Wednesday, October 3, 2012


I have been creating music now for a long time and I am no neophyte with a synthesizer. From my first album, Morton Subotnick's "Side Winder" on the Buchla Music box I have been seeking a kind of holy grail of synthesis. That is, to be able to create any sound.

Now, decades after that 1st album and many many hours using just about every method of synthesis I now yawn when anyone talks about waveforms. The truth is that what I find really interesting about sound is the wrapping paper.

Confused? Ok, consider a violin. What makes a fine violin sound so good? People pay more money than they would pay for a house for a Stradivarius. So, is it the fretboard, the strings, the bow that create the magic? No, it's the wrapping, the body of the violin.

In the same way why are certain Cathedrals, recording studios and concert halls coveted? Tangerine Dream used to play in Churches why? Simple, the wrapping, the acoustics.

Even consider the language of synthesizers. We speak of envelopes. The wrapping for notes. Every note that a musician plays breathes. Like our lungs are filled with air notes will the space around them and breathe. Even our words are breathe. Music is rhythm.

But with the advent of the computer we have reduced that breath, that wrapping of a note to a 1 and a zero, a pulse, a trigger. Notes on drum machines and sequencers become boxes. Sound is in your face and yes, without breathe and soul. We give our musical gifts but we forget the wrapping paper.

So, I guess that is why I am interested in acoustic wrapping paper. Be it the body of a violin or the acoustics of a great cathedral as I look not for waveforms digitized in 1s and 0s but breathe.

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