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Isn't it ironic?


Bucktunes

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No, not the song...The way that we've watched furious development of electronic keyboards for the last 30-40 years. Many technologies have come and gone, and the current state of the art seems to be physical modeling. So isn't it a bit ironic that the most popular use of this technology (at least for us keyboardists) is...to recreate electronic keyboards from 30-40 years ago? VAs, clonewheels, virtual EPs and clavs - all reproduced so authentically that they're nearly indistinguishable from the originals thanks to physical modeling.

 

Granted, computer based soft synths have expanded this technology into the stratosphere (Omnisphere?) for those brave enough to learn it, but it still amuses me that we seem to have come full circle in a way.

 

Although this isn't my opinion, one could make a faily strong argument that the perfect electronic instruments were all invented back in the `70s, and everything since has been but a short-lived, futile attempt to re-invent the wheel. Again, not my opinion, but I'd love to hear how you all agree or disagree with this premise. :wave:

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Steve

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Steve - for me, I've caught fresh wind in the sails about the acoustic piano. All the rest - Rhodes, B3, clav, all my soft synths, my physical modeling VL70m, the whole rig - is garlic to the sauce. The real challenge is, and perhaps as it always has been, the piano. Sometimes a great friend, sometimes an impenetrable enigma. Never lies - I can't hide my lack of musicality behind a well-timed filter sweep, or invoke an arpeggiator to bring my pedantic voicing to life. No articulative phrase synthesis to disguise my unsophisticated phrasing.

 

There just me and the piano and the moment. So many times it's humbling, and frustrating. But from time to time, it can also be my best friend and the only partner who really understands and works with me to make some small musical idea really sing.

 

All the technology is fun, and exciting, and can really add to what I do. But somehow at the end of the night, it's a lot more satisfying to dig into piano, just piano, and see what I'm made of. There's a nagging sense I get more often these days that...dare I say it...all the rest feels somewhat like a cheat.

 

Maybe that's a little more blasphemous than it needs to be. But there it is.

 

Tim

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Well, I love to hear inspired programmers creating and using unusual timbres on synths. Sometimes a unique synth sound on a recording will grab my psyche in a way that is unexplanable. It can be just so different and unique - either earthy or other worldly that it captures my imagination for the possibility of totally new worlds to explore.

 

Unique timbres are an essential part of "space music". The problem for much of recorded space music for me is that it tries to stay in that place too long, often I am expecting it any minute to start building tension and then suddenly take off in a rhymthmic and harmonic frenzy, but, well...it just never does, making it too "escapist mentality". Life is about tension AND release... slow and fast, loud and soft, round and jagged, dark and bright, etc...

 

I too wonder why we can be so hung up on the past with all the possibilities before us. On the other hand I love the traditional instruments we have grown up with - organ, rhodes, clavinet, and especially piano, or I should say in particular a well regulated grand with crisp, responsive action and wonderful tone.

 

 

"It is a danger to create something and risk rejection. It is a greater danger to create nothing and allow mediocrity to rule."

"You owe it to us all to get on with what you're good at." W.H. Auden

 

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Can't argue with any of your points, Steve. As I do more and more live performance I find that I want to use fewer imitative sounds. Granted, I'm still using digital recreations of sounds, but more often than not I'm calling on my gear to make noises associated with keyboards, not with other species of instruments. Whether it's B3 or analogue goodness, at the end of the day, that's what electrically powered black and whites do best.

 

So, Steve, where you been hidin', bro'?

www.wjwcreative.com

www.linkedin.com/in/wjwilcox

 

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I've always wanted a...

Rhodes without the worst keyboard action known to mankind;

Wurlitzer without reeds that short out the pickup bar every time they snap;

Piano without having to tune it;

Hammond without having to lug it.

 

I understand your point, but to me the irony is getting these instruments in a 25lb package, 25 years too late!

 

 

 

 

 

____________________________________
Rod

victoria bc

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I had a bit of an epiphany yesterday. I recently installed Komplete on my laptop, and was finally able to bring the Scarbee Rhodes samples into my live setup. I've been tweaking my setup for a week or so, running the Scarbee samples through Guitar Rig and coming as close as I could to my ideal sound. I have a pretty nice Rhodes Mark 1 73 Stage. Yesterday, after a frustrating day of work and then fixing computers at home, I sat down late at night and just played the Scarbee/G-Rig setup for about an hour and a half, and I realized something terrible. I actually prefered the sound to my Rhodes. It wasn't just a lighter weight/quicker setup substitute anymore, it was actually a better instrument. Scary.

 

 

Turn up the speaker

Hop, flop, squawk

It's a keeper

-Captain Beefheart, Ice Cream for Crow

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I've always wanted a...

Rhodes without the worst keyboard action known to mankind;

Wurlitzer without reeds that short out the pickup bar every time they snap;

Piano without having to tune it;

Hammond without having to lug it.

 

This is one of the reasons why I'm not a believer in the "good old days". IMO today's digital (and in some cases, analog) re-creations give us everything we loved about the old keyboards, but without the disadvantages that caused us headaches. Not to mention expense - Back in the day, a new Prophet 5 cost as much as a good used car. Nowadays you can get a virtual Minimoog, Prophet 5, and CS80 for about the price of a decent set of tires!

 

Maybe that's why the virtual synths are so popular - They enable us to have all the synths and keyboards we could never afford back in the `70s. And they can all be carried in a laptop the size of a notebook. IMO the "good old days" are right now! :)

><>

Steve

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