MUSIC, AMBIENCE AND SOUND ART > Music Gearheads Tech Talk

Gear Acquisition Syndrome related blog post

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It is a balancing act - often discovering something new with what I have opens a whole gateway of possibilities. But having too set an idea at the beginning often limits whre I end up.

But recently I ended up with 16 hours worth of sounds to listen to and choose which top use - luckily the 16 hours was divided into 15 and 25 minute segments so not too many files to play......

Chronotope Project:
An important discussion, since "more is better" or "new is better" can be serious (and expensive!) distractions. When my mouth starts drooling over some new gear or software, I try to ask myself several questions:

1. What can I do with this that I cannot do now? Do I have a particular project or direction that really requires another gear-buy, or am I being seduced by advertising, or envy?

2.  Have I fully exploited the gear I already have? Do I really even know what I already have in my toolkit? I try to spend a couple of hours each week just auditioning sounds, and often come across some extraordinary things I never knew I even had.  And then, there are the many sounds I almost automatically reject. (Paid for, but not used.) Are they really unequivocal "rejects?" One powerful exercise for an electronic music composer is to identify some "reject" sounds, and to try to tweak or use them in a creative way. Sometimes, the "power of limits" can create a very fertile ground for new work. Sometimes, this leads absolutely nowhere, but sometimes--for me--it opens up a new avenue.

3. Am I using my current tools fully and creatively? Since I'm a cellist, I've explored all kinds of "extended technique" to open up the sonic possibilities of the instrument. If with this single instrument, I can create a whole universe of sounds, why not apply this philosophy to all of my instruments? This involves spending some more time with the "guts" of electronic instruments and software, rolling up one's sleeves, learning  more about their inner workings, and some admittedly "unproductive" time spent goofing around. But it can be a very rewarding and enjoyable experience, and lead to new frontiers in one's sound.


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