When electronic music sounded new, like the future... what went wrong!

Anything about MUSIC but doesn't fit into the forums above.
KVRAF
5419 posts since 23 Mar, 2006 from pendeLondonmonium

Post Thu Feb 25, 2021 3:50 pm

SLiC wrote:
Thu Feb 25, 2021 12:01 pm
So as yet another emulation of a 35 year old synths drives the KVR forums crazy, I was reminiscing about when electronic music sounded new, like the future...

Now we seem to try so hard to look and sound like the past...

Is there nothing left to do with synthesis other than tiny incremental improvements in copying something that already been done? Analogue, FM, Samples, PM, WT, Granular.

Is that it, are we done? :borg:
It sounded like the future because the sounds were new, never heard before. Even the sawtooth waveform sounded like nothing else. Now, our species has been exposed to the sound of electronic instruments for over 50 years and it has permeated our subconscious. We know what 'electronic sound' is. It no longer holds any mystery. Whether you hear a Minimoog, a wavetable sound, a granular sound, it's electronic and we know what 'electronic sounds' are. There is no mystery as such, no invocation of futuristic lands. In the 1970s it was different. Even though electronic sounds were made much earlier than that, the 1970s brought it to the masses with commercial music. All of a sudden everyone was exposed to this new, mysterious electronic sound. "How is it made? How do you play it? Do you need to be a robot to play it? Is this what music is like in the year 1999?"

As to synthesis itself. This statement that we are looking to the past... We do. Sometimes. And personally, I'm very happy that we do as I love seeing some of the vintage synths being reproduced in software. This latest offering from G-force is absolutely amazing. I'm so happy that it was made. A unique, vintage synth recreated in software. Simply amazing. Does it mean that we only look to the past? Not really. If you look around you will find a huge number of synthesis techniques and synthesisers that do not try to emulate anything vintage.
In fact, I think we are spoiled with the amount of sound making techniques we have today. We truly are. We don't lack the tools. We lack the time and effort. People are lazy. If we were to list all the available synthesis designs and all the synthesisers that use them, we would have a list of such immense sonic power that you would never be able to explore it all fully in a lifetime.

So we are 'done', in that you will never re-claim that unique moment from which ever past year. The past is the past. Let it be. But we are not 'done' as even without any major breakthroughs in synthesis, the tools and instruments that we do have at our disposal, have hardly been fully explored yet.
http://www.electric-himalaya.com
VSTi and hardware synth sound design
3D/5D sound design since 2012

KVRAF

Topic Starter

6993 posts since 2 Dec, 2004 from North Wales

Post Thu Feb 25, 2021 4:01 pm

I tend to agree with that, both my daughters both have much broader taste than I have now! I am not knocking the music, there is always great music in every generation, though I also tend to agree that post dubstep there hasn’t really been anywhere for EDM to go!

I went down the eurorack/modular rabbit hole as I just got a bit bored with the retro VA stuff, their is plenty of craziness and invention in that scene and those guys are building hardware, yet the software scene seems more conservative and very subtractive (filter) orientated.

Maybe DAWS have become the new instruments, and producers the new musicians.
PC, Studio One, BWS, Live, FL Studio, Renoise, X32 Desk, Hardware Synths, Grove Boxes + Eurorack, TD27 V Drums, Guitars & Basses

KVRAF
5419 posts since 23 Mar, 2006 from pendeLondonmonium

Post Thu Feb 25, 2021 4:48 pm

SLiC wrote:
Thu Feb 25, 2021 4:01 pm
yet the software scene seems more conservative and very subtractive (filter) orientated.

I guess it's because it's very....comforting? Like a warm blanket during a cold winter's night. Something we crave. Ha! It's familiar, a newbie will understand it and start making cool sounds with, and a pro will continue making all the usual sounds, the same poly synths, unison stabs, and EDM plucks with ease. Basically, it supplies the majority of commercial sounds people tend to use (in commercial electronic music).

But again, we don't truly appreciate what we already have. Even if the focus on most of the current synth designs is on the subtractive side, look at something like Alchemy. This single synth has enough power and depth to keep you, or anyone else, occupied for many, many years. It really does.

I was reminded of this a while ago. I actually spent a lot of time making commercial patches for Alchemy and have used it in my own music too, so I thought I knew it. I even taught it to students at a university. I worked with it a lot and I thought I knew all it has to offer. Was I wrong. After a few years of not working with Alchemy I came back to it for a project. Because I had a long break from Alchemy, I approached it without 'muscle memory' and started exploring it in a different way. All of a sudden I was discovering sounds I never had before. Then at one point I was actually shocked to discover how much I missed, how much more depth there was, and how many new sounds were pouring out of Alchemy. This, after years of really deep explorations.

