Deliberately avoiding popular products.

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mousegarden
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Deliberately avoiding popular products.

Post by mousegarden » Wed May 02, 2018 3:47 am

Too much time on my hands again, or am I trying to avoid something?
I think Brian Eno said that as soon as you can go into a shop and buy a box that will enable you to make whatever the current popular music is just by pressing a button or by playing a few presets then you know it's time to move on and that genre is well and truly dead.
My buying decisions regarding equipment are changing, I hear people going on about this wonderful module or FX unit, and they like it because it can reproduce sounds that they've heard already made by people who's music they like. It's a bit like record companies only signing artists who make music like they've got already, but this approach only produces a locked circle of unoriginality. You may make a quick buck selling what's familiar, but your company won't go down in history or be remembered for making any decisions that are truly original or groundbreaking. The same reasoning applies to equipment choices as well.
I posted elsewhere that I'm looking for a reverb unit. I was going to get a Space, but why? I'm as guilty as anyone else, I like those long reverbs that take days to decay, I can create instant albums just by feeding in arbitrary synth sounds. I was going to buy a Clouds, but I know I'd be tempted to make those ambient washes that everyone else uses it for. I didn't buy either of these units, I don't want to create yet more anonymous wishy-washy ambient wall paper that has no individuallity or originality about it. I listen to reams of this stuff, by myself and others, and most of it could have been done by anyone, "ambient music" come on, it's been done, by two people, Harold Budd and Brian Eno, everything else is just a pale imitation, this is a genre that was perfect straight off the bat, and I was always very dubious about early imitators. Some things come along that should just be left alone, the envelope does "not" need pushing, it's the right size already.
Equipment choices are becoming more difficult these days, buying vintage stuff isn't the answer, also, at times wer'e made to feel "left out" or even worse "left behind" if we don't take on-board certain things, computers are the obvious one, but these days if you're a keyboard player and don't have a modular and a rack of pedals then you obviously aern't where it's at man.
We buy stuff and make equipment choices that enable us to make our music as easily and as trouble free as posdible, well, I do anyway, if that's a Yamaha PSR a Buchla or an MPC, it makes no difference as long as "it serves you" but I'm wondering if the cart is pulling the horse these days. There are people out there for whom equipment is an end in itself, not a means to an end and I'm meeting a lot of these people lately. I'm looking for band members, folks to play with, but all the ones I've met so far only want to talk about gear, and collect gear for its own sake. I'm not critisining that, it's up to them, and it can be interesting and just pure fun to have a beer and talk about our "stuff"
Tools of our trade? if I'm not happy with my tools or I don't know which way to go I become confused and frustrated and I can't concentrate on my music. But I have to look to myself to make gear choices, no amount of posts on forums or talking to to others will make a decision for me, It's at times like this that "getting back to basics" tend to rear its ugly head, as we all know going back to a piano or an aoustic guitar isn't the answer, or is it? Sometime I do wonder.
And are DJ's really necessary? But I'm not even going touch that one...

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Post by dubonaire » Wed May 02, 2018 4:14 am

1. I think you should try to explore contentment in a situation that most people would die for: living in the countryside, not working, free to make music.

2. DJs are not necessary. But do they help people enjoy themselves, and can they create moments of genius, most definitely. DJing is one of, if not the most, fulfilling things I've ever done. If you've never had the experience, you might never understand.

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Post by Muzone » Wed May 02, 2018 4:37 am

I try to avoid anything that has a "recognisable sound" either by not using the product or using it in an unexpected way

Would be quite disappointed if someone said "Oh yeah, that classic xxxxx sound, nice" about anything I recorded......

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Post by Panason » Wed May 02, 2018 5:21 am

The point of synthesizers is that you can make your own sounds. The rest just depends on what you're trying to achieve. Any combination of synths and effects boxes can be used to make electronic music that people will enjoy.

