Synthesists Are WEIRD!
Not really trying to torque anyone off; just making a personal observation (this one's been brewing for a long, long time, too.)
In brief -- synthesists, or for that matter, most keyboardists -- are just plain WEIRD in my estimation. (Weird is often a good thing in my book. But, for now, I mean... *confusingly* weird.)
To be more precise, I find it absolutely perplexing that synthesists are so single-mindedly obsessed with tone and tone alone. (FAT tones, earth-shaking tones, aggressive tones, etc.) Not only that, they're obsessed with collecting an endless palette of tones -- thousands and thousands of 'em. It's almost like it becomes an end in itself; music in service to sounds and textures and not the other way around.(Granted, that's not neccessarily the wrong way to go; John Cage had plenty to say about that.)
But, coming from an outside perspective -- in this case, that of a guitarist, vocalist, composer/arranger -- it's a curious mindest indeed.
From a pragmatic standpoint, I have often found that working with a limited palette of sounds can be a good thing. For one thing, it illiminates what Brain Eno has refered to as "options anxiety". (Remember the existentialist author who once said, "When we are limited by choice, we become more fruitful in imagination.")
Also, there are many cases where using only a few, well chosen tones helps one forge a more recognizable, more unique identity -- as in the case of Robert Fripp (a guitarist.)
And, as regards the apparently ceaseless quest for FAT tones (chaining synths together, employing Unison devices, choruses, echoes, etc.): Do any synthesists out there appreciate the delicacy and nuance of frail, brittle, dare I say... *thin* tones? (Some of us guitar players worship the bare, delicate sound of an unprocessed Telecaster. Sure, there are much fatter sounds to choose from. But a FAT sounding Rhodes Piano is not neccessarily more pleasing than a thin sounding harpsichord.)
I remember reading a Kraftwerk interview from wayyyy back (25 years or so ago) wherein they discussed their preference for the raw, uneffected sounds of their instruments. Does anyone in the synth world think that way anymore? (Even back then, some people were always running their synths through all kinds of phasers, fuzzboxes, echoes, etc.)
Does everyone think that more tones/sounds automatically equal better music?
Is anyone possesed by the notion that making dinky, raw, barebones synth sounds might be a good way to do something different and/or original?
And just because we have a whole bunch of effects devices handy, does that mean that we always have to slap 'em on top of every single sound we make?
Couldn't help wondering about all of this. Time and time again, I see so many musicians all chasing after the same thing at the same time; paying homage to standardization while, ostensibly, seeking to make an "original" statement.
Okay; that's it. Just curious.
Let the flames begin. LOL
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