So, I truly think we should be exploring what we already have since there is much to be discovered. Take Alchemy2, PhasePlant, Harmor. Just these three distinctly non-vintage synths will occupy you for many years.
http://www.electric-himalaya.com
VSTi and hardware synth sound design
3D/5D sound design since 2012

KVRAF
4395 posts since 22 Nov, 2012

Post Thu Feb 25, 2021 5:25 pm

LMAO! yes, you ARE done. i challenge you to listen to today's tracks and tell me one track from the other. it is the most homogenous, copy cat, uninspired, boring tracks i have ever heard in my life. i cannot tell one track from the other, and it sounds like absolute TRASH!

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KVRAF
1937 posts since 12 Jan, 2019

Post Thu Feb 25, 2021 6:29 pm

In addition to dubstep and the metallic chops and growls, I think some are ever trying to push the limits in glitch music (Are they coming up with new sounds still?). I saw Mr. Bill throw like 20 saturators on a track and EQ to isolate some artifact-type, tiny sound. They are at least trying to go beyond the limits.

On the flip side, as a kid I watched the Buck Rogers TV show (the one with Twiggy-twiggy-twiggy). The writers/directors/producers tried to envision music of the future, and even as a kid, I was like, WTF? It was so hokey and tacky and blech.
"Have you ever noticed how anyone driving faster than you is a [jerk] and anyone driving slower than you is a moron?" - George Carlin

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KVRAF
1937 posts since 12 Jan, 2019

Post Thu Feb 25, 2021 6:37 pm

It took some searching, but I found one example: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Q1W6OlH3ms0

For the record, back in Nineteen Seventy Something, I called dibs on the evil princess. You can have Wilma.
"Have you ever noticed how anyone driving faster than you is a [jerk] and anyone driving slower than you is a moron?" - George Carlin

KVRAF
4395 posts since 22 Nov, 2012

Post Thu Feb 25, 2021 7:17 pm

isn't it sad that we don't even buy, or listen to music electronic music anymore because if you've heard one, you've heard them all, and it all sounds like it was literally pressed out by an iphone. like, by the phone itself. it got to the point that people were paying guys to show up with a laptop and hit play, and often the f**king laptops were not even plugged into the damn sound system, and NOBODY CARED. completely sterile, uncaring, removed, and you PAID them, and you f**king stood against a wall and tried to look cool. how embarrassing.

KVRAF
1619 posts since 6 Nov, 2006

Post Thu Feb 25, 2021 7:23 pm

wow. what are you listening to that soun dslike it was "pressed out by an iphone"? there's so much excellent music out there.. what are you listening to? expand your comfort zone to where things are a bit more experimental in composition etc. or quit whining and just keep listening to the same things you listened to 20 or 30 years ago. if you're only listening to one genre of music you're missing out. within electronic music there is an ocean of sound. it's only your fault if you're not experiencing it.
you can't be passive about this.. you have to go an find it.

KVRian
709 posts since 8 Mar, 2004 from Network 23

Post Thu Feb 25, 2021 7:36 pm

SLiC wrote:
Thu Feb 25, 2021 12:01 pm
So as yet another emulation of a 35 year old synths drives the KVR forums crazy, I was reminiscing about when electronic music sounded new, like the future...

Now we seem to try so hard to look and sound like the past...

Is there nothing left to do with synthesis other than tiny incremental improvements in copying something that already been done? Analogue, FM, Samples, PM, WT, Granular.

Is that it, are we done? :borg:
I would suggest the Future arrived and became the present. I remember when Elvis was new. I remember seeing The Beatles on Ed Sullivan - hell, I remember "I Wanna Hold Your Hand" dropping on AM radio before they were on Sullivan. We all know where music went from there.

The Future is always Just Around The Corner. Don't look for it. Define it. Build it. Tear it down and build it again. Talk about it, support it, disdain it, throw up your hands in frustration, write the next phrase, modulate that source.

That's why I lurk in KVR. As opinionated and snarky as folks can get here from time to time, someone's always trying something new.

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ZRVv2b-hL_0
Last edited by gnu23 on Thu Feb 25, 2021 7:46 pm, edited 1 time in total.
We shall see orchestral machines with a thousand new sounds, with thousands of new euphonies, as opposed to the present day's simple sounds of strings, brass, and woodwinds. -- George Antheil, circa 1925 ---

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KVRAF
10921 posts since 26 Jun, 2006 from San Francisco Bay Area

Post Thu Feb 25, 2021 7:46 pm

There are several issues as I see it. First off, we’re in an era called “post modern.” To overly simplify, it means that the constraints of art were tossed in the fire and now it’s a free-for-all. You can literally sign your name on a urinal and put it in a museum. So, without the constraints of culture, art sort of goes where it likes.

