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 -The End of Hardware?-

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pjtmusic
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PostPosted: Mon Jul 07, 2008 3:15 pm    (No subject) Reply with quoteBack to top

I use both hardware and software.

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modulator_esp
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PostPosted: Mon Jul 07, 2008 3:43 pm    (No subject) Reply with quoteBack to top

« pjtmusic » wrote:
I use both hardware and software.


and no-one complains about it do they

tbh, in my experience, most audience members have no comprehension of what does what, all they care about is that it sounds good and they can see someone doing something to produce it live

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pjtmusic
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PostPosted: Mon Jul 07, 2008 4:24 pm    (No subject) Reply with quoteBack to top

« modulator_esp » wrote:
« pjtmusic » wrote:
I use both hardware and software.


and no-one complains about it do they

tbh, in my experience, most audience members have no comprehension of what does what, all they care about is that it sounds good and they can see someone doing something to produce it live


I've never heard any complaints AFAIK Very Happy

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bewoest
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PostPosted: Mon Jul 07, 2008 4:31 pm    Hardware or what? Reply with quoteBack to top

Again I can only repeat that everybody seem to think too much in terms of gear and sound instead of performance, art and music.

I am very aware that we are talking here because we are all fans and producers of "electronic" music. Nevertheless it is hardly to explain what "electronic" means in this special context nowadays. For me personally it has something to do with a certain kind of minimalism in the music in combination with a particular range of sounds and rhythms.

Since the electronic sound is so much in the focus, and since it is hardly possible to cope with the task to bring all the depth of sound on stage it is obvious that ready made backings seem to be a possible solution to make sure that the overall sound is somehow in the kind the musician likes it to present to the audience. But this contains also the danger that the whole performance will end up a little bit inanimated. Music needs space to move and grow. Even when you are playing a very straight composition you can't avoid to "interpret" it every time you play it. This is in my opinion what it gives it all the final and individual touch we are actually always waiting for.

However, what about presenting backings from DVD or other static play backs on stage? I think that this a good possability, but the musician who is doing this is ought to be aware that he needs to face this with even more musical and performal sense. If a performance contains a "big amount" of sound, inspiration, passion and musicality at last it is certainly just that what should be expected from good "electronic music". And then it doesn't matter if there was a step-sequencer, a laptop or even just a DVD-player and a play-along synthesist you've had on stage.

I personally don't care about playbacks, step-sequencer or whatever. I just like to be overwhelmed by good and unique music! But if the musician is doing a cool show by twiddling around with special gear and completely unheard sounds this of course very much appreciated! Wink


Last edited by bewoest on Mon Jul 07, 2008 4:41 pm; edited 2 times in total

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PostPosted: Mon Jul 07, 2008 4:33 pm    (No subject) Reply with quoteBack to top

« modulator_esp » wrote:
« pjtmusic » wrote:
I use both hardware and software.


and no-one complains about it do they

tbh, in my experience, most audience members have no comprehension of what does what, all they care about is that it sounds good and they can see someone doing something to produce it live


That may be true, but personally, it's the main reason I go to almost zero ambient/EM concerts and when I do go, I find it boring in the extreme. The music seldom sounds any different from the recording and the artist doesn't really seem to be making the music, per se, on stage. Even if the artist plays some of the music "live" it's just not the same. Of course, I don't really understand the attraction for this kind of music live anyway. Maybe it would be different if I saw more Berlin school EM live, as it's more energetic than ambient, which is usually what I can see here in the US. This does NOT mean I am condemning the making of music this way. My comments are strictly about how I feel towards this kind of music played LIVE. As for this kind of recorded music on CD or digital download, see my comments later in this post.

The other thing missing in live concerts, the ones I've been to, is artist-audience interaction. Why do some/most/all artists think the audience doesn't want to be talked to during a concert? The best concerts I've been to featured lots of byplay between artist and fans, but for some reason, the ambient artists I've seen act like they are playing to themselves, not an audience.

