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WIGGLING 'LITE' IN GUEST MODE

Fascinating lecture on the history of Buchla at Synthplex
MUFF WIGGLER Forum Index -> Buchla, EMS & Serge Goto page 1, 2  Next [all]
Author Fascinating lecture on the history of Buchla at Synthplex
underthebigtree
Marc Doty gave an amazing presentation on the history of Don Buchla and his instruments at Synthplex 2019 in Burbank.

I wouldn't have missed it, and was delighted to be there and capture it for others who might want to enjoy it. Here you go!

Lewis#
Many thanks, very informative!
rkilman
Thanks for posting! At the 45 min mark, Marc Doty says he thinks Buchla should reissue the 700. Wonder if that's just wishful thinking or a hint at what's being considered at BUSA headquarters. I'd like to see it happen.
ModusOp
Saw this in my YouTube feed and was about to post it, but I see it's already here. w00t Watching now!
Peake
Thanks for that!

Marc has come a long way excepting not realizing the "east coast" "west coast" descriptors are delineations regarding the individual approaches of the designer, Moog being linear and Buchla being non-linear. His description of the 252e is apt in that regard, but then he rejects that Don's approach is very different, in rejecting the facts he just presented in terms of non-linearity etc.?

Yes, the sequencer was for creating individual events and stringing them together like tape splices. Don then added an analog input to the 200 series sequencers allowing for voltage control stage selection, which creates a non-linear transfer function, more than one dimension. This again is the multi-dimensional difference between coastal approaches. Then the MARF: Multiple Arbitrary Function Generator.

I know Don did keys and filters, BTW. Anyone who could read his list of modules knew that. It's about looking at the 259, which was nearly an instrument in and of itself, etc.
mutierend
I think Marc's point is that the "East vs West" dichotomy is tired and based on outmoded thinking. I agree with him.
Peake
=Spends an hour detailing how the Buchla is its own unique approach and philosophy toward sound generation, making music and the human machine interface (differing from the Moog) then says it's tiring when people point out and detail how the two approaches differ=


d'oh!
pines
The talk had its moments, but I did think that the focus was wobbling around a bit. It makes me wonder about what Buchla USA has in the works.
deltaphoenix
I don’t get Marc’s war on the terms West Coast & East Coast. I don’t see gangs of synthesist getting into the street and fighting over why their chosen instrument is better or more valid than the other. These are just general terms that help generally express a methodology, a way of thinking about sound generation and possibly an aesthetic. Just because Marc has worked at the Bob Moog foundation and now for BUSA doesn’t mean he gets to change the language around these two instruments. Why wasn’t he fighting this fight a few years ago if this is so important? I think because he believes the mystique around West Coast synthesis might keep some people from exploring it. I want BUSA to continue to exist and to sell modules (I have bought one new module from them). It almost feels like an attempt at revision of history.

In the past, West Coast synthesis may have been more impenetrable, obscure, academic and such. But let’s face it, Eurorack has helped more people get it. And furthermore, I bet most of the folks in Eurorack that have LPGs have LPFs. Yes, that can be getting away from the interaction with the instrument but not necessarily, there are lots of touch controllers and hands on sequencers in Euro too.

Ultimately, people are attracted to their instrument(s) of choice by personal factors: sound, look, maybe a musical hero used it, etc. The terms West Coast & East Coast haven’t kept from considering, buying, owning, exploring a slew of instruments. I also know that as a group, we are smart enough to realize that these 2 terms don’t describe every synth in the world and that there are paradigms for sound creation.
ArguZ
I actually do not think he caters for the die hard nerds but wants to get a broader audience to the format.
I am very welcoming that idea.
I also see the Euro line as gateway drug.
Get more people into Buchla, make music smile
AutomaticGainsay
deltaphoenix wrote:
I don’t get Marc’s war on the terms West Coast & East Coast.


My war on the coastal metaphor started when I was irritated by the historically inaccurate characterization of Bob Moog's work back when I worked at the Bob Moog Foundation. Because my work at the Bob Moog Foundation was more than just being a cheerleader for Bob and actually included a great deal of further research into the history of Electronic Music, I began to realize that the West Coast characterization most popularly stated on the Internet was ALSO inaccurate.

I'm not sure what you think I do, so I'll just tell you. I'm a historian. The history of synthesizers wasn't perverted by me, it was perverted by the Internet. I've spent my life researching the inventors and composers who embody this history... which is why I have held the jobs I have, why I've been able to interview the people I have, why I am interviewed about these topics, etc. There isn't a single thing about history that I assert that I can't back up with cold hard facts... most of which I did NOT read on the Internet.



deltaphoenix wrote:
I don’t see gangs of synthesist getting into the street and fighting over why their chosen instrument is better or more valid than the other.


