unlike anything else I heard before or since... definitely art/music

I do remember Hamburger Lady... who could forget a song called Hamburger Lady?

I appreciate the work people put into making short demos of synths... capturing their moment that had meaning to them... it may not have meaning to me, and it may not be memorable or unique, but because it had meaning to someone else, it definitely is art to me...
adamf
modularland wrote:
in first grade I used to close my eyes and lean back in my chair and listen to the sound of two lawnmowers frequencies beat in and out of synch out on the school lawn somewhere...

not unique- easily reproduced, but it was memorable...and I'll never forget it definitely art/music

in high school I listened to endless albums by Throbbing Gristle... I can't remember most of their songs, but they were definitely unique, and unlike anything else I heard before or since... definitely art/music

I do remember Hamburger Lady... who could forget a song called Hamburger Lady?

I appreciate the work people put into making short demos of synths... capturing their moment that had meaning to them... it may not have meaning to me, and it may not be memorable or unique, but because it had meaning to someone else, it definitely is art to me...


That post above is truly beautiful. I mean that genuinely and without any hint of sarcasm. I can really relate to your sentiments. Thankyou.

I checked this thread out because the topic interested me. Somewhere along the line it unfortunatly looks to have descended into one of those what is art/noise/music debates. Not sure where in the thread. I stopped reading because it bored and saddened me (seen it all before). That is, until Modularland fixed it smile 'n' made it happy again. Rockin' Banana!
mirri
Thank you modularland for your post!
dopefiend
So I was driving in my car, listening to some David Borden (talk about sequenced music!) and reflecting on this thread. What I think is a reality in 2011 is that both East and West stylistic and technological paradigms have long since blended to create a "hibrid" of sorts. This can be seen in other forms of art (painting, architecture, fashion design), and it reminds me once more that even in the presence of radical differences of political, religious and social ideology, human beings are willing to cross the aisles and compromise for the sake of new experiences.

OK, this shit probably sounds really corny, and you can boo me if you want, but I just want to emphasize that at the end of the day, it is more important to see what two factions have in common than what differentiates them.

And oh, BTW, beautiful post, Modularland. Other beautiful examples of music include a Spring morning in the forest, gentle cool breeze blowing and woodpeckers going at it (first time I heard them I though they were a machine gun with a silencer, like an Uzi hihi ).
And also try focusing on the noises coming from a hospital intensive care unit. You'll find all sort of wild and funky rhythmical bleeps..... nanners
momo
dopefiend wrote:
Other beautiful examples of music include a Spring morning in the forest, gentle cool breeze blowing and woodpeckers going at it (first time I heard them I though they were a machine gun with a silencer, like an Uzi hihi ).


Best ANALOGUE drum machine EVER! I heard woodpeckers in a local park the other week - loved that sound. Buchla 292/e - eat your heart out! we're not worthy lol 8_)
Nelson Baboon
Well, yes - corny, but more importantly, so vague and general to be meaningless.

Sometimes it makes more sense to differentiate things. Sometimes it makes more sense to see what they have in common. It depends on the context.

Sometimes it makes sense to compromise. Sometimes it doesn't, if you cross the threshold where what is important is violated. Again - you just can't make these broad generalizations like you do.

You seem to be making a veiled reference Obama, and his notion that it doesn't matter what you stand for as long as you accomplish something on your resume, but I try not to evoke him in my mind unless I'm making the harshest noise imaginable.

dopefiend wrote:
So I was driving in my car, listening to some David Borden (talk about sequenced music!) and reflecting on this thread. What I think is a reality in 2011 is that both East and West stylistic and technological paradigms have long since blended to create a "hibrid" of sorts. This can be seen in other forms of art (painting, architecture, fashion design), and it reminds me once more that even in the presence of radical differences of political, religious and social ideology, human beings are willing to cross the aisles and compromise for the sake of new experiences.

OK, this shit probably sounds really corny, and you can boo me if you want, but I just want to emphasize that at the end of the day, it is more important to see what two factions have in common than what differentiates them.

And oh, BTW, beautiful post, Modularland. Other beautiful examples of music include a Spring morning in the forest, gentle cool breeze blowing and woodpeckers going at it (first time I heard them I though they were a machine gun with a silencer, like an Uzi hihi ).
And also try focusing on the noises coming from a hospital intensive care unit. You'll find all sort of wild and funky rhythmical bleeps..... nanners
dopefiend
Hmmmmmm.
Obama, huh..?

Wow, now we're WAY off topic.

I will go back to woodpeckers.

