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SovietSpaceChild 3rd April 2015 06:37 PM

Quote:

Originally Posted by EDGEK8D (Post 10942518)
I don't get the Buchla thing.

kfhkh



Quote:

Originally Posted by EDGEK8D (Post 10942518)
I appreciate he is a genius and basically invented the synthesizer, but there is a reason Moog is Moog, and Buchla is Buchla. That's just me though, and I only desire to make and listen to sounds within the confines of Western theory.

There's nothing saying that one can't make western style music on a Buchla, even when using some of the more unorthodox input methods. It's all up to the user.


James Meeker 4th April 2015 07:29 AM

A few things:

1. I've been entrenched in "east coast" style synthesis for well over 2 decades. I've owned well over 40 different synths--mostly analog--over the years. After a while you just get *bored* of VCO/VCF/VCA architectures. I'm not saying one is superior to the other. Heck, I still love "traditional" synthesis as much as the next guy. I just want something different. I would like to be excited by electronic instruments again.

2. I understand why some people take issue with Buchla because, honestly, there isn't a ton of great music historically featuring a Buchla or west coast synthesis styles. However, there are more talented people making music, not just random boops and bleeps, using a Buchla styled instrument all the time.

3. Buchla can totally do "western" music (12 tone diatonic). Track down an artist named Lyonel Bauchet to hear what happens when a consummate talent devotes themselves to incorporating a Buchla into westernized music.

4. For whatever reason none of the west coast styled modules have the musicality of Buchla's designs. First off, I'm not much of a Serge fan... sure, the architecture is impressively dense and the capabilities mind-numbing. But a Serge sounds too clinical to me, too much like lab equipment whereas Buchla sounds like an electronic organism.

5. The Music Easel is very much an instrument in its own right. There really isn't a substitute for it.

6. Because I can. Because I'll probably scoop up a Prophet 6 or Oberheim TVS a year from now. Analog synths are easy to find and cheaper than the Easel.

Just some of my thoughts. I've deliberated on this action (Sell Prophet to fund Easel) since the Music Easel was announced. Finally decided to go through with it.

James Meeker 4th April 2015 07:47 AM

Quote:

Originally Posted by Estin (Post 10944760)
The thought of people having a complete system without a single filter boggles my mind. mezed

I thought the same thing when Buchla introduced the 200e and I was in 'east coast' mode. The modules didn't make any sense. The thought of not being able to do fat Minimoog style baselines on an expensive modular seemed daft. I was put off by how few oscillators there were in the big systems, and so on.

But, out of the blue, I got it. It's not as alien as you think. Traditional Buchla architecture typically includes the ability to filter. There are a few main ways: (1) the low pass gate is a non-resonant filter, or (2) bandpass filtering such as the 296e or 291. Plus, the basis of the complex oscillator design allows for control over the harmonic structure of the waveform in ways that "approximate" filtering (actually, filtering approximates the process of harmonic excitement that happens in the real world and on a Buchla). Both systems ultimately achieve the goal of manipulating timbre over time, just in completely opposite fashions (FMish additive synthesis versus subtractive synthesis).

That speaks the simultaneous strength and weakness of 'east coast' synthesis--the over-reliance on filtering to achieve sounds. It is a strength because it is simple to understand, excellent sounding, and easy to program. It is a weakness because so many 'east coast' sounds rely heavily on the filter and become very similar sounding after a while.

Furthermore, it is astounding what can be accomplished with a single complex oscillator. In some ways it is a reproach to larger 'east coast' designs that need 3+ oscillators to make an interesting sound.

A Buchla isn't for everyone. It is completely Martian compared to 'typical' synthesizers. That being said, my next big purchase year from now will probably be a small Mos Labs modular (approximately equivalent to a Minimoog with options).

Coorec 4th April 2015 10:54 AM

Tbh i dont get the whole "different" philosophies thing thats going on between the Moog and the Buchla approach. Even calling it East and West and whatnot...

To my ears, one focuses more on the sound generation side of things. On the oscillators one might say.
The other focuses on processing the sound with filters and amps.

Now where i fail to follow is where this is different. Sonically they are put together in so many different ways already. Dont tell me Buchla songs arent mixed with equalizers, or you never heard of FM being filtered in a SY77.

May be i do make a fool of myself by not seeing the obvious differences but to me this is an artificial seperation of things. I really dont see how it matters much.

