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West Coast vs East coast
MUFF WIGGLER Forum Index -> Modular Synth General Discussion Goto page 1, 2, 3  Next [all]
Author West Coast vs East coast
magicfish
Currently I have just invested in my first eurorack synth (Pittsburgh system 10). I am doing research for future investments and was wondering what the pros and cons are to going west coast vs east coast.

I will be triggering the synth via my daw so I don't need a sequencer, and I want to use the synth for a broad range of musical purposes (bass, leads, Pads etc..)

Which style is more appropriate for the what I intend my synth to do if any. What are the pros and cons or each style or a hybrid?

PS. im a beginner
Cybananna
magicfish wrote:
broad range of musical purposes (bass, leads, Pads etc..)

PS. im a beginner


What you are describing is typical east coast.
ndkent
While one can definitely make a sound argument that one can make more interesting and unique and complex sounds with a modular, be they bass, leads, pads, etc., chances are the really classic ones of those and most of what you'd hear weren't done using a modular. Not that using one isn't usually fascinating and challenging.

As for East Coast West Coast, as I've been pointing out the last 5 years whenever I can, it does mean something, that's why it has traction. And I've been curious as to if anyone has better historical context.

The setup is basically about 10 years ago most everyone had heard of Moog modulars but few people owned them because few to none had been made since the mid 70s... but at the time (10 years ago) maybe 90% of modular systems out there were heavily influenced by Moog's designs from the mid 60s.

Okay, so given that, about 10 years ago give or take some interest started to perk up in people noticing Serge and especially Buchla had some fairly different synthesis tools. Buchla did not see a Moog when he made his synth and Serge was influenced by Buchla but by the mid 70s had lots of feedback from experienced Moog users. Both Buchla and Serge were West Coast based. Buchla not being influenced by Moog did have a different approach and toolset compared to Moog

Then a bit more than 10 years ago people started rebuilding synths based on Buchla and Serge designs. Actually STS had been building Serge synths all along and soon Buchla would build something new, but you had a situation where the general public wasn't very familiar with Buchla and Serge to begin with and then you had someone wanting to self promote but they didn't actually have a Serge or Buchla branded system. So the meme is "West Coast" is different than "East Coast" as a measure of distinction to follow in the good and bad Jazz and Rap branding tradition

Realistically one might have reasons to buy into a brand and be influenced by what is easily buy-able in a given module format, but really there is no good reason to decide or be restricted to a meme.

On the other hand definitely be open to finding out more, there are worthwhile reasons why people who identify with "West Coast" synthesis choose to promote themselves as that other than they didn't actually buy a Buchla (or Serge) branded system and not so many people even were familiar with what one was
kindredlost
I shall don my heresy suite...

Modulars (in general), are okay for bass and lead style voices. Not quite so good for pads as such. If you are talking about chords in a manner of polyphonic pads then it is a pretty tall order to get this right with a modular setup.

From a sound generating standpoint, I think there are very few real factors defining the differences between "west coast versus east coast". ADSR versus A/R. Discrete waveform (sine, triangle, sawtooth PWM) versus wavetable, phase displacement and wave folder oscillators. Filters or no filters etc..

I really think a Prophet 8 or Nord Lead 2 might suit what you are trying to do better. If you are also needing a gig-worthy setup for playing in a band with other musicians then the modular will hand you some extra hurdles to jump such as no memory, bulky/fiddly patching etc..

Of course I'd encourage anyone to play with a modular for a while and find out what they bring to the table. Modular systems are a real game changer in the way you approach sound thesis. For standard fare sound synthesis most any good polyphonic keyboard with a unison mode can provide almost all of what is needed.

So that is the heresy.

I started off with a Hammond organ, piano, string synth a single voice lead synth and a modular back in the 1980's. I eventually got a few more and added drum machines and a couple of polyphonic boards. The modular was my main way to do sequencing and sound effects. All before a PC or MIDI.

I now have plenty of keyboard synths (in storage) and am utilizing a large modular and a few soft synths with the computer DAW and (occasionally) midi. I don't gig anymore so it is really a different approach. If I had to play live with it, I'd be done in a few days. Dead Banana

Of course YMMV
Samuron
Umcorps


http://www.philosophy-index.com/logic/fallacies/false-dilemma.php
Cybananna
Samuron wrote:


Well said
Soundifferent
Just imagine: combining ADSR and AD envelopes, filtering wavefolded oscillators, VCAs and LPGs... That's the BEST coast!

