A quick question for you to ponder. Something I’ve been thinking about lately is how producers like Fred again… (and others) talk about the importance of “play” in music. Essentially, this is that thing where a piece of gear helps you get out of your own head and play around subconsciously, which often leads to lots of happy accidents and ideas.
So I was wondering; taking the tech specs away for a second; what piece of gear is your go-to to take you off into that semi-subconscious state? That could be a DAW, a MIDI controller, a groovebox, a sampler, a synth, a VST/software, or any other instrument that makes you forget yourself to the extent that music creation just becomes fun.
I have three. RYTM, peak and pigments. Those are the pieces that get me going and just doing things
I only make ‘make music’ for fun…
with a piano, its just fun to let my subconscious come up with something … I don’t know nor care what the seeds are.
with modular (eurorack, or software to some extent) , its the fun of ‘what if’ , what sounds will emerge… its not so random, I usually have seeds of ideas, but letting them grow is the fun.
now… with the Osmose, its the embodiment of what I enjoy the most… kind of both of the above.
like the piano its melodies and sound soundscapes just emerging, but with the expression side letting me ‘lean in’ on it…
on the sound side… and is presets, almost every one is a new instrument, being played different…
so punch the preset+ button, and you start going new places…
thats what is fun for me…
really the recording, sequencing stuff… might be technically fun/challenging…
but for me its hard to get into, it feels like work… like im trying to be ‘productive’
I do get the appeal for some, but its just not for me (as a hobbyist)
of course, I will say this fun has to be tempered a bit… as sometimes, I do get the feeling if I don’t create ‘something’ … what’s the point. so its a balance…
but also these days, trying to remind myself for me ‘the point’ is enjoyment, the process… not a ‘product’
maschine + laptop
guitar “making” instead of “creating”
Still trying to build up the super fun modular groovebox on modular grid sometimes, but shying away when looking at the prize…
What made a big difference for me personally was to put the Elektron boxes, presets, etc. aside and engage with a Techno System, which I patch and sequence from scratch each time I play, combined with a Quadrantid Swarm (and a bit of OT fx). To me it feels more like playing than programming. Coming from a live music percussion background, I feel more physically engaged ‘doing’ music directly on the (semi-)modular instruments, even though (or maybe because) the sonic palette is more limited, and I stay mostly in the ‘jamming’ zone. (Also: standing instead of sitting makes a difference for me.)
looks very inviting to make music indeed
The most fun I’ve had creating music definitely was when I started out playing electric guitar through an old zoom multi fx pedal into cubase LE back when I was a teenager in the mid 2000s. Time was not an issue and I could put layer upon layer and just freely experiment and mess around. I had no idea about music production and how certain fx and parameters (like feedback on a delay) were working and it was all a big journey of learning by doing.
The only thing that ever came close to that was/is making music on the op-1/op-1f now. I think it’s mostly getting into a certain state of mind and this free flow of just playing and experimenting without effort is possible with many instruments, but for me, the op-1f has been the easiest facilitator to get me into this state of flow, so far.
Sequencing and building a track are most fun for me, then playing it by bringing stuff in and out, tweaking and recording, I tend to mix as I go, staying in the flow. It never feels like work when I do this, it is fun and I don’t use a DAW/Computer because I don’t find that fun or enjoyable.
I too can get it from just about anything that makes noise but if I had to choose I’d say it’s a tie between Digitakt and Syntakt.
I love writing out a prompt for a song or ep or album and then seeing it through to the conclusion. On the way I have to solve a lot of problems and sometimes have to push through difficult puzzles. When I’m done I have a finished product that I can return to years later, often pleasantly surprising.
My favorite single thing is going into an overdub not knowing what I will play and nailing it on the first or second try, especially with an electric bass.
Anything that puts out enough bass to flap some speakers gets me in the zone pretty quickly.
For me, there are two main aspects to music creation:
- Experimenting with sound
- Making tracks
When experimenting with sound, synths that have a flexible modular architecture that is easy to reconfigure are the best for me. Syntrx, Lyra-8 and OPSIX are all excellent in this regard. The Virus is good, but it’s patch matrix is somewhat slower to work with. I suspect that I’d love the Hydrasynth. Elektrons are good for full spectrum sound-to-beatmaking. I don’t really have favorites, but the Monomachine and Octatrack have seen the most use in the last few months.
From a making tracks perspective, Ableton, Ableton, Ableton. I’m still getting to know my Novation SL61 Mk3 and Launchpad Pro Mk3, but they already enhance both my DAWless and ITB processes.
I like Abelton live, and that hypnotic looping of sound, adding another sound, i play with clips, play with the arrangement, do another twerp, zirp, add digitone for hands on control, its the so called flow state i can gain from it. I fingerdrum on the mpc, or launchpad, i enjoy finding new rythms, sample tempest with digitakt, wiggle the tempest for more zirps and boom (yeah bass junkie), i love it. I have the Osmose on order, i hope i will like it too, i loved guitar back then.
Immediacy and flexible options for sound exploration and design. That’s what attracted me to modular synths and Elektron gear.