Electronic music is not the same as music played by a band. A guy pressing buttons and turning knobs, or just clicking around on a laptop is not a performer in the same way as someone playing a keyboard or guitar, drums, bass. It's a different genre and that's where DJs come in. No band can reproduce what a DJ can do and vice versa.

It's easy to get lost in gear lust. The more synths you have the less you'll use any of them and it's often an attempt to overcome writer's block. And sometimes it can work, a new synth can inspire you to make something fresh, a new processor can give you a different sound but you have to know when enough is enough and really explore the sonic potential of what you have. It's usually more than you first thought.
And yes you can start with presets and tweak them, or not. The music you make with them is what matters. Or you could just sample yourself banging on metal pots or making mouth noises and make great stuff just with that. You can use a cold digital synth and make it sound like a modular with the right processing. Just focus on an idea and make it work, or dump it and move on.
People actually like recognizable sounds... the distorted guitar sound is still going strong and so is the 303. Both of them have been done to death but can still be used to great effect. No need to re-invent the wheel.

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Post by Shledge » Wed May 02, 2018 5:37 am

I always found this logic to be stupid at best.

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Re: Deliberately avoiding popular products.

Post by Carrousel » Wed May 02, 2018 5:53 am

mousegarden wrote: And are DJ's really necessary? But I'm not even going touch that one...
I can tell you've never heard a Villalobos set :party:
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Post by GuyaGuy » Wed May 02, 2018 12:15 pm

I think it's good to remember that different people have different approaches to music. Some people want to learn guitar or keys to play Depeche Mode covers, others want to try to make groundbreaking music.

If we're talking about people who want to make their own unique music, even the most groundbreaking artist can be attracted to standard equipment. For example Radiohead uses super popular faves like Telecasters, Prophet 08s, and DL4s, and they all sound like exactly what they are and like they do in countless YT demos. But they make unique music with them--fancy chords and time signatures, rich textures, etc. At the same time, some musicians can take a trendy item and fuck with it in a way that goes in the opposite direction of how most people use it, whether it's RH using a Kaoss Pad intended for DJ sets on live vocals or St Vincent squeezing out gated guitar riffs that almost sound like they're from a synth.

As for gear talk, it seems it's the same with other fields. Woodworkers talk tables saws, race car drivers talk engines, espresso enthusiasts talk burrs.

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Post by Hi5 » Wed May 02, 2018 12:26 pm

There are definitely some pieces of gear that have a limited range, a "sound" and arguably are a one trick pony. I avoid these things completely.

However, we should also acknowledge that some gear is so open that many people use it in only the most superficial ways. Hence hearing the same preset sounds in a lot of music. Something like an MPC or a modular can be these near infinite sources of inspiration but this ultimately comes down to the user.
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Post by ersatzplanet » Wed May 02, 2018 12:39 pm

All guitars basically sound the same. It is how you treat, or mis-treat them that gives the differences that sets apart every rock genre from each other and from folk and country and every other type of music that uses guitars. Everyone with a Stratocaster sound the same? Everyone with a Les Paul? Same goes with synthesizer modules but even more so since they are much more easily modified and changed.

If your module selection sounds to much like somebody else's, then you are not wiggling enough.
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Post by mt3 » Wed May 02, 2018 9:26 pm

I deliberately avoid finding out what's popular in the first place. Then I tend not to have the problem of avoiding things.

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Re: Deliberately avoiding popular products.

Post by Ra » Thu May 03, 2018 5:38 am

mousegarden wrote:It's at times like this that "getting back to basics" tend to rear its ugly head, as we all know going back to a piano or an aoustic guitar isn't the answer, or is it?
How is this not the answer?
Some of these random noodlings with a bongo or some other drum got much more flow than most of the deliberate gear wiggles. For me at least.

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Post by kcd06 » Thu May 03, 2018 11:22 am

Language and literacy are so over. There are only so many letters, and they all have been used to death by other people. It doesnt matter if you use hammer and chisel, pen and paper, a typewriter or computer, you are just mucking about with old dead bits that have been regurgitated countless times before.

