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Tj Shredder
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247 posts since 6 Jan, 2017, from Berlin

Postby Tj Shredder; Mon Feb 12, 2018 2:34 pm Re: One Synth Challenge #107: VK-1 Viking by Blamsoft (Voting Started!)

But each Challenge has its own thread. After submitting the results it would be free for such discussions, and they happen already. And it is open for non participants (this month I am not a participant...). I guess the same is happening in the other challenges... It does not hurt either, because the threads are separate anyway...
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schiing
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50 posts since 27 Oct, 2015

Postby schiing; Mon Feb 12, 2018 5:32 pm Re: One Synth Challenge #107: VK-1 Viking by Blamsoft (Voting Started!)

This will be a long one. I'm using my two entries so far as examples here - it's not to advertise or anything, but, hey, we're always closest to ourselves. Just some general observations as a newcomer, so move on if you have better things to do :)

I was going for a walk this afternoon and I thought about this stuff.

I've submitted two entries so far. The first one was an exercise in simplicity - I tried to use as few effects as possible, simple repetitive themes and generally as little flash as possible, and still get the message across.

In my second entry I added as much flash as I possibly could in a week's work (in a 1980s, easy listening kind of way, that is), putting no limitations on anything, except to stay as true as I could to the chosen period feeling of the piece.

I was quite surprised to see that a few commenters still found the simple one too excessive for their tastes, but that's the funny (and wonderful!) thing about musical taste - it's so subjective! I spent as much time on the simple piece as I did on the elaborate one. It was really hard to get a good balance with minimal eq'ing, and it is sooo much harder to keep things interesting with a minimalistic approach. If things got a bit boring with my no-holds-barred jazz piece, I could always add a modulation or change up the rhythm pattern. But if all you've got is a kick on the 1 and 3 and a hat on the 2 and 4 - then it really challenges you to write something on top of that that will keep the listener hooked - especially when you've decided to stay within strict limits with chord progressions, etc.

I remember reading an interview with überproducer David Foster in the '80s, telling how he and his frequent co-writer, Jay Graydon, often laughed about how they obsessed over jazz chords and minor details in pop songs like E, W & F.'s "After the Love Has Gone", and how no one apart from them would ever care or notice the difference. Not entirely accurate, of course, because in years to come guys like me would get totally hooked on that jazz vibe, going on to discover the wider world of jazz starting with their pop songs.

But for most listeners, I think he was right. If I take my two pieces as an example, most listeners, regardless of how much they like the thing, won't appreciate the work that lies behind the perceived simplicity of "8 Bits," even though it would almost certainly sound like shit if I hadn't put in the hours (some of you probably think it still does - fair enough :-D). Similarly, most listeners won't give a damn about the relative complexity of "Pour Some Vape" if they freaking hate the song - which some of you almost certainly will! - or if it doesn't resonate with them on any meaningful level.

Which got me thinking - what is it that we're showcasing here at the OSC? Of course, my first thought was that it is to show "How good can this synth sound?" That's the most important thing in my opinion, no doubt. And I guess we want to impress the other participants in one way or the other. I want to display my musical prowess, and I don't want my mix to put anyone off.

But at the same time we're listeners. And, not to be rude, but I often found my mind wandering listening to some of the entries this month, eventually paying little or no attention to the work that went into the sound design, because the songs were so goddamn boring! This being a synth challenge, I did go back to the tracks and gave them a proper listen in terms of the synth work - but I think some of you really need to work on your presentation. Which there's absolutely nothing wrong with - because we're at different stages musically and technically, and our entries should be judged in light of that. I mean, if Jasinski, for instance, who obviously has displayed a lot of talent here over the years, had submitted one of the entries that I gave a 3 this month, my verdict would have been considerably harsher.

