MUSIC, AMBIENCE AND SOUND ART > Music Gearheads Tech Talk

Gear Acquisition Syndrome related blog post

(1/3) > >>

I think I need a 'purge' ! (Process mini-blog)

I spend an awful lot of time trying to determine as to whether software programs – synths, effects, samplers etc. may be useful (or not) for my musical projects. If I decide to buy a certain program, I spend even more time figuring out how it works. Of course, some things are pretty straight forward, but something like Native Instrument’s ‘Kontakt’ (for example) has an awful lot going on ‘behind the scenes’ as it were, and I’ve spent a significant amount of time with it, trying to figure out how I might find some interesting elements to it which aren’t immediately obvious.

I’m wondering now if I’ve succumbed to that most odious and insidious condition that musicians can be afflicted by – ‘GAS’ (Gear Acquisition Syndrome). I have a relatively humble set-up, which probably cost me less than a half-decent 5 year old car would do. Saying that, I have a LOT of stuff and as I’ve said earlier, I spend a lot of time working with that ‘stuff’.
When it works, it’s cool, in that it gets used in my music and I get to broaden my sonic palette and look at new techniques and ways of working. Also, it keeps the old noggin ticking over, I feel it’s always good to try new things out. Some of my ‘core’ techniques have come out of happy accidents with working with some program or using a program in a different way in which it was intended to be used.

However, I’m starting to wonder if is less is more and do I need to stop looking to new ‘shiny’ things and concentrate on what I have ? I think that marketing people know that a lot of musicians are looking for that killer application that will improve their work markedly in some way. Look at the amount of ‘ambient themed’ sample libraries / synths / loops and the likes that are out there. Whole synths are marketed as making great sounding ‘pads’, for example. My feeling is that you need to spend time with what you know in a lot of cases, to come up with interesting results. I’m fortunate in that I’m quite an imaginative chap, so new ideas are never too far away. ‘Ambient X Super synth’ may yield great results, but there’s a lot of satisfaction in the DIY approach, methinks.

On balance, exploring synthesis and sound-mangling techniques is something I’m deeply fascinated by, so even though a lot of this experimentation never sees the light of day in my material, I believe that the time energy ‘invested’ is never wasted in the pursuit of artistic endeavour and it feeds into the final work, one way or another.

Original text here:

Julio Di Benedetto:
Good topic Pete......if we can't talk about "New Shinny Things" as you put we can at least talk about our GAS.  Good therapy.

I have been on the look out for something new, something that would spark some creativity, something to inspire me with new sound making potential.....its always a fun journey and usually a discovery is made.  Could be hardware, software, fx etc.....however I came up empty and through the process I released that I have all that I need and all that I actually want right here in the studio.   

It is quite refreshing to watch all the NAMM product videos of this years new gear and various other gear related media and come away wanting none of it.  "Im Cure" ;)

Like you I found that delving into sound manipulation techniques has become an inspiring format for new sonic ideas.  Recently Ive been creating new warped sounds by taking my patches in my
Virus TI and sampling them and processing them further in the software dominion.  Sonic recycling!


I find I need to push myself every now and then to look at whatI already have and try to use it differently.
  Recently been working on some recordings of playing a wine glass in my Sonar 5 software and explored some of the effects and things I'd not touched before.

Sometimes just playing with seeing what can be done is just fun, even if not useable - I ended up with 16 hours worth of sounds to sort through and choose which I wanted to use.

and I think that this exploration is likely to bear fruit on other projects too.

Another question, light hearted perhaps, is what is the most used piece of equipment I have - surprisingly turns out to be the drummers stool I use to sit on..... :o

Yes Julio,
Perhaps discussion is valuable therapy !. I'm actually thinking of not buying any more new music stuff for a while, I've got to crack on with my next album and the distraction of learning something new might not be such a good idea. I'm saying this after a possible Reaktor purchase, mind you :)

Sonic exploration here we go - it's never considered to be a profession is it ? Musician yes, composer yes, but sonic explorer, not so.

Sonic explorer, sound sculpter, soundsmith - yes. 8) 8) 8) 8)


[0] Message Index

[#] Next page

Go to full version