As for "the end of hardware" I have no feelings one way or the other (again, my earlier comments reflect my dissatisfaction with live conerts where I need to feel a more direct connection to the music than simply "heaing" it the same way I hear it on CD; my earlier comments do not mean that I dislike music made through software per se). I am not preoccupied with knowing HOW the music is made, but how it sounds and how it moves me. If you can do that with a laptop and software, fine with me. As for that kind of thing revealing a lack of actual music playing "talent" who cares? Hell, Stephen King is NOT a good writer but his books thrill millions. You can argue all you want the merits of being a "technician" versus a "magician" or an "artisan" but in the end, if the music moves the audience, well, honestly, why isn't that enough? (shakes head)

Everyone is entitled to their opinion, but as a reviewer, it simply doesn't matter to me. I love music made solely from an acoustic guitar and I also love glitch ambient music made from pure software and electronics with not even a trace of a sample.

Let me use another analogy. Kathryn, my partner, is a GREAT COOK. She can look at a bunch of ingredients in the refridgerator, and concoct a superb meal through her knowledge, skill and imagination. I, OTOH, need to follow a recipe. Now, she contends that my meals are equally delicious and I exhibit cooking talent just the same even though, from one perspective, I am not being an artist, merely a technican and following instructions. But the end result in both cases is that the receiver of the meal is very pleased with the results, no matter if they sprung from the imagination and artistry of the cook or simply the technical proficiency of the recipe follower.

Anyway, that's how I see it.

Back to lurk mode.

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PostPosted: Mon Jul 07, 2008 4:40 pm    (No subject) Reply with quoteBack to top

« pjtmusic » wrote:
« modulator_esp » wrote:
« pjtmusic » wrote:
I use both hardware and software.


and no-one complains about it do they

tbh, in my experience, most audience members have no comprehension of what does what, all they care about is that it sounds good and they can see someone doing something to produce it live


I've never heard any complaints AFAIK Very Happy


This can be good or bad. Razz

But these "Awakenings" performances show enough to get a good view of everything. Although that's what I see on the pictures.

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PostPosted: Mon Jul 07, 2008 4:53 pm    (No subject) Reply with quoteBack to top

and I say nothing. Razz










euhh only one thing:

Musicians, do and use what you like. as long as YOU believe in it.

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pjtmusic
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PostPosted: Mon Jul 07, 2008 5:09 pm    (No subject) Reply with quoteBack to top

[quote:8d655e5579="Ren
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PostPosted: Mon Jul 07, 2008 10:36 pm    (No subject) Reply with quoteBack to top

Very personal I think, using hardware and/or software.
I prefer the hardware as it's got something to do with how you approach an instrument (at least for me).
The machine itself asks to be played in certain way (again this is probably different for someone else).
I think, in the future, if everyone is using software we'll still be using our hardware (60+ and still carrying the modulars for a handful of enthousiasts Smile).
As for performing live, which is a different discussion, in the (far) past I used a computer with backing tracks but to me it never felt right. Sure you have hands free to do soloing/pads but you could never steer into another direction if you wanted to, it's all preprogrammed. At least with a step sequencer you can alter the lines to make things different.
I don't see myself/us going back to using a computer or CD for backing tracks as it's just to much fun to do thing completely live (plus you don't have to worry if things go different as planned).

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PostPosted: Wed Jul 09, 2008 3:03 am    (No subject) Reply with quoteBack to top

« von haulshoven » wrote:

because young people like dj,ing and don`t want to master an instrument (which is very boring)


I disagree that young people don't want to master an instrument. Perhaps they don't want to master a keyboard or some other traditional instrument that utilizes the European 12 note scale. However, they are mastering whole new breeds of instruments. The MPCs by Akai are a completely different way of thinking and producing music. As are many of the other beat boxes and samplers. I also categorize Ableton Live as an instrument. Many think of it as a sequencer or a loop playback unit, but it can do so much more in capable hands. I have seen it played as an instrument, and it can do some amazing things.