Another funny thing about OSC is that if Jasinski or another genius with a musical degree don't deliver up to their usual standard, they might get the same score as a complete musical illiterate who more or less put together stuff in a 16-beat grid by chance and got an interesting groove. I especially felt that way with my 3's: The best ones has the potential for a 5 in my opinion, but the weakest will never go beyond a 3 unless they start developing their skills, and were probably lucky even to get a 3. So I'm afraid that might sting a bit for those top 3's. But that goes all ways here - I'm sure my pride will be hurt when the voting results are in as well :-D

And then there's this thing about "art" and "authenticity" in your work. This one's complicated for me. I'm not afraid to display personality or my "artful" side in my music at all (well, maybe when it comes to lyrics), and I think that bits of my personality will always shine through, whether I want it to or not, even if my piece is little more than a stylistic experiment (none of my current entries are, btw - esp. the #108, which lies very close to my musical heart. Or one of my musical hearts - I think I must have many).

But if I *really* want to tell a personal story with my music, I don't think OSC is the right place for that - for me, anyway. Because if that's the case, the equipment you use and your musical prowess is subordinate to the overall impression of the work. A work of art might be nothing more (I say "nothing more", it's actually ridiculously challenging!) than a string quartet sliding slowly through hundreds of pitches per octave (which is a thing) whereas here, the equipment is at the essence of what is going on. I'm not going into the challenge to create an idiosyncratic work of art, I'm going in to discover the potential of the synth. If it turns out to be art, it's pure chance.

I mean, I wrote a perfectly lovely (in my own estimation :-/) little solo piece with the FB-3300 during OSC#106. But it was just the *one* sound (10 instances of that sound, but still!) - a wonderful, full triangly tone - but it didn't really have much to do with the synth specifically - any synth could have provided that sound - so I decided to skip that round.

I don't know, these might be old talking points here at OSC, running at over 100 challenges. But very interesting aspects of this experience for a newcomer like me - so I thought I'd share. Thanks for reading!
ontrackp
KVRian
 
573 posts since 13 Jan, 2013, from United States

Postby ontrackp; Mon Feb 12, 2018 7:06 pm Re: One Synth Challenge #107: VK-1 Viking by Blamsoft (Voting Started!)

Yes.... the OSC is a strange and wonderful beast.
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Tj Shredder
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247 posts since 6 Jan, 2017, from Berlin

Postby Tj Shredder; Tue Feb 13, 2018 1:52 am Re: One Synth Challenge #107: VK-1 Viking by Blamsoft (Voting Started!)

schiing wrote:but that's the funny (and wonderful!) thing about musical taste - it's so subjective!
....
I remember reading an interview with überproducer David Foster in the '80s, telling how he and his frequent co-writer, Jay Graydon, often laughed about how they obsessed over jazz chords and minor details in pop songs like E, W & F.'s "After the Love Has Gone", and how no one apart from them would ever care or notice the difference. Not entirely accurate, of course, because in years to come guys like me would get totally hooked on that jazz vibe, going on to discover the wider world of jazz starting with their pop songs.

But for most listeners, I think he was right.


On the contrary, I think they were wrong. If you look at any long term successful piece of music, and look behind the scenes, all these artists have been obsessive with the details. That is the real secret about why they touch the listeners. The listener might never know why they like a certain piece, it will pay off on an unconscious level...

schiing wrote:Similarly, most listeners won't give a damn about the relative complexity of "Pour Some Vape" .... if it doesn't resonate with them on any meaningful level.


Resonance is the key word here. If it does not resonate, it doesn't mean anything. The resonance is very much bound to personal history. We simply love the styles of music which was was around when we fell in love the first time... But we can enhance our resonating space by simply listening to a lot of music, and getting in touch with a lot of musicians. As soon I know someone personally, its easier to find the resonance in her music.
The real masters can ring the heart of masses...

schiing wrote:If it turns out to be art, it's pure chance.

Not for artists...;-)

schiing wrote:I mean, I wrote a perfectly lovely (in my own estimation :-/) little solo piece with the FB-3300 during OSC#106. But it was just the *one* sound (10 instances of that sound, but still!) - a wonderful, full triangly tone - but it didn't really have much to do with the synth specifically - any synth could have provided that sound - so I decided to skip that round.


