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West Coast modular sound
Old 20th April 2016 | Show parent
  #31
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Originally Posted by Named User View Post
......

Finally, I am not sure Charles Cohen who be available for a Q and A as I understand he is having some personal issues.
Actually I thought Don Buchla would be a great choice for a possible future inventor/manufacturer type Q&A sessions. But I'm sure I could learn a thing or two from a musician such as Charles Cohen as well. That said, we had a poll and, with some exceptions, we're trying to get the ones on that list first. As long as it's interesting and informative, eh
Old 20th April 2016 | Show parent
  #32
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Originally Posted by Reptil View Post
Actually I thought Don Buchla would be a great choice for a possible future inventor/manufacturer type Q&A sessions. But I'm sure I could learn a thing or two from a musician such as Charles Cohen as well. That said, we had a poll and, with some exceptions, we're trying to get the ones on that list first. As long as it's interesting and informative, eh
On the one hand I totally agree. I mean he's definitely one of the most important electronic music pioneers alive today.

On the other hand, have you ever tried talking to Don? I suspect it might not go quite as expected ... He is a brilliant man, but not exactly effusive. Not trying to kill the idea, but participants would probably have to approach the conversation more like a meeting with a PhD thesis supervisor than a chat over beer and peanuts.

Last edited by kkonkkrete; 20th April 2016 at 02:16 PM.. Reason: typo
Old 20th April 2016 | Show parent
  #33
He hasn't invented or manufactured anything for years though.
The last development at Buchla was the E series. That's got to be over ten years ago.
Also, the E series is such a specialised thing. What he did in the 60's and 70's is amazing, but as far as 'inventor/manufacturer' guests are concerned..... I think there are more active, currently relevant people around.
Old 20th April 2016
  #34
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enossified's Avatar
The primary market for synthesizers in the 1960s was music departments at colleges. Most were interested in electronic music for composition purposes much as the RCA MkII had been used at Columbia University, live performance wasn't much of a concern. Academic experimentation with synthesizers continued well into the 1970s and academia developed the technology behind the Yamaha DX7 (John Chowning at Stanford) and the Synclavier (Jon Appleton, Sydney Alsonso and Cameron Jones at Dartmouth).

Moog didn't offer keyboards at first either, it was Herb Deutsch who suggested the idea to Bob Moog. Wendy Carlos later asked for velocity response.
Old 20th April 2016
  #35
So can I make Miami bass with a Buchla or not?
Old 20th April 2016
  #36
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Quote:
He hasn't invented or manufactured anything for years though.
Not really true, for example :

Old 20th April 2016 | Show parent
  #37
1) has it ever been released?
2) Don hasn't been involved with Buchla in the BEMI guise - I thought since 2015 (your video).
In fact I think he's suing them or something.
Old 20th April 2016
  #38
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Not released but still invented
Old 20th April 2016 | Show parent
  #39
Like I said - inactive.
But did Don even invent it?
There seems to have been a toxic atmosphere around BEMI since at least 2015.
Old 20th April 2016
  #40
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You said exactly "He hasn't invented..."
Yes, he has and yes it is his design.

Anyway, he's still relevant.
Old 20th April 2016 | Show parent
  #41
It's part of the 200E series, which I pointed out was largely developed 15 or more years ago.
So he's been involved in one newish module - which has never seen the light of day.
I also said he hadn't manufactured anything lately.
He's no longer involved in Buchla (as a company).
So you say he's relevant - I say because he's been largely inactive and when he was his instruments appealed to a tiny niche - he's nowhere near as relevant as many other current electronic music designers and inventors.
We'll have to agree to disagree.
>I say this as a Buchla owner<
Old 20th April 2016
  #42
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Cool that you agree with the fact that he did invent a new module recently, contrary to what you first said.
Old 20th April 2016
  #43
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You might want to listen to Silver Apples On the Moon, Wild Bull and Side Winder. These are all early Morton Subotnick albums. These are some of the first recordings of a Buchla synth and the start of the West Coast synth sound. Silver Apples was the first synth album to be commissioned by a record label. It was released at the same time as Switched on Bach, so it kind of got lost in a commercial sense. It was also much less accessible to the mass market record buyer, that did not help ether.
Old 20th April 2016 | Show parent
  #44
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Originally Posted by Bio View Post
Cool that you agree with the fact that he did invent a new module recently, contrary to what you first said.
Uuugh.
Just forget I also said he hadn't manufactured anything - why don't you.
Old 20th April 2016
  #45
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FWIW, the 252e is both released and available.

