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    • CommentAuthorKradlum
    • CommentTimeAug 24th 2010
    I play around with a 20 key anglo concertina in C/G. My inability to sight read music slows me down a lot. Once I move house and have somewhere to practice without annoying the neighbours I hope to get a bit more proficient. At the moment I am limited to the few Pogues songs in the right key that I have transposed to my own notation so I'm not constantly checking which key is which note. I also intend to learn the ukulele.
  1.  (8799.22)
    There's always this:
    Tim Exile - Promo
    Tim Exile - Youtube Killed The Now Wave Star

    All the synths, basslines and other sounds (and part of the beats) are pretty much his voice recorded and manipulated live!
  2.  (8799.23)
    i was a bass player for years but pretty much gave that up about 10 years ago to explore a more musique concrete direction. For me anything is a possible sound source and so the idea of being trapped into only using conventional instruments is horrid.

    I'm a long time fan of people such as Einsturzende Neubeuten who have such a beautifully profound approach to percussion that it amazes me that it's never really been explored further outside of avantists such as themselves and z'ev.
    check out the plastic tubes used here - beautiful

    i am currently obsessing over the ukulele my partner bought me about a year and a half ago. it's gone pretty much everywhere with me since then - it's sitting across my lap as i type this - and i've just worked out 'Rise' by Pil which has made me very happy.

    I'm off on a short break tomorrow (to glastonbury) and intend to buy myself a small accordian (if the shop still stocks them).
    • CommentTimeAug 25th 2010 edited
    Something that makes a noise that moves your soul?

    When I saw Les Claypool play a whamola I had to have one. I went to Etsy and gave a guy money and yay!!!!

    I still have a dream of a Whamola / Theremin track - and I've played around with this in one thing I've recorded but I know I can do better.

    I think that the future of standalone instruments may well be in synths running on an ipad/iphone/ipod/other. They're bright, shiny, sexy - but then I remember being in school after a Christmas when half the kids got keyboards and what a valueless present that turned out to be for all.

    I think guitars, pianos etc. will have a place because they're more impressive, they appear to require more skill. Sonically they may continue to tread on old ground but a big guy playing drums will be sexier and cooler than a big guy playing a drum app on an iPad and since everyone wants to impress the opposite sex that's that.
    • CommentTimeAug 25th 2010
    I think guitars, pianos etc. will have a place because they're more impressive, they appear to require more skill. Sonically they may continue to tread on old ground but a big guy playing drums will be sexier and cooler than a big guy playing a drum app on an iPad and since everyone wants to impress the opposite sex that's that.
    I'm gonna have to say this might be a bad choice of words. Sometimes a dude's just trying to play drums really well.Is Gene sexy and cool? ;-) You know how much work it would be to program that into a drum machine? If somebody did, I'd gladly shake their hand.
  3.  (8799.26)

    I thought that was SYL's drummer at first glance. Yeah, he's pretty awesome.

    Also, I think I might have been introduced to That One Guy here on WC previously. An excellent example of originality, using both digital and analog instrumentation...

    • CommentAuthorjonah
    • CommentTimeAug 25th 2010
    Roger Linn's new instruments page is a good compendium on the electronic end of things, if you haven't seen it.

    As far as traditional instruments go I really like the mouth harp and all its variations. It's not new, but it's new to me. It was a revelation the first time I heard one. Everything I liked about acid techno in an ancient instrument! It's magical. It would be interesting to hear the sound a giant mechanical version might make.

    On the digital side I've been really absorbed with the novation launchpad paired with five12's numerology. I'm using that combo along with tons of samples of the human voice. Even though the human voice is the oldest instrument I get tons of inspiration from it and feel there are still so many sonic possibilities, especially combined with modern technology.

    A brainsynth would probably be one of the worst things I could combine with my method of music making. Hmmm, brainsynth feedback loops, sounds like a good idea! I'd probably be catatonic within six months of owning one. A Cronenberg synth on the other hand...

    To all the instrument builders:
    The movie Eri Eri rema sabakutani had a scene where they attached hoses up to the spinning mechanism in a box fan and it made a really beautiful celestial drone. If you like the sound you get when you swing a hose around with your arm, it's like that, but more. It's pretty easy to make one, but I did some damage when the hoses flew off. Don't use tape! Haha. There are lots of individual things you can tweak to make the sound your own, too. For example, depending on the speed you set the fan at you can change the tone of the drone or you could try using hard pvc piping, glue a playing card to the edge to add a click track, multiples, etc. Fun.

    Are there any traditional instruments that operate on the same spinning principle? Conceptually I find it really attractive.
  4.  (8799.28)
    the only traditional instrument i can think of that uses rotational controls for drones etc. are hurdy-gurdys. But wind insruments (like the hose/fan combo) I can think of none. although i guess old crank-organs used rotation to get the mechanisms for bellows etc to work, i don't think that'd count though?

    there's lots of traditional instruments that have used drone by adding resonant strings, sitar's, certain violins have had sympathetic strings added underneath the neck to add drones, native american flutes often had 2 chambers, one for drone and another for variable notes etc. and not forgetting the bagpipe, which has a whole bunch of droning capabilities.

    history loves drone.
  5.  (8799.29)
    I think there is a cultural divide between Europe and America when it comes to embracing synthesized music. Some of America's most beloved cultural exports to the rest of the world include jazz and rock'n'roll. We invented the electric guitar, the drum kit, and the all-pizzicato approach to bass. We took live improvisation to the next level. Our cultural identity is way too entangled with that stuff to pitch it over the side in favor of "soulless" synthesized computer music (not that synthesized music is always soulless, but that perception will be with us for a long time here). While the popularity of more traditional instruments might wax and wane in America, they'll always, I think, be central to both our general culture and the music we make.
    • CommentTimeAug 26th 2010
    I'm gonna have to say this might be a bad choice of words

    Tongue in cheek sir, tongue in cheek :-)
    • CommentTimeAug 27th 2010
    Tongue in cheek sir, tongue in cheek :-)
    Mine too. I assume Gene gets all the ladies.

