Tuesday, September 26, 2017

"once electronic instruments suggested an exciting, uncharted future"

"The future of 2017: a cheaper, smaller, unified version of yesterday. The D-50 was awesome and still is, but if re-releasing a D-50 and adding a generic step sequencer represents the vision of contemporary electronic music creation, something very essential got lost on the way. Once electronic instruments suggested an exciting, uncharted future. Now they represent a longing for a nostalgic past that did never exist" - Robert Henke, recently

paging people who working with electronic music-making hardware / software - is this remark, made by one who seems like he ought to know what he's talking about,  true in your experience? 


Anonymous said...

By and large this has been true of most of the "virtual instrument" era which really kicked off in earnest in 2002 and 2003 or thereabouts, after the truly big advances in samplers in the 90s. Most virtual instruments are designed to emulate some classic sound, whether a Minimoog bass, a Roland lead, or whatever. The virtual instruments promise all of the sound with none of the hassle of the original hardware and a tiny fraction of the cost (or at 0 cost, if you pirate them). There have been some genuine advances such as physical modeling synths, but these are difficult to use, and I'm not aware of very many musicians who get great results out of them. This extends beyond synths too into the world of effects - a big part of the virtual effect market is emulation of classic compressors, reverbs, and so forth.

My anecdotal observation is that the extremely lost cost of virtual instruments leads to a "collection" mentality amongst many musicians, relative to the scarcity of the 80s and 90s where one good instrument (like an Akai sampler) could take up most of your studio budget.

-Eli B


interesting Eli - so perhaps having too many options and colours in your palette leads to maximalism and "jack of all sounds, master of none" type downside. Like Holger Czukay's "restriction is the mother of invention" inverted. Counter-intuitively, non-restriction / plenitude of options is the mother of uninventive music.