Here's a link to a lecture Don gave explaining the complexity of the rhythms it can produce. Interesting content; terrible camera work.
Old 20th April 2016 | Show parent
  #46
Quote:
Originally Posted by kkonkkrete View Post
On the one hand I totally agree. I mean he's definitely one of the most important electronic music pioneers alive today.

On the other hand, have you ever tried talking to Don? I suspect it might not go quite as expected ... He is a brilliant man, but not exactly effusive. Not trying to kill the idea, but participants would probably have to approach the conversation more like a meeting with a PhD thesis supervisor than a chat over beer and peanuts.
we have ways to make anyone talk gneh gneh gneh

I thought the Red Bull interview wasn't completely satisfactory, and not at all on music-technical issues.
It isn't easy to reach people like Don, that's for sure!
as for which person is more important for the development of music or music technology, sure, the jury is still out on that one. (probably forever)
it's just some ideas.. right now the producer-artist Q&A has only just started so....

Quote:
Originally Posted by BTByrd View Post
.....
Here's a link to a lecture Don gave explaining the complexity of the rhythms it can produce. Interesting content; terrible camera work.
informative, thanks! you'd think that a college of engineering would have some way of making inhouse video transcripts of such lectures themselves, but I guess not

back on topic. I agree there's a HUGE amount of very interesting eurorack modules. you do not need to buy a Buchla, Serge or even original Wiard, though these are magnificent instruments by themselves.
please let's hear your "west coast" compostions?
Old 20th April 2016 | Show parent
  #47
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Originally Posted by plaid_emu View Post
So can I make Miami bass with a Buchla or not?
haha why yes of course. the first 5 years I only made electro with my doepfer. a modular is perfect for that.
Old 20th April 2016 | Show parent
  #48
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The whole topic of West Coast synthesis was very interesting to me getting into my Eurorack, it was something I approached with absolutely zero knowledge or background. I personally prefer Grant Richter's fairly detailed explanation (already posted upthread) to anything else I've ever read or heard, it's a fairly good practical description of some of the more obvious differences. West Coast definitely isn't just one kind of synthesis, though; while I might be tempted to make mention of the LPG as a replacement for more EC style filtering I'm pretty sure Serge is based on filtering (honestly I know almost nothing about Serge) and I guess Wiard's filters are kind of hybrid filter/LPGs no? Anyway Buchla made straight up filters as well. And there are plenty of major differences in synthesis methodology between those three classic systems as well. So it's going to be tough to nail down a solid, consistent definition of West Coast versus talking about what seem to be 'typical' differences from East Coast.

Interestingly after putting together an AJH based (Model D) voice and a 2600-ish voice I started to put together a West Coast voice. It started kind of haphazardly: Maths and STO were first, then I added an Optomix to see what an LPG did and before I knew it I was scoping out a Buchla flavored wave folder to put with my pair of Sputnik 258s. And over the last 6 months or so an interesting realization hit me: in some ways I actually prefer West Coast synthesis to East Coast (in my modular, anyway). I find the whole range of that voice to be much to my liking, easier to operate than my East Coast voices and just more intuitive to my thinking overall.

Where I disagree with some is the notion that West Coast synthesis implies some specific form of music. I don't understand that exactly; I mean sure Silver Apples is probably the most famous album ever made with a WC setup (which, despite being well known in modular circles, is not very well known in general). But that same way of thinking would lead someone to believe that all East Coast synthesis is basically just Bach.

