3 records into this set with my afternoon coffee:
Knock em down!!!
What did you think of Rock n Roll Nightmare?
Yeah, Korg and Yamaha make quality gear. It’s too bad Roland has turned to shit.
Interesting. If I were to guess what kind of equipment you had used for acid duties back in the day, I’d say Novation Bass Station or something to that effect, although it simply might’ve been more of a UK thing.
I’ve never understood the appeal of those boxes, but then again I’m more of a DAW kind of guy. Same with Nords to some extent.
Hopefully you at least got a good price for it.
The Elektron boxes are incredible actually… I also had the sampler they made. You can do some incredible stuff with both of them that I haven’t seen any other hardware match with programming ability - I’ve only seen this capability matched in software such as Ableton Live. Each parameter of every sound can be both tied to specific notes as well as randomly generated on the fly.
The 777 is also a pretty great synth… had something like 32 knobs on the front and was capable of producing a very wide range of analogue sounds beyond just 303 stuff.
How long have you been producing, and are you using any gear or just digital setup? You can do so much with a computer now, its hard to justify the cost of gear unless you just have the money. But its also just not quite the same as sitting down with synths and boxes… I get burnt out on computer programming much easier
Currently playing - Jim Sullivan - Lonesome Picker:
I’m sure they’re great, it’s just that I freak out whenever I am faced with a piece of gear which doesn’t have a keyboard attached to it. Well, maybe not freak out, but I definitely fail to connect with it on an emotional level and I’m not even that much of a keyboardist.
I’ve never gotten into hardware sequencers because I’m more of a millenial (I hate it, but what can I do about it) and prefer doing rhythmic shit on Ableton. I guess I could get into some Circlon action or whatever, but if I were faced with choosing between a nice groovebox and a proper synth, I’d choose a synth without a second thought. This isn’t because I disdain grooveboxes, it’s just that I don’t need them to make music in this day and age and since I don’t have money to burn and musical gear is remarkably expensive, I prefer purchasing FX, comps or synths instead of grooveboxes. Also, there is a saying that in order to like Elektron, you have to do things in their way; I’m not sure how true it is, but programming their gear seems a bit like a daunting task.
I’ve been dabbling with production for about 3 years or so. I’ve been using Ableton Live and yes, I also love hardware, it’s much more inspiring than software alone, although I must say software can be incredibly rewarding and powerful as well. It’s just that there is something magical about firing up a piece of gear and starting making music with it, especially when your equipment is limited in some ways.
My first hardware synth that I ever bought was Arturia Minibrute and it’s still my favorite. People say it’s metallic, industrial and harsh and they’re right. The thing is I don’t give a single fuck and I love this machine to death, potbellied synth retards can hug their ‘warm’ Junos 106 or whatever boring pieces of crap they have and can play Jump for the rest of eternity for all I fucking care. Steiner-Parker filter is harsh, its resonance is super aggressive, the gain staging of the oscillator is super hot, it’s got only one oscillator, it’s all of those things, but I don’t care, I love how filthy and corrosive it can sound. I love its built-in feedback loop and I especially love it when you plug the headphone output into the audio input and then you effectively get two independent feedback loops, one pre-mixer and another one post-mixer and this is when things get really interesting.You can play with it without even engaging any audio sources or you can program it in a traditional fashion and then dial in any amount of filth you’d like. It’s super easy to use and can be super inspiring.
I also have a Waldorf Pulse 2 and a Waldorf Blofeld desktop. Pulse 2 is a lovely monosynth with just the right amount of tweakability and a gorgeous, luscious, beefy sound; it doesn’t matter that it’s only got DCOs, loads of bottom end there. Some people say they prefer it to their Moog Voyagers, I wouldn’t know. Others even claim it’s the best monosynth of the last 20 years. I wouldn’t know about it either. All I know it’s a truly great mono. It likewise has a ladder-ish 4-pole LP mode that Minibrute lacks, so it can make those nice Moogy basses. With Blofeld, I have a bit of a love-hate relationship: it can sound absolutely amazing, but you need to take some time to program it and the fact that I only have a desktop version really prevents me from connecting with it on a deeper level. Besides, its multitimbrality is a joke, some pages are not directly accessible from the front panel, the effects are of rather poor quality, especially reverb, its DSP is not powerful enough to provide a truly satisfactory polyphony, some bugs etc. It’s also got that ‘veil’ over its sound, not sure whether it’s filter or something else, I try to do away with it whenever I can by implementing Filter FM. I mostly use it for glitchy pads and characteristically digital timbres.
I bought a DSI OB6 about the time Korg Prologue was about to hit the streets and OB6’s prices dropped drastically then. It’s my first analog poly and its sound is unbelievable. There is something uncannily magical and special about SEMs, they’re the most beautiful sounding things man has ever created. I’m not an analog purist, but SEM’s basic tone and its ‘granularity’ is just indescribable, it’s almost sonically palliative so to speak, it begs to be tweaked and cherished. It’s ravishing to create low filtered pads with just a little bit of crossmod between oscillators going on so that the pitch can get that ‘wobbly’ character. Brasses with Filter FM going on and aftertouch routed to LFO amount are just unbelievably expressive and beautiful. And the notch mode is just wondrous.