It's not about "better" or "more valid," and as that never entered into anything I said, I find it interesting that you brought it up. It's about how history actually happened and what factors categorize the initially-similar but eventually-different approaches between two inventors.

deltaphoenix wrote:
These are just general terms that help generally express a methodology, a way of thinking about sound generation and possibly an aesthetic.


This was stated in the presentation, and especially in my "Littoral Myth" presentation at Knobcon which will be posted soon. As long as the terms "East Coast" and "West Coast" accurately, or at least generally describe two methodologies (which is something I could argue against, but I won't), that's fine. But laymen want to get into specifics like "East Coast was invented for traditional music," and "West Coast doesn't use keyboards," that's where the inaccuracy inspires me to describe the actual history.

deltaphoenix wrote:
Just because Marc has worked at the Bob Moog foundation and now for BUSA doesn’t mean he gets to change the language around these two instruments.


Just because you are a person on the Internet doesn't mean you get to question demonstrably researched information without evidence to support your questioning. If there is history revision occurring, it is the thing I am fighting.


deltaphoenix wrote:
Why wasn’t he fighting this fight a few years ago if this is so important?


I was. But is there some sort of time limit on when a thing can be stated? Are you asserting that my premises are invalid because you didn't experience me making them at a time of your personal choosing???



deltaphoenix wrote:
I think because he believes the mystique around West Coast synthesis might keep some people from exploring it. I want BUSA to continue to exist and to sell modules (I have bought one new module from them). It almost feels like an attempt at revision of history.


There is no mystique around what people call "West Coast Synthesis." My point, as stated in the presentations I've done about this topic, is that Don didn't invent a musical style called "West Coast." He created tools for traditional Electronic Music (the specific style that developed over the 20th Century and hit its height in the 50s and 60s) that made the intentions and desires of composers of that specific style easily able to be realized. What kids today make of these tools does not define them, except to their specific culture. And that's fine. But I want to make sure that people know the actual history, and not the often-inaccurate characterizations made by laymen.

deltaphoenix wrote:
Ultimately, people are attracted to their instrument(s) of choice by personal factors: sound, look, maybe a musical hero used it, etc.


Absolutely. The last thing I'm trying to do is to interfere with artists choosing their instruments. But that's the thing... an artist can't effectively choose their instrument if inaccurate labels, intentions, etc. are slapped on them.

deltaphoenix wrote:
The terms West Coast & East Coast haven’t kept from considering, buying, owning, exploring a slew of instruments. I also know that as a group, we are smart enough to realize that these 2 terms don’t describe every synth in the world and that there are paradigms for sound creation.


Let it be known, Muff Wigglers... nothing you see me present in regard to Buchla is aimed at you. I don't make presentations for the 50 people on Earth who love, use, and are knowledgeable about Buchla function and history. You guys already know this stuff. The rest of the world has no idea what Buchla is or does, and needs someone to tell them in plain and certain terms. In the same way Buchla's legacy is being promoted by Eurorack in many ways technologically, Buchla's historic and conceptual legacy needs to be explored and shared as well.

Or, at least that's what I think.
lumin
I appreciate what you do and the time you have put in. Thank you sir.
ws9848
lumin wrote:
I appreciate what you do and the time you have put in. Thank you sir.


Same here. Thank you
deltaphoenix
Marc,thanks for taking the time address pieces of my post. I look forward to your "Littoral Myth" presentation being posted. So, it seems like we are in agreement, to some degree about what the terms East Coast and West Coast represent.

I think of it as something like describing a band by forcing them into genres. Or even ascribing the genre to the band due to one song. I used to get bent about some of that.

Also, I will concur that when I first began exploring Buchla, and unraveling the terms East Coast and West Coast - my initial understanding was around around the difference in fundamental technique for generating sound and what the main methods were for changing timbre as well as the idea that West Coast lent itself to more "experimental" or "avant garde" music because so many of the modular controllers aren't neccesarily tied to western scales. Of course, after time, study, hands on experience - my understanding is different.

All of the paragraph above does really support what you are saying not applying to those of us in this Forum and actually own Buchla systems.

One thing I do want to address is your "person on the internet" remark...Why yes I am, among a whole bunch of other things. I am also a father, husband and intrepid explorer of sounds and so much more. I am a Buchla customer, enthusiast and fan. In fact, I was supporting you when others were saying what the hell after your first NAMM videos. I have had several long, awesome conversations with Eric and you and I were on an email thread together when I needed a new 1/4" output expander for my 207e. I know what you do and have done professionally & in fact, it seems like one of the best careers around and I could be a little jealous smile

My intent isn't/wasn't to slam you but trying to remove these terms does feel a little against the grain, to me at least. This is a serious question: Did Don ever object to the term West Coast? For that matter, did Bob object to the term East Coast? I can't imagine Don being unaware of the term.