Art is so over. Blue has been used since before the dawn of homo sapiens, its never changed, and its tiresome and beyond passe now.

Cockroaches havent changed in 100,000,000 years. Theyre boring and gross, and seriously stuck in a rut. Boycott cockroaches until they get with current trends.



Or...

Make the music you like, find interesting, challenging, whatever. Ignore other people who complain that it sounds like artist (n) or from music trend (q3). Maybe you wont get paid for it, maybe you will, but that wasnt the point of the discussion. Find your own personal musical evolution, even if its paved with the colorless pedestrian dreams of rabid mundanes listening to mindless pop.

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Post by ersatzplanet » Thu May 03, 2018 11:43 am

kcd06 wrote: Art is so over. Blue has been used since before the dawn of homo sapiens, its never changed, and its tiresome and beyond passe now.
I'm going to be one of "those guys" - Blue pigments have only been used since the Egyptians figured out how to make the pigment. Only a little over 6000 years.

The history of blue - https://mymodernmet.com/shades-of-blue-color-history/
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Post by kcd06 » Thu May 03, 2018 2:03 pm

Blue pigments have only been used since the Egyptians figured out how to make the pigment.
Oh. So, in order for a thing to exist, it must have a human to interact with it? Interesting point of view.

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Post by GrantB » Thu May 03, 2018 10:08 pm

Clearly DIY is the only way to go. Just make sure to roll your own capacitors. Every other asshole out there is using Nichicons, and you don't want to be like them, right?

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Post by mousegarden » Sat May 05, 2018 2:00 am

Sorry folks, been away.
Yikes, opened a can of worms here.
I suppose, ultimately, it depends what you want to achieve with your music.
If your main goal is commercial succes them recognisable sounds, elements, formulas, are completely necessary, some do it literally, others at least try and ad a few new elements to move things on, you can't be too radical though, otherwise you loose your target audience., that's my opinion anyway.
I wouldn't call a lot of my music commercial, some is, and it stays within very recognisable boundaries, but thats fine, I like it regardless of it being cliched.
The rest of my music doesn't make any effort to be anything, and I don't care, it conjures up feelings in me that I like, if others like it it's a bonus, but my aim isn't to please anyone but myself.
As for tools, I like using recognisable sounds purely to take the piss sometimes, in a sarcastic way, or as a corny contrast in a pure noise piece.
It's difficult with instruments like an acoustic guitar or a piano to be radical and new these days, that's why all my piano music is very traditional in its nature, I can't compete with experimental pianists of the past or present, there's no point, it really has all been done. It's like picking up a guitar and going "plonk plink plonk" everyone thinks you're trying to be Derek Bailey
As for DJ's, I've never liked discos, and I can't dance, so that might explain why I don't get them, I dance like a demented robot, or a rag doll, people just laugh, it's not good.

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Post by lisa » Sat May 05, 2018 2:59 am

You should go out and dance for the fun of it. Who cares what others think? :)

Also, I get the allure of avoiding popular gear but as I grow older I feel I don’t have the time to care about such things. I get the gear I like and make music that I think is good. Popular gear or not, it doesn’t matter to me.
Icy and melodic braindance/IDM winter track. ❄️


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Post by dubonaire » Sat May 05, 2018 6:23 am

mousegarden wrote:Yikes, opened a can of worms here.
What were you hoping for? No response? Banal acquiescence?

Just let it go, let it all out. That's music making.

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Post by notmiserlouagain » Sat May 05, 2018 12:09 pm

Avoiding popular products...
...sounds like an artistic concept to me. I´ve witnessed worse.
You could call it "The Unpopular Project" :doh:

If it works for you?

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Post by facklr » Sat May 05, 2018 1:00 pm

dubonaire wrote:1. I think you should try to explore contentment in a situation that most people would die for: living in the countryside, not working, free to make music.

