Wednesday, April 30, 2008

Struggles, the Teddy Bear

(So, yeah, this blog could be as much about my own personal neuroses as about the music that I write.)

I was watching some videos recently (via Synthtopia, I think) about electronic bagpipes.  And I'm thinking to myself, damn, these people have really focused on something that means a lot to them.  And I was jealous.  Yes, I was jealous of people playing bagpipes via midi.  Sheesh.

The thing about being an "electronic musician" is that we're not really obsessed about one thing that means a lot to us.  We're terribly open-minded.  If some new tool comes along that makes a sweet sound, we want one.  If it's got cool-looking blinky lights, so much the better.

Yes, yes, I'm fully aware that we lust about 30-year old synths as much as new-fangled beasts... but it's really a "rediscovery" of these things.  That had to go out of style before we could obsess about them again, since it was "new and cool" to own one.

This frustrates me.  I'd rather have some finely-crafted instrument that I truly cared about and could focus on.  Sure, sure, some ancillary stuff is all well and good: any true instrumentalist will have some means of fleshing out his music, be it a band or gear.

So I started wondering what it was that I really cared about.  Of course, the first thing I considered was trackers: it's what I sharpened my teeth on, and--yeah--to some extent, I still love the idea of just using a simple, free program to write music.  It's awesome.  But that's not what got me into music, and that's not what I really love.

My second thought was the Access Virus line of synths.  Their sound is, well, music to my ears.  I didn't grow up knowing about them... it's not what got me into music... so there's not a lot of history there, but it's all about the sound, which is what's most important to me.  So I'm considering it.

My third thought was less about a specific tool and more about a specific sound. For better or worse, I really like electronic plucky sounds (the stuff you typically hear arped) and thick, evolving pads.  They remind me of Tangerine Dream's early stuff, which is exactly why I got into electronic music.

(Coincidentally, Tangerine Dream just came up on my playlist.  Ricochet Part 2, in fact... a good example!)

And, yeah, that's really it.  That's what I love.  Sure, that doesn't translate well into a single tool to focus on, which is a shame... and the crux of my problem.  If it makes really nice bleepy sounds or long lush pads, I want it.  So does this actually help me in any way?  ...I dunno.

Anyway: food for thought.

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