TonyFM 4th April 2015 11:35 AM

The differences are night and day. They sound nothing like eachother and i am not talking tone here but the modulations and what modules do to the sound are whole different concepts. You either are west coast or east coast baby

Coorec 4th April 2015 12:20 PM

Quote:

Originally Posted by TonyFM (Post 10946524)
You either are west coast or east coast baby

I am german. My ears tell me: put the Buchla thru the Moog... May be thats why wavetable synths come from our side of the pond. gooof

Mans 4th April 2015 02:33 PM

Quote:

Originally Posted by TonyFM (Post 10946524)
The differences are night and day. They sound nothing like eachother and i am not talking tone here but the modulations and what modules do to the sound are whole different concepts. You either are west coast or east coast baby

Perhaps if you're stuck in the 70s.

CthonicEwes 4th April 2015 03:52 PM

Well, I think historically the difference between East Coast and West Coast approaches refer to the initial aim of synthesis as an imitative medium (East Coast )where early artists (Carlos, Deutsch--aided by Moog) were trying to reproduce Western classical music via subtractive synthesis; West Coast practitioners (Subotnik---aided by Buchla) were less interested in imitation and more interested in creation...and, to certain degree, psychedelia. These are very broad generalizations. Trevor Pinch, in his book "Analogue Days," very cleverly teases out the distinctions between the two approaches.

I am not sure how the differences stand today.

shadowfac 4th April 2015 04:05 PM

Quote:

Originally Posted by James Meeker (Post 10946246)
Because I can. Because I'll probably scoop up a Prophet 6 or Oberheim TVS a year from now. Analog synths are easy to find and cheaper than the Easel.

Quote:

Originally Posted by James Meeker (Post 10946264)
That being said, my next big purchase year from now will probably be a small Mos Labs modular (approximately equivalent to a Minimoog with options).

So the Prophet 6 or Oberheim TVS would not be considered a "big purchase"? :amaze:

TonyFM 4th April 2015 06:36 PM

Quote:

Originally Posted by Mans (Post 10946740)
Perhaps if you're stuck in the 70s.

i never said you cannot have both. i'll have a slim phatty in my rack because i am not hoping to get exactly that kind of bass from a buchla system but my favorite is west coast synthesis

Estin 4th April 2015 06:54 PM

Quote:

Originally Posted by James Meeker (Post 10946264)
I thought the same thing when Buchla introduced the 200e and I was in 'east coast' mode. The modules didn't make any sense. The thought of not being able to do fat Minimoog style baselines on an expensive modular seemed daft. I was put off by how few oscillators there were in the big systems, and so on.

But, out of the blue, I got it. It's not as alien as you think. Traditional Buchla architecture typically includes the ability to filter. There are a few main ways: (1) the low pass gate is a non-resonant filter, or (2) bandpass filtering such as the 296e or 291. Plus, the basis of the complex oscillator design allows for control over the harmonic structure of the waveform in ways that "approximate" filtering (actually, filtering approximates the process of harmonic excitement that happens in the real world and on a Buchla). Both systems ultimately achieve the goal of manipulating timbre over time, just in completely opposite fashions (FMish additive synthesis versus subtractive synthesis).

That speaks the simultaneous strength and weakness of 'east coast' synthesis--the over-reliance on filtering to achieve sounds. It is a strength because it is simple to understand, excellent sounding, and easy to program. It is a weakness because so many 'east coast' sounds rely heavily on the filter and become very similar sounding after a while.

Furthermore, it is astounding what can be accomplished with a single complex oscillator. In some ways it is a reproach to larger 'east coast' designs that need 3+ oscillators to make an interesting sound.

A Buchla isn't for everyone. It is completely Martian compared to 'typical' synthesizers. That being said, my next big purchase year from now will probably be a small Mos Labs modular (approximately equivalent to a Minimoog with options).

Thanks for the breakdown and insight James, very clear and concise. I'd def just say follow your instincts then, you are the one that has to live and make music with it. freshflowe

EDGEK8D 4th April 2015 07:26 PM

Quote:

Originally Posted by James Meeker (Post 10946246)
A few things:

1. I've been entrenched in "east coast" style synthesis for well over 2 decades. I've owned well over 40 different synths--mostly analog--over the years. After a while you just get *bored* of VCO/VCF/VCA architectures. I'm not saying one is superior to the other. Heck, I still love "traditional" synthesis as much as the next guy. I just want something different. I would like to be excited by electronic instruments again.