Lastly, I look forward to setting some time aside so I can go through your ARP 2600 video series while I am sitting in front of my TTSH. I do appreciate your thorough videos, thank you.
syncretism
AutomaticGainsay wrote:
"Now, don't misquote me and say I'm against keyboards. I've been misquoted on that one enough. A keyboard is a useful input structure if what you want is rapid simultaneous access to a large number of sounds of fixed pitch, but it's much less useful for controlling some other aspects of sound."
-DB



That Dave Barry, such a hoot.

But really, my biggest complaint about the video is that "All Mod Cons" Automatic Gainsay and his neckties have yet to return. wink
mutierend
I thought the 50 or so people in this forum were all of Buchla's customers, plus Suzanne Ciani. wink

I kid, I kid.

Dead Banana
deltaphoenix
This article on Reverb just hit my inbox today. "The 10 Types of Synthesis". Have a look at this, specifically #10
https://reverb.com/news/10-types-of-synthesis?utm_campaign=20190403+D% 26S+%28Synth+Segment%29&utm_medium=Email&utm_source=MarketingCloud
mutierend
deltaphoenix wrote:
This article on Reverb just hit my inbox today. "The 10 Types of Synthesis". Have a look at this, specifically #10
https://reverb.com/news/10-types-of-synthesis?utm_campaign=20190403+D% 26S+%28Synth+Segment%29&utm_medium=Email&utm_source=MarketingCloud


It's just more pointless proliferation of the dichotomy. The article says that "West Coast synthesis" eschews the use of a keyboard, but there's a picture of a keyboard on the Easel right there. It says filtering is achieved with a LPG, but the 291e and 267e would beg to differ; the 296e is raising its hand in protest too.

Point is, there is no such thing as "West Coast synthesis." It is not an alternative to subtractive synthesis. That's just silly.
deltaphoenix
I laughed about the Easel too but to be fair the description says "the traditional piano-style keyboard is often eschewed in favor of sequencers, touch panels, and other tools for interaction".

The first type of Synthesis in the "article" is Subtractive and it goes into East Coast/West Coast there too.

For better or for worse, these terms aren't going away anytime soon.
mutierend
deltaphoenix wrote:

For better or for worse, these terms aren't going away anytime soon.


The Reverb article about the two approaches says, "West Coast is much more experimental by nature, while East Coast synthesis places a premium on traditional harmonic musicality."

But then there's this, from George Harrison in 1969, on a Moog, as one example:



I know it's splitting hairs, but the core problem with this delineation, in my mind, is that the "type" of synthesis is not apparent, or relevant, to the listener. If you played that George Harrison album and then played Silver Apples of the Moon, the listener would likely not know or recognize the difference between the two instruments.



If the delineation were based on Don's philosophy about Buchla instruments, then maybe I could see that point, e.g., his reasoning for banana vs tinijax. https://web.archive.org/web/20110911051048fw_/http://www.buchla.com/se ries200e_faq.html

Perhaps this is a "dancing about architecture" discussion....
Ceres
The idea of calling 50’s-60’s electronic music “traditional” is worrisome to me as it was a time of experimentation and IMO ill defined and largely tape based. What is the definition of traditional electronic music from those periods?

While I wholeheartedly agree the the east/west coast synthesis concept was an idea made up later on, it isn’t completely unprecedented. Within the realm of 20th century classical music, minimalism, what have you, there is a recongnized dichotomy from west coast artists such as La Monte Young and Terry Riley with rural, working class, earthy backgrounds and east coast elite, well bred and educated educated artist such as Reich. The Buchla was born in the SF Tape Music Center. I think there is a strong argument to be made that while Don Buchla and Bob Moog were doing the same thing at approximately the same time that the reason they did it in such different ways because of where they were and the musicians who gave them direction. In short, I think a very strong and scholarly argument could be made for an east and west coast dichotomy.
Umcorps
Quote:
Perhaps this is a "dancing about architecture" discussion....


More specifically, it is mostly an "Americans dancing about American architecture" discussion.

There is a world beyond the boundaries of the USA. It must be really hard for the folk at IRCAM to know where they fit in when France doesn't even have an east coast.

And, as for this little Londoner, well....

papz
lol thumbs up
Putney is South Coast of River Thames... and Paris is the Center of the World. w00t
mutierend
I'm really enjoying this discussion.

I like something Don wrote: "The designer can provide the user with whatever interface he likes, and proceed to design circuitry that efficiently implements the desired functionality. The user need never know the circuit design, and should not be able to readily discern its premises.... We define the 200e synthesizer as analog. By that, we are describing the aspect that the user contacts as analog. The underlying circuitry is a hybrid mix, constantly flowing from one domain to the other - not even predictable from one module to the next - always designed for uncompromising performance - never for adherence to a design style."
Peake
Multiple ARBITRARY Function Generator.

"...based on random choice or personal whim, rather than any reason or system."

Source of UNCERTAINTY.

"...a situation in which something is not known, or something that is not known or certain."
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