    My point is, though, anyone that does anything creative and does it well is worthy of respect, because it's fucking hard to do. I don't care if it's guitar or synth or fucking spoons, it's gotta come out of the brain somehow.
    • CommentAuthorErisah
    • CommentTimeAug 27th 2010
    Strong truth, which is the only reason why I don't have a blanket hatred of techno. I've heard people do awesome things with synth, but considering that your average popular dance techno rap thing involves two, maybe three riffs, a one-dimensional bassline and a drum machine that any ten year old with rudimentary knowledge of harmony and a sampler can make... for me it's like someone saying they're an artist because they can do paint-by-numbers.

    The one that really pissed me off though was when someone took the first phrase of Brahms' Hungarian Dances (it's one of my favourite pieces from that era, and they used a phrase that felt particularly wrong because it it ended on the third IIRC) and then looped that with a really poor rap over the top... I swear, I was about ready to rip the radio out of the dash I was that miffed.
    • CommentAuthorErisah
    • CommentTimeAug 29th 2010
    A capella metal.

    Now that is hardcore.
  6.  (8799.34)
    i don't know if it's the future, but it's pretty freaking cool:

    • CommentAuthorEvJ
    • CommentTimeSep 1st 2010
    I think guitars, pianos etc. will have a place because they're more impressive, they appear to require more skill. Sonically they may continue to tread on old ground but a big guy playing drums will be sexier and cooler than a big guy playing a drum app on an iPad and since everyone wants to impress the opposite sex that's that.

    I'd tend to agree. Moreover, I don't see the point (besides simple convenience, which is important) of replicating the experience of acoustic instruments with electronic ones. Electronics do what they do very well, be that anything from breakbeats to acousmatic tape work, but they do the work of acoustic instruments very poorly. Even an excellently sampled violin won't replicate a violin without the tactile interaction of the performer.

    I think the future of electronic performance is in manipulation of sound, rather than in replication of its acoustic forebears. Electronic instruments can sculpt sound in ways that are beyond the potential of acoustic systems. That is both their blessing and their curse, in that one of the big barriers to people finding them impressive is that notion that any sound can come out of them at any time, with no limits whatsoever. Thanks to the nature of computer systems, this issue is wedded to electronic music forever, and will increasingly become problematic. One of the things that can bridge that gap, between the performer's actions and the "any" sound that results is demonstrably limiting the source material. If you can clearly see that the performer is using only broken vinyl or radio noise as a source, and they sculpt that into beautiful music that sounds like it comes directly from the source, the impressiveness returns.

    How this will be achieved is impossible to know, because the beauty of the whole thing is that everyone will be able to create any kind of instrument to do anything in future. As long as they're careful to make sure the audience can understand what they're up to, they'll start getting back that impressiveness.
  7.  (8799.36)

    I'd seen that before! It's awesome!
  8.  (8799.37)
    @EvJ - that second paragraph of yours just reminded me of when i saw Holy Fuck live, they used magnetic tape strips and all sorts of weird and wonderful devices to make the most awesome music.

    can't link or embedd anything as i'm at work, but they're well worth checking out.
    • CommentAuthorEvJ
    • CommentTimeSep 4th 2010
    Doesn't have to be weird or wonderful to be engaging. This is Jon Hopkins playing two Kaoss pads, which (if you can see past the camera work) is fairly straightforward and very cool to watch.

    However weird can work very well when it uses recognisable sound sources, like say guitar strings. I'm assuming that somewhere around here someone's posted the Bassoforte, but here it is again:

    It strikes me as being mostly Ableton Live doing the digital stuff, but it could easily be programmed as a stand alone system.
  9.  (8799.39)
    EvJ; That guy should be playing for Tom Waits. As a musician, there is something special about analog. A slight difference of each note played you can detect that's very desirable. It lends itself to a song from obvious ways, like crescendos, to subtle ways, like accenting.

    Perhaps Garageband is a good example. It's an excellent recording program in a lot of ways. It limits you just enough though to make any songs put in it sound, well, repetitious...
    • CommentAuthorEvJ
    • CommentTimeSep 4th 2010 edited
    I mean, it's basically an autoharp, right? But the genius of it is that it requires the performer to wallop it in a very physical, visceral manner, which connects the sound to the performance, even though most of the music is digitally treated. It's like the Neubauten pipes Ian Holloway posted up there, if there's clear interaction between the player and the sound, it doesn't matter whether the sound is synthetically created or acoustic.

    Analogue does have something very special about it though. This evening I've been sequencing (digitally) an analogue synth, and the uncertainties of the precise sound is both satisfying of itself and at the same time demands an amount of attention similar to that of an acoustic instrument. The interaction of performer and instrument is a two way thing with analogue or acoustic instruments, with the performer reacting to feedback from the performance system. With purely digital systems it is a one way system. Not worse, of course, but it is missing something.