April 19, 2018

The Opposite Of Dogmatic Is Not Catmatic...

by Chris Randall

Carl Mikael's Cabinet of Curiosities is one of my favorite YouTube channels; his videos often get me thinking, and this one from last week was no exception. One thing I have always found intensely irritating in my time in this business is religious zealots, who use their confirmation bias as a bludgeon. Carl-Mikael is, in a round-about way, addressing that in the above video, which is, like most of his content, worth a watch. "Pragmatism beats dogmatism every hour of the day..." as he says, a viewpoint I wholeheartedly endorse. Give his channel a sub, as well. He puts up quality content.



Apr.19.2018 @ 4:49 PM
Ugh, the dogma.

I'm old enough to have learned to make music without computers, yet I've used computers for music for 20 something years. So part of me keeps thinking I'd be a hardware guy, and that idiot keeps buying hardware that I never use. I'm selling a cheap sampler right now that I love the sound of but I've never bothered to use for anything.

Much like the video, there are hardware things I like to create sounds, like some synths, but as soon as possible I put those sounds in the computer and go from there. The heart of pragmatism is laziness.

I like what he said about not trying to create a great track from the start. Because, although it's a cliche, your favorite track by your favorite artist is most likely one they didn't like very much.

Apr.20.2018 @ 6:34 AM
Catmatism is the philosophy that whatever works to catch the mouse, catches the mouse.

Apr.20.2018 @ 10:15 AM
Chris Randall
One addendum to this I was thinking about this morning: it actually took me a long(ish) time to come around to DAWs. I was still mostly hardware until well in to the '00s. And yes, I note the irony that I owned a plugin company.

Fast-forward to now, and I'm like "ugh" when I think about where I'm going to keep a new piece of hardware, and how often I'll use it.


Apr.21.2018 @ 7:16 PM
A watched this a while back, so my memory is a bit fuzzy. I can buy the "pragmatism beats dogmatism" message, but I don't see DAW-less as a fad at all. I'll admit my own personal bias here as I'm currently experimenting with DAW-less myself. And in the grand scheme of things I'm still more-or-less a neophyte, but hear me out:

We already know that watching somebody on a stage press play on a laptop isn't interesting or entertaining. I've worked "in-the-box" for a long time, and never would I have considered trying to perform live. But recently I've been thinking about how I could do that, if I chose to. So in terms of live performance, going DAWless means that, at least to some degree, I have to think about HOW to perform live, because I can't just queue up all my samples and loops in Albeton and hit play. If I want a pad sound, I have to play the notes and hit "key hold". If I want a filter sweep I have to turn the knobs on the the fly because I can't rely on automation. But it means I'm actually doing something, and so in theory there might be something for somebody to see if I were up on stage. It also brings an element of improv to what might otherwise be a fully pre-recorded piece.

For those who HAVE performed live: I'd love to hear your thoughts on this.

And I haven't gone totally DAWless either. If I need something specific that only the DAW can provide, I might do my audio design and sample it back out to my hardware rig. If I decide to record I'm obviously going to bring the DAW back into the picture. But trying to use it as little as possible has pushed me to think a bit more about what I'm doing and why I'm doing it.

Apr.21.2018 @ 8:29 PM
Chris Randall
Just for the record, I've watched a _lot_ of Eurorack-only performances, and the basis of "isn't interesting or entertaining" has nothing to do with the gear. A show is a show. Either you're showing the audience your performance chops, or you're hunched over something sitting on a table. Unless the audience is entirely Euro-heads (not unlikely at a modular synth show, I'll grant) they literally have no idea what the fuck it is you're doing up there, so either you're entertaining or you're not, and whether it's a 9U case or a laptop in front of you has absolutely zero to do with it.

In the context of hunchcore (which is what we're talking about anyhow) the music has to be _really_ moving, on a visceral level, for it to be anything other than ambience. Look to Marcus Fisher or Taylor Dupree or Autechre for inspiration on that level. Or you have to have visuals that are stellar and obviously being created in real time (see the Raster Noton roster). Or there has to be a very obvious connection between your physical movement and what the audience is hearing (Bassek comes to mind). The biggest conceit of performers is that the audience has the technical proficiency to understand what they're doing. The audience _never_ has that proficiency, unless it is entirely made up of Rush fans.


Apr.24.2018 @ 10:00 AM
dj empirical
the "a show is a show" reminds me of an anecdote: I was performing at my birthday show here in town, not a huge crowd but mostly folks i knew, and mostly musicians.

because a lot of my modular tastes are acid/303 inspired, a lot of what i do with live modular is filter twiddling. so, in the middle of my set i started grabbing friends from the crowd and assigning them knobs to twiddle. after four folks, i joined the crowd and watched them for a minute or two.

not really a good strategy unless youre in a controlled environment, but it was definitely memorable to the people there :D

Apr.24.2018 @ 10:45 AM
dj empirical
also -- thanks for alerting me to this youtube channel -- i suspect i'll be consuming all of it over the next few weeks :)



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