2. DJs are not necessary. But do they help people enjoy themselves, and can they create moments of genius, most definitely. DJing is one of, if not the most, fulfilling things I've ever done. If you've never had the experience, you might never understand.
This is the Beethoven's 9th Ode To Joy section of forum responses.

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Post by dubonaire » Sat May 05, 2018 3:52 pm

facklr wrote:
dubonaire wrote:1. I think you should try to explore contentment in a situation that most people would die for: living in the countryside, not working, free to make music.

2. DJs are not necessary. But do they help people enjoy themselves, and can they create moments of genius, most definitely. DJing is one of, if not the most, fulfilling things I've ever done. If you've never had the experience, you might never understand.
This is the Beethoven's 9th Ode To Joy section of forum responses.
Beethoven could score my life.

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Post by mousegarden » Sun May 06, 2018 3:35 am

dubonaire wrote:
facklr wrote:
dubonaire wrote:1. I think you should try to explore contentment in a situation that most people would die for: living in the countryside, not working, free to make music.

2. DJs are not necessary. But do they help people enjoy themselves, and can they create moments of genius, most definitely. DJing is one of, if not the most, fulfilling things I've ever done. If you've never had the experience, you might never understand.
This is the Beethoven's 9th Ode To Joy section of forum responses.
Beethoven could score my life.
Aaaahh, good old LVB, perfection rarely occurs more than once.
Beethoven is one of those people that no matter what type of music you're into, there must be "something" by him that appeals to you, listening to Beethoven is like listening to life itself. It's impossible to choose just one piece, but the Late Quartets do it for me, no matter what mood I'm in. They are strange, in places they sound exactly like Miles Davis's early period.
Last edited by mousegarden on Sun May 06, 2018 4:31 pm, edited 1 time in total.

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Post by umma gumma » Sun May 06, 2018 4:23 pm

I'm still learning to use the gear I have, to it's fullest potential

although with all the great reviews & info out there, it sure is tempting to rush out and buy things:

" if I only had "X", everything would just be peachy!! "

:D

I guess I'm a selfish musician: I don't really care what other people think & am not consciously copying anybody's sound or technique. In the end it's all about making myself happy & exercising my own demons

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Post by mousegarden » Sun May 06, 2018 4:33 pm

umma gumma wrote:In the end it's all about making myself happy & exercising my own demons
Or creating your own angels.

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Post by chaosick » Sun May 06, 2018 4:36 pm

mousegarden wrote:
dubonaire wrote:
facklr wrote:
dubonaire wrote:1. I think you should try to explore contentment in a situation that most people would die for: living in the countryside, not working, free to make music.

2. DJs are not necessary. But do they help people enjoy themselves, and can they create moments of genius, most definitely. DJing is one of, if not the most, fulfilling things I've ever done. If you've never had the experience, you might never understand.
This is the Beethoven's 9th Ode To Joy section of forum responses.
Beethoven could score my life.
Aaaahh, good old LVB, perfection rarely occurs more than once.
Beethoven is one of those people that no matter what type of music you're into, there must be "something" by him that appeals to you, listening to Beethoven is like listening to life itself. It's impossible to choose just one piece, but the Late Quartets do it for me, no matter what mood I'm in. They are strange, in places they sound exactly like Miles Davis's early period.
The point about Beethoven intersecting with Miles is an important one, beyond the fact that jazz is a syncretic art form that comes both from European classical traditions as well as African ones; on a more abstract level, I truly believe that something ineffable and intersecting happens when people strive to create and explore to their full potential, however far apart they may be in space and time. For that reason alone, it's wrong to stick too much to genres or groups if you're trying to follow your own vision. As an old friend once said about someone else he knew, "Just because we both take pictures doesn't mean we have anything in common.."
Last edited by chaosick on Sun May 06, 2018 4:37 pm, edited 1 time in total.

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