Seriously: who choose when you can have both? SlayerBadger!
sduck
I guess since the forum went kaflooie for a bit there we might as well have this thread again. It comes around about every 6 months.

Personally, I don't think these 2 options are valid anymore, at least once you have enough experience with these instruments. Sure, you could limit yourself to one or the other, as limitations are sometimes what open creative doors, but why? Why not mix and match? Put the lime in the coconut, etc.

this:
Soundifferent wrote:

Seriously: who choose when you can have both? SlayerBadger!
ndkent


(for those who this is too obscure a reference, it happens to be art by Duchamp, the "West Coast" artist in the above jpg... who happened to live mostly in NYC...and you have to say the initials in French if you are wondering about the moderately risque caption)

nick - the former art professor
ignatius



VS








VS







really though.. it's just fine to combine them both w/the parts you like and make the system you like..

there is no 'VS' really.

FM and an oscilaltor w/a waveshaper can sound great through a typical low pass filter... etc etc..

find things you like the sound of and go there.
odecahedron
west coast guys wiggle like this:


east coast guys wiggle like this:
Stides
I am relatively new as well and went a different way. Instead of buying a whole system, I have been buying individual modules. I often consider the east vs west concept and honestly wish it had never been. I find myself trying to figure out the direction of my rig based on what is actually no longer valid classifications.

It's one thing to refer to moog as east, or buchla as west, but with euro the lines are very jaggy.
ignatius
Stides wrote:
I am relatively new as well and went a different way. Instead of buying a whole system, I have been buying individual modules. I often consider the east vs west concept and honestly wish it had never been. I find myself trying to figure out the direction of my rig based on what is actually no longer valid classifications.

It's one thing to refer to moog as east, or buchla as west, but with euro the lines are very jaggy.


exactly.. think about the sounds you want to make and what will help you get there.
emdot_ambient
sduck wrote:
Personally, I don't think these 2 options are valid anymore...


Agreed. The whole east/west classification pivoted more around interface philosophy than anything: Buchla favored non-traditional control interfaces and generative/randomized control systems; Moog favored traditional interfaces like keyboards and programmatic control systems like sequencers.

When you're controlling a synth with a DAW, you can do whatever the hell you want.

The only real synthesis differences between them were that Buchla preferred to build complexity into his sound generators, while Moog preferred to do that with subtractive filters and signal processors.

But everything is available to all in just about any format you want...and if it isn't there are DIY solutions for pretty much anything.

So...the REAL east vs west is no longer in your instrument, but in your DAW and in your compositional approach.

BUT...if you're thinking in terms of bass/lead/pad...and those being restricted to 12 tone tempered scales...you're firmly in east coast.
GuyaGuy
I find that it's overstated how much Moogs were made for more traditional musical contexts. Moog modular was used for a good amount of "out there" music. Moog has also said in interviews that there were debates about whether or not to make a keyboard because he wanted a new way of generating the new sounds. Modules like ring modulators and sample and hold weren't ever going to win over church organists of the time. It seems that the view that Moogs were made for more traditional music comes from the adoption of the later keyboards and the popularity of Switched On Bach.

Moog offered randomness just like Buchla through sample and hold as well as ways to get harsher sounds and rich non-filtered waves via FM and RM, etc.

And ZOMG! Buchla made a normal keyboard!!!!



http://www.audities.org/collection/buchla_238.html
ndkent
>
Agreed. The whole east/west classification pivoted more around interface philosophy than anything: Buchla favored non-traditional control interfaces and generative/randomized control systems; Moog favored traditional interfaces like keyboards and programmatic control systems like sequencers.

I think that's open to debate though there is a point to be made that the meme can apply to performance interface as a separate discussion from synthesis

Basically the first Buchla was a commission and the philosophy was initially adhered to to not provide a traditional keyboard with 12 notes to the octave though that could be achieved and later middle ground approaches and conventional keyboards were offered surely after years of requests.

Moog developed his tech as a commercial venture though aimed at artists and institutions. People requested and got keyboards with alternate controllers being a bit more on the back burner not that there weren't options like ribbons and percussion controllers early too. The Moog Scale Programmer was also out in those days.

Both favored sequencers, so that doesn't become a distinction of one over the other.