2. I understand why some people take issue with Buchla because, honestly, there isn't a ton of great music historically featuring a Buchla or west coast synthesis styles. However, there are more talented people making music, not just random boops and bleeps, using a Buchla styled instrument all the time.

3. Buchla can totally do "western" music (12 tone diatonic). Track down an artist named Lyonel Bauchet to hear what happens when a consummate talent devotes themselves to incorporating a Buchla into westernized music.

4. For whatever reason none of the west coast styled modules have the musicality of Buchla's designs. First off, I'm not much of a Serge fan... sure, the architecture is impressively dense and the capabilities mind-numbing. But a Serge sounds too clinical to me, too much like lab equipment whereas Buchla sounds like an electronic organism.

5. The Music Easel is very much an instrument in its own right. There really isn't a substitute for it.

6. Because I can. Because I'll probably scoop up a Prophet 6 or Oberheim TVS a year from now. Analog synths are easy to find and cheaper than the Easel.

Just some of my thoughts. I've deliberated on this action (Sell Prophet to fund Easel) since the Music Easel was announced. Finally decided to go through with it.

Awesome man! Like I said, I'm sure much of my prejudice is based on ignorance of how Buchla/West Coast sound design works. I can definitely hear some really interesting sounds coming from Buchla.......I imagine it being like trying to learn a different language. Good luck, and I hope you enjoy it. Let us hear some demos after you get some time with it.

EDGEK8D 4th April 2015 07:30 PM

Quote:

Originally Posted by SovietSpaceChild (Post 10944971)
kfhkh



Wow! That studio is ridiculous. He's got so much stuff he has two EMS synths including a Synthi, on the floor! :lol:

James Meeker 5th April 2015 12:00 AM

Quote:

Originally Posted by shadowfac (Post 10946918)
So the Prophet 6 or Oberheim TVS would not be considered a "big purchase"? :amaze:

Yeah, they are pretty big purchases. However, one can order them and receive them with very little fuss. It can be (unfortunately) more difficult to track down a Buchla. I could order a TVS right now and expect to receive it next week.....

Furthermore, there are plenty of substitutes for a Prophet 6. Granted, the character may be different or a dozen other minor things, but there is a reasonably long list of nice sounding polyphonic analog synths: Jupiter 8, OB-Xa, Prophet 5, and so on. Whereas only a Buchla suffices for the Buchla sound/interface/experience.

James Meeker 5th April 2015 12:25 AM

Quote:

Originally Posted by EDGEK8D (Post 10947276)
Awesome man! Like I said, I'm sure much of my prejudice is based on ignorance of how Buchla/West Coast sound design works. I can definitely hear some really interesting sounds coming from Buchla.......I imagine it being like trying to learn a different language. Good luck, and I hope you enjoy it. Let us hear some demos after you get some time with it.

Honestly, those sounds or workflow aren't for everyone. If one is doing 'traditional' music--meaning 99.99% of all electronic music written--the east coast style is the way to go. Every other instrument I have is Westernized, or will be utilized in that fashion.

James Meeker 5th April 2015 12:27 AM

Quote:

Originally Posted by Coorec (Post 10946572)
I am german. My ears tell me: put the Buchla thru the Moog... May be thats why wavetable synths come from our side of the pond. gooof

No, it's because Wolfgang Palm was German and he couldn't develop a good sounding digital filter at the time. Like most geniuses the limitations of his environment were used to his advantage.

James Meeker 5th April 2015 12:37 AM

Quote:

Originally Posted by Coorec (Post 10946481)
May be i do make a fool of myself by not seeing the obvious differences but to me this is an artificial seperation of things. I really dont see how it matters much.

There is a lot of truth to this. A lot boils down to how simple it is to accomplish "X" on any given platform. There are many similar sounds available on both paradigms, but simpler in one format versus the other, and vise versa.

Now, there are technical limitations--boiling down to what is 'available' based on the paradigm--that can create divisions in the output of either system. For example, the classic Buchla low pass gate doesn't feature regeneration/emphasis/resonance. However, it could be made to do so if designers wanted to (e.g. Verbos). Similarly, nothing in the east coast paradigm really approximates a Source of Uncertainty modules. Once again, this could be *technically* remedied.