This is sad, I would much prefer a piece of that kind over any überproduced high mixing level mainstream heard thousand times similar piece...

I am always fascinated about the connection between a musician and her instrument. For me OSC is not so much a show case of capabilities of a synth, its much more about to what does it inspire you. If its simple and lovely and touches my heart, you'll get a 5 for sure.

The oldest kind of OSC for composers since centuries had always been a string quartet. Except for Apocalyptica, non ever tried to create kick or snare sound out of a string instrument... And we have so many great string quartets which survived the centuries. I find it always funny when in the beginning of the challenge everybody tries to find those standard sounds to make a standard tune... That turns the challenge into a technical problem solving focus. But if the instrument would really inspire, you might find a completely different focus... (hopefully music...)
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egbert101
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2045 posts since 13 Jun, 2014

Postby egbert101; Tue Feb 13, 2018 2:09 am Re: One Synth Challenge #107: VK-1 Viking by Blamsoft (Voting Started!)

schiing wrote:Which got me thinking - what is it that we're showcasing here at the OSC? Of course, my first thought was that it is to show "How good can this synth sound?" That's the most important thing in my opinion, no doubt. And I guess we want to impress the other participants in one way or the other. I want to display my musical prowess, and I don't want my mix to put anyone off.

[...]

But if I *really* want to tell a personal story with my music, I don't think OSC is the right place for that - for me, anyway.

[...]

I don't know, these might be old talking points here at OSC, running at over 100 challenges. But very interesting aspects of this experience for a newcomer like me - so I thought I'd share. Thanks for reading!


Great post!
The most Gothic description of Capital is also the most accurate. Capital is an abstract parasite, an insatiable vampire and zombie maker; but the living flesh it coverts into dead labor is ours, and the zombies it makes are us. --Mark Fisher
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Daru925
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183 posts since 20 Mar, 2015, from Nerima, Tokyo

Postby Daru925; Tue Feb 13, 2018 2:43 am Re: One Synth Challenge #107: VK-1 Viking by Blamsoft (Voting Started!)

I love it when I cannot pinpoint why i enjoy a piece of art or music or guacamole. For me, it means the artist did the job right.
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schiing
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50 posts since 27 Oct, 2015

Postby schiing; Tue Feb 13, 2018 7:50 am Re: One Synth Challenge #107: VK-1 Viking by Blamsoft (Voting Started!)

Tj Shredder wrote:
schiing wrote:but that's the funny (and wonderful!) thing about musical taste - it's so subjective!
....
I remember reading an interview with überproducer David Foster in the '80s, telling how he and his frequent co-writer, Jay Graydon, often laughed about how they obsessed over jazz chords and minor details in pop songs like E, W & F.'s "After the Love Has Gone", and how no one apart from them would ever care or notice the difference. Not entirely accurate, of course, because in years to come guys like me would get totally hooked on that jazz vibe, going on to discover the wider world of jazz starting with their pop songs.

But for most listeners, I think he was right.


On the contrary, I think they were wrong. If you look at any long term successful piece of music, and look behind the scenes, all these artists have been obsessive with the details. That is the real secret about why they touch the listeners. The listener might never know why they like a certain piece, it will pay off on an unconscious level...


Oh, yes, if we're talking about the unconscious effect this stuff has on the listener, I agree with you 100% that he's wrong.

Tj Shredder wrote:I find it always funny when in the beginning of the challenge everybody tries to find those standard sounds to make a standard tune... That turns the challenge into a technical problem solving focus. But if the instrument would really inspire, you might find a completely different focus... (hopefully music...)