In fact I run a monthly patch on my YouTube channel called West Coast Bach. The discussion of whether melodic music such as Bach qualified as "West Coast synthesis" came up over at Muffwiggler. I understand that WC synthesis was born in the SF Tape Music Center but I find it silly to think that it is somehow constrained to that arena. Many names have been mentioned already, all great examples; add to that Kaitlyn Aurelia Smith (if she's been mentioned already my apologies) who tends towards West Coast styles and instruments as well and certainly qualifies as 'musical' or 'melodic'. West Coast is a method/style for patching synthesizers; it's not a musical genre.

Attached are one of the Bach pieces and a goof I came up with right after the MW discussion about whether WC synthesis properly applies to melodic music: a Bill Monroe bluegrass tune that Make Noise lovingly referred to as 'the Buchla banjo'. The only sounds in WCBlue that isn't from the WC Euro voice (other than the singing obviously) are the rhythmic strums which I did in Aalto (a West Coast soft synth).

Old 20th April 2016 | Show parent
  #49
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BTByrd's Avatar
Quote:
Originally Posted by ngarjuna View Post
In fact I run a monthly patch on my YouTube channel called West Coast Bach.
I've loved your videos since I first came across them. Fantastic work, good fellow. Fantastic work!
Old 20th April 2016 | Show parent
  #50
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ngarjuna's Avatar
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Originally Posted by BTByrd View Post
I've loved your videos since I first came across them. Fantastic work, good fellow. Fantastic work!
Very kind of you to say, thank you.
Old 20th April 2016 | Show parent
  #51
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Quote:
Originally Posted by ngarjuna View Post
Where I disagree with some is the notion that West Coast synthesis implies some specific form of music. I don't understand that exactly; I mean sure Silver Apples is probably the most famous album ever made with a WC setup (which, despite being well known in modular circles, is not very well known in general). But that same way of thinking would lead someone to believe that all East Coast synthesis is basically just Bach.
Well it's a historical term that references the origins of the two synthesis styles. The first Buchla synth was commissioned by Subtonick and Ramon Sender and built to their specifications. And Carlos had a big influence on the development of the Moog. It's not just about subtractive vs. FM but the whole design philosophy of the instruments. Moog had piano keyboards and fixed filter banks that were suited to emulating acoustic instruments. Buchla had touch plates and other strange features that intentionally avoided traditional musical approaches and terminology and were more geared toward aleatoric composition and radically new sounds.

The terms "east coast" and "west coast" aren't relevant anymore and of course you can make whatever music you want on each instrument. But historically speaking they were two different approaches to synth design that grew out of two radically different philosophies about the music itself.

It's like calling an ES-175 a "jazz guitar." That doesn't mean that you can't play rock on it, and it doesn't mean that you can't play jazz on a strat. it's just a recognition of the era in which the instrument was developed and the style of music that it was primarily used for at the time.
Old 20th April 2016 | Show parent
  #52
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ngarjuna's Avatar
Quote:
Originally Posted by oche ecaps View Post
Well it's a historical term that references the origins of the two synthesis styles. The first Buchla synth was commissioned by Subtonick and Ramon Sender and built to their specifications. And Carlos had a big influence on the development of the Moog. It's not just about subtractive vs. FM but the whole design philosophy of the instruments. Moog had piano keyboards and fixed filter banks that were suited to emulating acoustic instruments. Buchla had touch plates and other strange features that intentionally avoided traditional musical approaches and terminology and were more geared toward aleatoric composition and radically new sounds.

The terms "east coast" and "west coast" aren't relevant anymore and of course you can make whatever music you want on each instrument. But historically speaking they were two different approaches to synth design that grew out of two radically different philosophies about the music itself.