Oh and it's worth noting that while Switched on Bach was hugely influential causing other artists and companies getting in the game, and in a strange bit of irony, CBS, the Switched on Bach label struck a deal to build Buchla synths commercially. Still one can listen to other Carlos works of the early 70s like Timesteps or Sonic Seasonings and hear much less traditional approaches. Let alone, gasp other composers and their composition techniques. Both systems are toolsets so at best one can discuss strengths and weaknesses.

The controller debate does come into play in that piano layout keyboards did come late and in small numbers to the relatively smaller market share of Buchla inspired instruments, so there are few noted Buchla works that stick to a equal tempered scale
daverj
First, East & West coast isn't about the type of music created. It's about a design philosophy for the instrument. Switched on Bach was not the typical Moog music. It was a whacky cross-over album that was the first mainstream album with purely synthesizers and not a band.

Either instrument could make whatever type of music you wish. But why get caught up in a label given to those instruments decades after they were created? Today there are no restrictions of only being able to afford or use one style of instrument. The beauty of modular is that you can mix and match any different module you like with any other, no matter the design philosophy behind the individual modules.
soundwave106
East Coast vs. West Coast generally refers to "Moog vs. Buchla". There *did* seem to be some key distinctions, summarized (to me) as:

Buchla: Targeted towards the experimental synthesis community ala the Subotonik example posted above. Also used by sound designers (eg Suzanne Ciani)

Moog: Switched On Bach aside, its marketing was heavily aimed at pop music professionals. Used "experimentally" as well, but in a lot of those cases the Moog sequencer ruled the roost. So the experimental was often minimalism oriented (eg Berlin School, or even before that...)



If someone wants to post a painting to represent Moog modular type sequenced minimalism, feel free. lol

That's really the difference. It's a very 70s way of thinking. This is 2015 and there are *many* synthesis techniques in modular that have no coast at all. (EG: There's no obvious coast for sampling techniques, digital manipulation like granular, etc.) There is also no reason not to mix and match. Throw a big waveshaped drone from hell on your pretty modular transcription of Air On a G String? Why not? lol
angora
I find that the general timbres I produce on my Buchla are not all that far off from the timbres I used to make on my Moog. Even the stuff I used to do on my old Microwave XTk has a similar vibe. Maybe it is because I am from the mid-west, but I find the user has more to do with the sound than the synth does. Sure, the Buchla sounds different from the Moog, but it sounds about as different to a Moog as a Yamaha CS series does.

Point in case, isn't this all Serge?



Sounds a lot different than this.

FrankMurder
I think you should forget about east west... Forget about Serge Moog and Buchla... Reason being that so much more is available today. (Knowing history is good but you dont have to re live it step by step)

Why would you conform to a special type of oldschool?
When you can mix and match the ellements and make your own language.

I remember oldschool synth music, Vangelis, Bruce Hack, Deylia Derbishire, Jarre etc... I also remember Acid house, oldschool breakbeat/hardcore/, hip hop, techno. I also remember hearing Carl Craigs desire for the first time: beutifull string techno with a brekbeat, compleatly groundbreaking. I remember hearing aphex twin, I remember hearing squarepusher breaking boundrys between drum and bass and jazz. Boards of Canada paved the way...

If any of these artists had been thinking about just two schools of thought we would have a very limited selection of music.

I recomend you read upp on rythims you like, sound design in general and synthsis in general and then select the tools you want/need.

Dont be Berlin school or Detroit or New York. Forget east west and be your self smile

All the tools work together, read about the tools and then make new sounds and new music... Or what ever you want...
jc
angora wrote:

Point in case, isn't this all Serge?



Sounds a lot different than this.



Exactly....

And this doesn't sound too much like Switched On Bach lol

emdot_ambient
Is it East or West?

http://emdotambient.com/Music/Emdot_Ambient-Realizations_Of_Absolutism _Vol_I.mp3

The sound source on that is 6-channels of Model D Minimoog, nothing else (modulated in various ways by an ARP Sequencer and ARP Axxe, and run through an extreme EQ system and lots of FX).

The instruments would be considered East Coast...but the sound, to me, is neither East nor West...No Coast?
snufkin
lunetta are betta hihi
dubonaire
FrankMurder wrote:
I also remember hearing Carl Craigs desire for the first time: beutifull string techno with a brekbeat, compleatly groundbreaking.


Desire still makes me cry when I hear it. Such a simple masterpiece.
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