To me, music is organizing sounds in order to express one's self. There's plenty of hardware being utilized by new (and old) artists that allow the musician to do just that. I am not a fan of DJs, but I have full appreciation of Live PAs, which from the outside look like DJs and use similar kits, but create their own sounds. A lot of the new electronic music is created by manipulating sounds and phrases of sounds. It's primarily based on rhythm, but I am hearing some that are not.

The manufacturers are producing a plethora of boxes and FXs to cater to these new musicians. They are spitting out a wide array of hardware controllers. It makes sense; there are hundreds of soft synths out there producing sounds that hardware manufacturers don't even approach. Reaktor comes to mind. You can think of the laptop as a rack unit.

Recently I had the pleasure of participating in a electronic music festival that featured Richard Devine. He combined two laptops (one with Abelton Live. I don't know what was in the other. Perhaps Max) and Elektron gear to produce an amazing set. He was fun to watch. No, there was no sequencer endlessly repeating a 16 note phrase based on the Phyrgian mode (or whatever), and there was no tune one could hum afterwards. It was simply an experience of big, fat organic sounds that tickled some inner crevices in my brain. I liken it to abstract art: ie. Yves Tanguy.

There's plenty of hardware, but it's evolving with a new direction of music. In some cases, like the Moog synthesizer did in the 1960s, the new hardware and software are creating some of these new directions. Someone earlier mentioned that EM might disappear. Perhaps when the baby boomer generation (which I am part of) dies out, it will. It will be thought of as a small niche, like Dixieland jazz, except smaller. I hope not.

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PostPosted: Thu Aug 07, 2008 11:38 am    (No subject) Reply with quoteBack to top

The introduction of MIDI in the 1980s was the biggest milestone in separating sound generation hardware from control surface hardware. Manufacturers could create rack-mount gear which focussed on generating sounds triggered by any available MIDI input (Emu Proteus/Classic Keys as concrete examples). Others could concentrate their efforts on making a great weighted keyboard action or even an alternative custom controller (like the Buchla Thunder for example).

So even 20+ years ago, in many cases, there was a split between the performance interface and the sound generation interface. I don't see it as any different these days, except that manufacturers are now implementing the sound-generation side of things in software rather than in electronic circuitry. There are benefits to us and them as a result of this:

1. Manufacturers don't have the overheads of physical production and distribution that they had in the past. You only have to read Mark Vail's 'Vintage Synthesizers' book to see how much of an uphill struggle it was for companies such as Moog and ARP to get their machines out into the field. It's arguable whether either of them made any real money over their lifetimes.

2. A softsynth's power is dictated by the power of the processor in your computer, not on the physical amount of circuitry in its case. If you want to increase the polyphony from 4 to 16, you simply click on the polyphony control, rather than taking out a mortgage to buy another three expander modules.

3. You can afford to create quirky, off-the-wall modules that might only be useful to one person in a thousand. Producing a circuit-board and front panel in hardware for such a module is a huge business decision, but might only take an afternoon's work in software. Include it as a bonus in the next release of your product.

4. You can fix bugs in software and patch them over the internet. A defective hardware product could be devastating to a company (the ARP Electronic Piano, for example).

5. Software piracy is a concern when a fully-operational cracked copy of a software suite is just a BitTorrent away, but I always come back to the words of wisdom from Ernst Nathorst-Boos of Propellerhead:

How big a problem is piracy for them? Niels: "It's hard to quantify. It's big, of course. But we're very pleased that so many people choose to do the right thing. We try also, rather than introducing copy protection that frustrates users and yet is instantly crackable, to make service and support easy for the people who have done the right thing and bought the program. We don't want to frustrate them with installation processes that are more convoluted than downloading a pirate version, if you know what I mean. It's almost a punishment with some software products to actually buy them. We really want our users to have an easy life. We try instead to add value to the process of registration. We have a very good registration database, and for our registered users we hope we will make our service much better."

Softsynths represent a huge democratisation of electronic music-making and I for one am a big fan. It represents no threat whatsoever to those who want to go down the route of discrete hardware components but makes truly creative tools available to those with a restricted budget and limited space. Bring it on ! Cool

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