It's like calling an ES-175 a "jazz guitar." That doesn't mean that you can't play rock on it, and it doesn't mean that you can't play jazz on a strat. it's just a recognition of the era in which the instrument was developed and the style of music that it was primarily used for at the time.
Fair point. I would say that it is potentially still relevant in terms of conveying to the synthesizer/module buyer the sort of design aesthetic underlying the controls; as you point out, the design differences are clear and abundant. Granted I would find it more useful to say something was based on a DUSG or 281 vs. "west coast" but I could see some preferring the more general label (rather than having to tab out to Google and figure out what some exotic acronym or 3-digit number refers to).
Old 21st April 2016
  #53
East Coast = Musical = Wendy Carlos, Switched on Bach
West Coast = Sonic = Morton Subotnik, Silver Apples of the Moon
Old 21st April 2016 | Show parent
  #54
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Quote:
Originally Posted by ngarjuna View Post
I would say that it is potentially still relevant in terms of conveying to the synthesizer/module buyer the sort of design aesthetic underlying the controls;
Yeah, I agree. I just meant that those terms refer to the history behind the designs. It doesn't mean that you can't make bug music in New York or play Bach on a Buchla. And of course there's no reason to stick exclusively to one or the other.
Old 21st April 2016 | Show parent
  #55
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Quote:
Originally Posted by cogsy View Post
You know how synths can sound beautiful, musical, and melodic? It's basically the exact opposite of that.

The documentary I Dream of Wires covers it pretty well. I think the seminal work is the (unlistenable) album Silver Apples on the Moon. To me, West coast all sounds like the garbage when someone randomly cranks knobs on their $10k modular.
I'm a modular guy... and this is hilarious
Old 21st April 2016 | Show parent
  #56
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Quote:
Originally Posted by chrisso View Post
Uuugh.
Just forget I also said he hadn't manufactured anything - why don't you.
Lol you said invented or released and anyway it's even released ! Why do you prefer arguing instead of learning something new ? Maybe he is even working on others new module.

I generaly like yours posts but something you should let it go...
Old 21st April 2016
  #57
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fiddlestickz's Avatar
absolutely loved those videos ngarjuna...very nicely done..

can I ask, how were the notes played, was it originally a midi file played out from a DAW converted from MIDI to CV/gate..? or did you play those by hand via a keyboard..??
Old 21st April 2016 | Show parent
  #58
Quote:
Originally Posted by Helmey View Post
East Coast = Musical = Wendy Carlos, Switched on Bach
West Coast = Sonic = Morton Subotnik, Silver Apples of the Moon
That's already been said, but it isn't true (or true any more).
I've done a ton of musical (melodic/tonal) work on my Buchla. And there are a ton of sound design style 'sonic' videos on youtube using subtractive modules, especially in Eurorack.
In the end, I just don't think it helps modular novices to see subtractive as 'traditional' and 'West Coast' as noise, bleeps, bloops and otherworldly.
Old 21st April 2016 | Show parent
  #59
Quote:
Originally Posted by Bio View Post
Lol you said invented or released and anyway it's even released ! Why do you prefer arguing instead of learning something new ? Maybe he is even working on others new module.
Why are you so obsessed.
I 100% stand by saying he is less relevant as a Gearslutz guest than many others working in Modular design right now.
His customer base was a tiny niche at best, and he hasn't done anything new (apart from a couple of E modules) in the last ten years, since the launch of the 200E. The thing is..... the last ten years has been huge in modular synthesis.
Old 21st April 2016
  #60
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As an enormous admirer of Don Buchla and his work, I have to say I think Chrisso's probably right. There hasn't been a huge slew of recent products directly from Don Buchla. On the other hand, sometimes it is interesting to hear the perspective of someone who has been there 'from the start' so to speak. I think he is a very thoughtful person, with interests outside music too. He was working on some devices for the blind and partially sighted.

Anyway, back to topic. I think it's also important to distinguish between Buchla and Serge, even though they are both 'West Coast' because they have completely different patching philosophies. Buchla is like a high level object-oriented programming language, Serge is more like writing assembler. And that definitely has an effect on what comes out if you are taking an 'exploratory' approach to making a patch.
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