Second, fashion is cyclical. Kids call me old, and then tell me to get hip to the new music, which is old Motown R&B with modern production and lyrics. But, what happens when it is easier to get that original R&B track than it is to get the new track? Why bother making new music that may or may not hit, when you can be a DJ and just play other people’s established music and everyone loves you?

Third, we’re humans. The scope of the types of sounds we like is pretty narrow, but by historical standards, it’s pretty vast. 200 years ago the average person probably heard basic orchestral instruments and folk instruments like lutes, guitars and percussion stuff. Now we have all that plus instruments that can literally play any waveform you draw into them and morph it into any other one. What else is there? Ultimately, the sound of a sawtooth wave going though a filter is going to resonate (pun intended!) with us because that’s how most animals make sounds and we’re animals.

...and lastly, what future are you talking about? Mad Max? Star Trek The Next Generation? The Matrix? Robocop? (I think we’re actually in the Robocop future, minus the cyborgs.) I had a book about cities of the future when I was a kid and I was so excited to live in one of those cities, yet the Manhattan I went to as a kid looks more or less like the Manhattan of 2021 minus the Twin Towers. :scared: I’m 55 and I could see the World Trade Center going up from the top of the hill on my street. I watched the first flight of the Concord. Now planes look like they did in 1968, except they have computer assisted navigation that fails and causes them to sometimes plunge into the earth. So, that amazing domed city of flying cars and people-movers is basically unchanged except for better display technology and everyone staring at phones. That’s it really. The utopian city of my imagination turned out to be cellphones that hillbillies use to share racist propaganda... and cat videos. :party: So that’s that. We’ve all been disappointed by a future that we were promised that didn’t come to be. We’re mad at the future, and for good reason. We wanted Star Trek and we got Robocop without the robots.
Zerocrossing Media

4th Law of Robotics: When turning evil, display a red indicator light. ~[ ●_● ]~

KVRAF
4395 posts since 22 Nov, 2012

Post Thu Feb 25, 2021 8:09 pm

nope. these kids are listening to corny ass music, and i'm embarrassed for them. lol

i just went and tried to listen to some record shop top ten lists and i want my life back! only tracks i could get through the 15 second sample without hitting stop were the same guys and labels i was buying 20 years ago!

KVRAF
4395 posts since 22 Nov, 2012

Post Thu Feb 25, 2021 8:11 pm

music is made by people. it's not a damn algorithm. stop doing what you are told.

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KVRist
439 posts since 1 Jan, 2018

Post Thu Feb 25, 2021 10:44 pm

Dasheesh wrote:
Thu Feb 25, 2021 8:11 pm
stop doing what you are told.
ok.

KVRAF
5314 posts since 24 May, 2002 from Tutukaka, New Zealand

Post Thu Feb 25, 2021 11:24 pm

thecontrolcentre wrote:
Thu Feb 25, 2021 2:10 pm
All the young people (in their 20's) that I know have highly eclectic taste and are into dub. ska, techno, trance, dubstep, experimental electronica, disco, pop, rock, punk, jazz etc ... my daughter loves show tunes from the 40s and 50s.
Sadly...that kinda proves the point. They have eclectic tastes and listen to all kinds of music from the past - maybe because stuff from now is so characterless?

You do have a point though. Kids 30 years younger than me at least have started branching out musically. Maybe a decade ago, possibly two - many kids knew absolutely nothing of what came before them. Always used to take the piss when nephews/nieces would tell me about some great new tune, and I'd mention the original singer - of course they never believed it was just rehashed. Me - I used to listen to old rock'n'roll, jazz, 30s stuff Al Bowley and the like, 70s prog rock - most of which I absolutely hate by the way (well...not Al Bowley), but nevertheless was aware of it and exposed to it. So that definitely is a good thing. Spotify has done some good (though I don't like the business model and don't use it myself). But yeah, are they listening to it because the new alternative is just so shite?

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KVRAF
4136 posts since 7 Jun, 2012 from Warsaw

Post Fri Feb 26, 2021 12:00 am

and lastly, what future are you talking about? Mad Max? Star Trek The Next Generation? The Matrix? Robocop?
All of them are still in the cards :roll:
We wanted Star Trek and we got Robocop without the robots.
Star Trek is set 500 years in the future IIRC, so be patient :P What kind of technological advancement was made in last 50, 100 and 200 years?

As to the music - I claim that every style of music that ever attracted anyone is now still produced by someone, somewhere. It's just not mainstream - but there are still indie artists creating syntwave, new age, rave, hard trance to name a few seemingly dead styles.
But also a ton of artists messing with some undefined, experiemental "breaks", modulars and foleys that still may click with someone. Just open a main website of eg. Native Instruments or Ableton and read interviews. People can make music out of anything and still get some attention.
http://djwarmonger.wordpress.com/
Tricky-Loops wrote: (...)someone like Armin van Buuren who claims to make a track in half an hour and all his songs sound somewhat boring(...)

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