I don't know if you were thinking about my thoughts on the purpose of OSC in this post specifically when you made this comment, but for me the focus will always be on music! The technical stuff is interesting and important, and it may be a hindrance or an opportunity, or even the starting point for a musical project, but in the end it's always about the music. And my (and your!) musical voice! :pray:
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Tj Shredder
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247 posts since 6 Jan, 2017, from Berlin

Postby Tj Shredder; Tue Feb 13, 2018 9:27 am Re: One Synth Challenge #107: VK-1 Viking by Blamsoft (Voting Started!)

schiing wrote:I don't know if you were thinking about my thoughts on the purpose of OSC in this post specifically when you made this comment, but for me the focus will always be on music! The technical stuff is interesting and important, and it may be a hindrance or an opportunity, or even the starting point for a musical project, but in the end it's always about the music. And my (and your!) musical voice! :pray:

Does that mean you are willing to share your hold back piece for OSC#106? I am really curious...
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schiing
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50 posts since 27 Oct, 2015

Postby schiing; Tue Feb 13, 2018 10:05 am Re: One Synth Challenge #107: VK-1 Viking by Blamsoft (Voting Started!)

Tj Shredder wrote:Does that mean you are willing to share your hold back piece for OSC#106? I am really curious...


Oh, absolutely, it's available on Soundcloud! It was actually the FB-3100. Just a simple, mellow new age piece - that's the intention, anyway.

I changed a couple of things when I dropped the OSC idea, so there are a few other instruments in the mix as well now.

And a disclaimer: As ever with music I'm only making for my own pleasure, there are some flaws that I never bothered fixing. Which of course is just another way of saying that there are always flaws that bug the hell out of me in my music, and that I'm permanently insecure about my music :lol: :scared:

[Edit: I have at least fixed the horrible clipping of the original upload tonight - I was getting too self-conscious about it when I returned home and saw the numbers - only one person had heard it before this post!]

https://soundcloud.com/terjefjelde/a-st ... /easy-easy
jasinski
KVRian
 
555 posts since 19 Oct, 2003, from Seattle

Postby jasinski; Tue Feb 13, 2018 3:56 pm Re: One Synth Challenge #107: VK-1 Viking by Blamsoft (Voting Started!)

Ohm..

Voted!
foxAsteria
KVRist
 
95 posts since 7 Aug, 2004

Postby foxAsteria; Tue Feb 13, 2018 7:07 pm Re: One Synth Challenge #107: VK-1 Viking by Blamsoft (Voting Started!)

Btw, does no one recognize Moondog? I was kinda surprised because no one commented on his image that I used for my track.
~TwilightMysterySchool~
AtmosphericElectronicMusic
ontrackp
KVRian
 
573 posts since 13 Jan, 2013, from United States

Postby ontrackp; Tue Feb 13, 2018 8:19 pm Re: One Synth Challenge #107: VK-1 Viking by Blamsoft (Voting Started!)

Voted. Another interesting month (they all are...). As always I'm impressed with the vast creativity and fun demonstrated by the collection of tracks! Nice work, everyone.

And a special thanks again to Blamsoft for fixing the bugs early on in the month!
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Tj Shredder
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247 posts since 6 Jan, 2017, from Berlin

Postby Tj Shredder; Wed Feb 14, 2018 12:33 am Re: One Synth Challenge #107: VK-1 Viking by Blamsoft (Voting Started!)

schiing wrote:It was actually the FB-3100. Just a simple, mellow new age piece - that's the intention, anyway.

https://soundcloud.com/terjefjelde/a-st ... /easy-easy

Thanks for sharing - nice and calm...
doctorbob
KVRian
 
936 posts since 7 Mar, 2014

Postby doctorbob; Wed Feb 14, 2018 2:46 am Re: One Synth Challenge #107: VK-1 Viking by Blamsoft (Voting Started!)

jasinski wrote:Ohm..
Resistance is futile :borg:

dB
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bh9090
KVRist
 
251 posts since 7 Dec, 2006, from Richmond, VA, USA

Postby bh9090; Wed Feb 14, 2018 10:38 am Re: One Synth Challenge #107: VK-1 Viking by Blamsoft (Voting Started!)

Voted.
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