Next are the philosophical approaches of the artists. Most Buchla-minded folks want something different. It's a countercultural, counter normative, experimental mindset that tends to guide these artists. An art metaphor would probably be that Buchla people are abstract, non-representational artists. East coast, on the other hand, is representational art... very much following a traditional path. West coast is more intuitive; east coast more rational. East coast is philosophy; west coast is zen. ...and so on.

Granted, these are approximate metaphors that completely fall apart on the individual artistic level. Keep in mind that all instruments are merely tools to accomplish a goal, no more integral to the end product as a brush or pot of paint. It is the artistic vision, and the ability to best translate that vision through tools and technique, that counts.

rids 5th April 2015 01:43 AM

Is the only way to purchase the Music Easel direct through Buchla? James, where did you buy yours?

Futureman84 5th April 2015 02:26 AM

Hi James - I'm occasionally flirting with the idea of selling a big gun and buying an Easel, but I haven't heard any videos that have blown me away.
It sure looks a thing of beauty.

Any particular tracks or clips that helped your decision?

Mike

James Meeker 5th April 2015 04:29 AM

Quote:

Originally Posted by Futureman84 (Post 10948114)
Hi James - I'm occasionally flirting with the idea of selling a big gun and buying an Easel, but I haven't heard any videos that have blown me away.

Any particular tracks or clips that helped your decision?

https://soundcloud.com/lyonel/over-t...e-silver-cords

https://soundcloud.com/lyonel/motionless-and-still

https://soundcloud.com/lyonel/there-and-back-again

Mans 5th April 2015 05:28 AM

Quote:

Originally Posted by TonyFM (Post 10947183)
i never said you cannot have both. i'll have a slim phatty in my rack because i am not hoping to get exactly that kind of bass from a buchla system but my favorite is west coast synthesis

The whole seperation thing is silly in this day and age. Many, many euro systems are hybrids. You are not either west or east. No one will ever stop you from putting a wave folder before or after a 24dB low pass filter.

James Meeker 5th April 2015 06:44 AM

Quote:

Originally Posted by Mans (Post 10948365)
The whole seperation thing is silly in this day and age. Many, many euro systems are hybrids. You are not either west or east. No one will ever stop you from putting a wave folder before or after a 24dB low pass filter.

I agree, but historically these paradigms were approximately true and still influential. Thus, it is convenient to conceptualize things in this fashion realizing it is a contested perspective.

TonyFM 5th April 2015 08:38 AM

Quote:

Originally Posted by Mans (Post 10948365)
The whole seperation thing is silly in this day and age. Many, many euro systems are hybrids. You are not either west or east. No one will ever stop you from putting a wave folder before or after a 24dB low pass filter.

Of course most euro systems are hybrid, afterall why not?

Its not like i am bashing one over another or turning all this into an analog vs digital sort of discussion.

I am just saying that they are way different, definitely worth having both and that i way prefer the west coast style. I do have trasitional substractive synth voices in my euro system but if i were to choose one i'd take a buchla over another modular

mcpepe 5th April 2015 10:22 AM

Really interesting thread!!

Someone can explain to me the specific elements /path that characterized the west coast synthesis?

I mean, substractive (east-coast) synthesis is usually 2 oscillators detuned into a filter and into an amp, using envelopes and lfos to modulate various parameters, generally speaking of course.

mcpepe 5th April 2015 10:44 AM

I answer to myself. I found this interesting explanation:

In the "West Coast" instruments, there are 3 possible synthesis modes. Additive, non-linear waveshaping and dynamic depth FM are the primary synthesis modes. "East Coast" subtractive synthesis is typically not DIRECTLY supported. It was not in the Buchla or Serge (no 24 dB/Oct. resonant filter). Good aproximations of subtractive synthesis can be patch on the Serge with cascaded filters. These instruments are oriented towards controlling with a multiple output sequencer or multiple output complex envelope generator instead of a black and white keyboard. They produce a larger and more importantly, different set of timbres than the simpler "East Coast" instruments.

The classic patch in a "West Coast" instrument involves two blocks. The first is a complex oscillator which supports both non-linear waveshaping and dynamic depth FM (Buchla 259 and Serge NTO). The second signal processor is a Lowpass Gate or "frequency and amplitude domain processor". The primary timbre generation is done directly with the oscillator, and the Lowpass Gate just tweaks the amplitude and frequency character. These two blocks are designed to be controlled by one complex envelope generator with multiple outputs routed to all the timbre factors.