They have awesome rhythm. TR-808, eat your heart out!!!

applause
divisionbyzero
dopefiend wrote:
And also try focusing on the noises coming from a hospital intensive care unit. You'll find all sort of wild and funky rhythmical bleeps..... nanners

i've got some cool recordings of these on my phone, like super minimal techno.

another cool sound i've heard was with my head underwater in an overflowing bathtub where both the faucet and stopper leaked. couldn't record that one though as i don't have a waterproof mic.

and speaking of waterproof, i met someone at ems stockholm who was recording the sounds of cracking ice floes.

tape music ftw!
cbm
One of my favorite real-world audio "WTF?" moments was when I was living in Brookdale, CA in the 1970s. Brookdale is in a valley of the Santa Cruz mountains, and is home to the haunted Brookdale Lodge. The Lodge had been closed for a few years, but they were just starting to rehab it.

One morning I was leaving my house and started walking down hill, when I rounded this bend I heard this sound which stopped my in my tracks. It was a heavenly choir, a goosebump-inducing celestial whine, reverberating off the far side of the valley. After gathering my senses, I set out to find out where the sound was coming from. It turns out it was about seven guys with circular saws on the roof of the Brookdale Lodge. Ambient meets industrial. Memorable, unique and musical.
brmex
cool told

consumed wrote:
I have appropriated this from the Wiard Yahoo list. My apologies if Grant did not intend this to be republished, but I found this to be interesting and enlightening. (I will yank this if it is a problem)


Grant Richter wrote:
I will try to explain a little of the philosophy behind the Wiard modules. It has to do with the "East vs. West" coast synthesizer history. This is an over simplified explaination, some "East Coast" instruments support FM for example.

It really starts with the concept of a patch. In the "East Coast" instruments (basically all synthesizer manufacturers except Wiard, Buchla and Serge) you have a subtractive synthesis patch entirely oriented towards the filter. This is your classic VCO-VCF-VCA connection with ADSR type envelopes. The envelopes generators typically have only a single output. The oscillators usually have very simple waveforms such as sawtooth and square wave. This is what most people are introduced to and why many people are puzzled by more complex instruments like the Wiard. This patch makes sense for playing with a black and white type keyboard. It produce a limited but pleasing range of timbres and is easy to operate and understand.

In the "West Coast" instruments, there are 3 possible synthesis modes. Additive, non-linear waveshaping and dynamic depth FM are the primary synthesis modes. "East Coast" subtractive synthesis is typically not DIRECTLY supported. It was not in the Buchla or Serge (no 24 dB/Oct. resonant filter). Good aproximations of subtractive synthesis can be patch on the Serge with cascaded filters. These instruments are oriented towards controlling with a multiple output sequencer or multiple output complex envelope generator instead of a black and white keyboard. They produce a larger and more importantly, different set of timbres than the simpler "East Coast" instruments.

The classic patch in a "West Coast" instrument involves two blocks. The first is a complex oscillator which supports both non-linear waveshaping and dynamic depth FM (Buchla 259 and Serge NTO). The second signal processor is a Lowpass Gate or "frequency and amplitude domain processor". The primary timbre generation is done directly with the oscillator, and the Lowpass Gate just tweaks the amplitude and frequency character. These two blocks are designed to be controlled by one complex envelope generator with multiple outputs routed to all the timbre factors.

Once again this is a simplifed explaination to illustrate subtle points. Actual usage involves a combination of both techniques.

In the 1200 series we have the groundwork laid for a complex "West Coast" voice. The JAG will convert two simple ADSR envelopes into a multiple output complex envelope generator. The Boogie Filter can be used as a Lowpass Gate but also supports the "East Coast" Moog type subtractive character. The Borg 2 Filter is a classic Lowpass Gate that can also be used like the "East Coast" MS20 subtractive filter.

The icing on the cake is the complex oscillator. The Wiard Synthesizer Mini-Wave and VCO (manufactured under license by Blacet Research) is a type of complex oscillator and non- linear waveshaper already well established. A lot of good work has been done with these Wiard designs. Improving on such a solid base is no easy task.

It would be great if a complex oscillator could support as many timbre modes as possible. Simultaneous support for multiple non-linear waveshaping, dynamic depth PM and wavetable would be ideal. If each of these was independent, you could look at them like geometric axis. Modulating the timbre parameters then becomes a matter of "walking about" in a large timbre space with multiple dimensions of simultaneous control. This is true timbre morphing and not just simple crossfading between timbres (which is good too).

This is where my research is currently focused. Exactly when the complex oscillator will be finished depends upon sales of the existing 1200 series modules. If the public is not interested in the extra "West Coast" synthesis methodology, it would be foolish to waste time and money on products for that purpose.

"East Coast" designs are as common as dandelions, but I feel support for subtractive synthesis should be included in a complete instrument. That is why the Wiard designs support BOTH East and West Coast synthesis methods. For example, any Wiard complex VCO will include classic subtractive waveform outputs in addition to the complex outputs.

I think that I need to focus on education to promote the idea of the more complex synthesis "West Coast" style. I am going to try and write manuals for the Boogie and Borg 2 modules that cover the less obvious operating modes. For the short term, I will be concentrating on that.
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