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Old 30th April 2016
Lives for gear
realtrance's Avatar

This is really one of the foundations of the concept of west coast synthesis:

That and musique concrete, which came after. Noise, found music, tape-based collage, primitivism, the modernist impulses that motivated Debussy, Ravel, Stravinsky, Milhaud, among other things. Breaking away from current western musical traditions of harmony, melody and performance. Surrealism, Dada and LSD. Subotnick hired Buchla to build him an electronic musical instrument, but he'd been alienating audience expectations with his compositions and performances long before that moment already.

My question is still not answered, though: what replaces the oscillator/filter combination in this tradition? No filter, I get that, FM/waveshaping, totally familiar with both modulation techniques, but technique is not what I'm asking about. Oscillator/filter seeks to encourage the ear's familiarity with natural sounds and acoustic instruments to adapt to electronic creation of sound. FM took off with the DX7 because it achieved this goal -- with the most popular tonalities it produced -- even better than analogue synthesis. All of this is achievement of the already familiar.

Subotnick/Buchla seek the opposite; they wish to shock, alienate, de-familiarize, repudiate all convention. What are the core modular elements that drive that, as opposed to the desire to replicate the familiar-sounding?