From here: East Coast vs West Coast - MamonuLabs

Septik 5th April 2015 11:00 AM

Quote:

Originally Posted by rids (Post 10941280)
A Buchla is a Buchla. When you want a Buchla, most likely nothing else is going to do because of it's esoteric modules.

True this. I'm very familiar with Eurorack and Serge Modulars, and buchla is a whole another ballgame, rather than league (it's very different synthesis style, not quality) playing with a buchla is totally different. All of the function generators and modifiers are bizarre. The complex/harmonic oscillators and random gens (more common modules) can have eurorack clones, but as stated, the esoteric modules are pretty unique. Thouh most of these modules are not featured on the easel, so I'm not sure it's the best representation of this point I'm making.

Mefistophelees 5th April 2015 03:14 PM

Quote:

Originally Posted by James Meeker (Post 10948458)
I agree, but historically these paradigms were approximately true and still influential.

I'm going off the whole east/west coast distinction.
It's a useful shorthand for the difference between the synthesiser styles of Buchla and Moog in the 60s / early 70s. but that's it. Look beyond that and you'll find the distinction is either inaccurate or flat out wrong:


The first east coast synth was probably the Trautonium. Built in Germany in 1929/30. 4 years before Moog was born.

East coast synths were also made on the west coast of the US, in Canada, Japan and many other countries.

The Buchla 100 was pretty much built for Morton Subotnick who is indeed an experimental musician.

Some of the early demos made for Moog modulars were also very experimental.

Moog modulars were also not originally meant to have keyboards. Moog added them because he was asked to.



The whole east/west coast thing is not only inaccurate but it is a very US centric view that gives the impression that electronic instruments started in the US in the 60s. In reality, they had been in development around the world for the best part of a century before Moog or Buchla built their machines.


As for modern Eurorack systems:
You can get east and west coast modules in Eurorack as well as hybrids. However, these are really only two of many different synthesis styles present so limiting yourself to one or the other is well, limiting. In modular, you can of course happily mix and match them all.

CthonicEwes 5th April 2015 04:34 PM

It's called a generalization. Geez..., it does have a use as a way of looking at things historically, and is not innaccurate per se. You seem to have a chip on your shoulder because it refers to the two main American inventors of modern Synthesizers. I can't help you with that, but perhaps you could relax a bit.

But then again, should I expect someone called Mephistopholes to relax? [insert silly emoji here...]

James Meeker 5th April 2015 05:35 PM

Quote:

Originally Posted by Mefistophelees (Post 10949026)
The first east coast synth was probably the Trautonium. Built in Germany in 1929/30. 4 years before Moog was born.

Of course, but with only a few hundred Trautoniums being sold, and the effects of WWII, resulted in the instrument having very little influence except as a curiosity. Remember, we got Kraut Rock, not Traut Rock. When the Trautonium came out the Germans were in the thrall of the NSDAP and had no time for such 'degenerate diversions' as electro-music. There were Reichs to build! :/

Quote:

Originally Posted by Mefistophelees (Post 10949026)
East coast synths were also made on the west coast of the US, in Canada, Japan and many other countries.

Nobody argues this. The term is not meant to be literal but metaphorical. It is a metonym to approximate a philosophy of electronic music architecture and design.

Quote:

Originally Posted by Mefistophelees (Post 10949026)
The whole east/west coast thing is not only inaccurate but it is a very US centric view that gives the impression that electronic instruments started in the US in the 60s. In reality, they had been in development around the world for the best part of a century before Moog or Buchla built their machines.

I disagree that view is promulgated because it is "US-centric." The reality is that the Moog paradigm won. It was the right idea, the right execution, the right technology, that got into the rights hands to take over the world. Those designers that came before him are interesting, innovative, and made neat little instruments too.

But, the *fact* is that Bob Moog and east coast synthesis won--it was the first globally successful synthesis paradigm. This is not a narrative. This is not an example of hegemonic discourse. This is not a product of "imperialist colonization" or what not. It is fact.

The history of synthesis is still being written.... The east coast paradigm has, for some, become tedious and anti-inspirational. Thus the employment of the 'west coast' paradigm as a contrast. Is it artificial? Sure. Is it useful? Nominally so. Is it worth getting one's panties in a wet bunch? Nope.

CthonicEwes 5th April 2015 07:31 PM

James! Very much looking forward to your impressions. When do you expect your easel to arrive?

BTW, I love the tone of buchla--is it the low pass filter? I just love the acoustic-y sounds buchla get.