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Subject: Re: [motm] Breaking out of the synth cesspool [even longer]

From: jwbarlow@...
Date: 2000-03-26

In a message dated 3/25/2000 1:21:57 PM, daveb@... writes:

>It figures. Barlow is a stooge AND a guitar wanker <g>!

And not afraid to admit it either! I think there are a significant percentage
of guitar dudes involved with modulars (and on this list as well) -- maybe
like 25%. Hey! Let's have a census!

Don't blame the
>pitch bender. Blame the musicianship (or lack thereof) of the person
>attempting to use it. Examples run from the sublime (Jeff Beck and Jan
>Hammer duels) to the ridiculous (any Neil Young guitar solo, and any of
>thousand oowee oowee Minimoog solos with glide).

Interesting choices! I saw the last tour of the first Mahavishnu Orchestra
(May? 73 at the Roxy in LA) where Hammer was using Mini(s). I also saw
several shows (maybe 3-5) of the Beck/Hammer tours. I have to say I actually
preferred the Mahavishnu show to the others when thinking about Hammer's
playing -- in fact I prefer Hammer using the electric piano (brand?) through
a RM as heard in The Inner Mounting Flame to each of his successive outings.
I also admit that while I used to absolutely loath Neil Young, in the past
few years I've kind of grown to like listening to the odd solo of his (though
I think a whole evening would be hard to take). A very well studied
"innocence" about the instrument. I find myself thinking, "how could he have
played guitar for this many years, and still not be very good?"

I didn't intend to single out the pitch bend wheel (a very useful controller
indeed) as the thing that led to keyboardists jumping on the "lead" band
wagon. Controllers are always good, it's being out of control that isn't
good. Yeah, like the Jeff Beck wannabes (this JB for example), the Jan Hammer
wannabes did wonders to relegate the instrument to cliche-land.

BTW, if you follow my reasoning (and several of the points touched on by
others) you'll understand why I've not been that interested in guitar synths.

>(All time worst synth moment on record - intro to "Ridin' the Storm Out")

No idea what this is -- tell me more!

>IMHO what preset polys did was give the marginally competent keyboard player
>a way to get in on the action without ever having to understand the
>slightest thing about synthesis. Hence popular music began to abound with
>cliches even more than before. Hence the tales of Prophet 5s returning
>the factory for service with nary a factory preset changed. At least earlier
>synth wankers had to learn how to twist some knobs and listen to sound
>order to serve up their Minimoog cliches!

>A synthesist can make good and unique music with these machines, but you
>out what you put in.

It's a
>totally different form of performance for me. When I play the Chroma, I
>the keyboard. When I play the MOTM, I play the knobs!

Great way to put it!
John (actually not a bad right hand mono keyboard player -- insert joke here
-- due to four years of torture behind the accordion when I was a wee lad)