With that being said, I love built-in Ableton synths as well, especially Operator and Wavetable. While digital doesn’t always offer everything, I think that if a digital synth’s flexible enough, has a proper mod matrix and an adequate number of audio rate LFOs and loopable envelopes, it’s very easy to push it in the more analog-y direction and actually explore sonic areas no analog has ever visited, which is obviously amazing. Wavetable is capable of all that and sounds amazing; it’s also super easy to get those clanging, sampler-y 80s arps by using FM section and simple waveforms, phase distortion sounds wonderful as well. Operator is likewise incredibly powerful when you know how to use it. I especially love ‘drawing’ two waveforms and then FMing them with looping triangles or sines, so that there is enough movement going on. Feedback FM is incredibly powerful as well and one of the best pads I’ve ever created was programmed by blending 2 saws with a Feedback FM going on and its amount being controlled by the LFO, a little bit of sub, some noise, a high-res filter sweep and some sine waveshaping applied to the signal at the filter stage: the results were astounding (some chorus and reverb obviously helped as well).
Hardware and software are, at the end of the day, quite complimentary in my book. It’s wonderful hardware is making a comeback now with the whole Behringer thing going on and the ascent of extremely powerful FPGA architectures. Hopefully, analog will finally become a lot more affordable and there will be more digital hardware actually worth getting (spec-wise and sound-wise).
And Roland sucks balls.
You have some nice stuff there @Mickey13
I bet that Arturia Minibrute is great… I don’t have any experience with their hardware but they have consistently made some of the best software synth emulations on the market. I can’t imagine their hardware being anything but excellent.
Plus actual vintage synths come with a host of problems due to their age… sometimes the extra bother just isn’t worth it. People get way too caught up in ideas about what things are or supposed sonic qualities which really can’t be distinguished by anyone other than the obsessive.
The capabilities of software now is incredible… I can’t imagine having started out in this world back when I was 13 trying to make music on trackers…
Sounds like you have a pretty good handle on things.
Today’s first listen is Killing Joke:
More Killing Joke tonight before settling into the night’s viewing
Let England Shake 2011 album by PJ Harvey.
This thing right now. Pretty neat as it features dialogue and sfx and music from the film, though it’s not in stereo which is a shame.
I love it when soundtracks have clips from the movie included, although its barely ever done. My problem with OSTs is that they are usually so repetitive with all the variations of the same song… its nice to have some other stuff in there, and having dialogue/sfx helps give it extra character
Listening to this at the moment, plus smoking a cigar and having a couple of shots of ‘1920’ brandy.
Rockabilly… before there was rockabilly:
Kyuss - Welcome to sky Motel
Fu Manchu The action is go
Be sure to check out their new Pigments VST, sounds great tbqh.
Yeah, it isn’t worth it really. I think the trickiest thing about getting that vintage vibe is the internal saturation (or the right DA conversion in the case of old digitals), but other than that, it’s not that difficult to achieve. Also, let’s face it - it is as much about processing as it is about old gear. BoC apparently have used either a Yamaha An1x or a Yamaha CS1x and both of these synths would probably be discarded as cold and lifeless by some more fanatical synth aficionados. Most of analog purists are a little deranged.
With that being said, I almost did buy an Ensoniq ESQ-1 at one point, but the transaction ultimately fell through. I love Ensoniqs, but the trouble of having to deal with the antediluvian gear is one big pain in the ass.
I’m still learning stuff. Mixing things is particularly one of the biggest challenges about the whole thing. It’s all trial-and-error basically and you can do one thing in a myriad of different ways, so it’s quite messy, not gonna lie.
Some stuff I’ve been listening to:
Steve Roach - Empetus (1986)
The greatest 80s film soundtrack to a movie that never was.
Brian Eno - Nerve Net (1992)
One of my favorites, it’s probably Eno’s most peculiar release, maybe that’s why I like it so much. Eno’s experimental vibes combined with the sound of the early 1990s.
Tim Hecker - Mirages (2004)
Slowdive - Just for a Day (1991)
Primal is probably one of the most intense tracks ever recorded. Amazing.
Ben Frost - Theory of Machines (2006)
Pan Sonic - Kulma (1998)
The Caretaker - A Stairway to the Stars (2002)
Inner City - Paradise (1989)
Probably the best old-school house album I’ve ever listened and definitely one of the best Chicago house releases of all time. Calling this Detroit techno doesn’t make much sense, I know Kevin Saunderson is behind the project and the whole thing comes from Detroit, but it is much more influenced by soul, it just sounds like a Chicago house. Anyway, an absolutely cracking release.
Bola - Soup (1998)