View Single Post
Old 30th April 2016 | Show parent
Lives for gear

Originally Posted by realtrance View Post
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?
The core modular (?) element for that is the brain of the user.

A DX7 can be very natural sounding. If you do however switch some of the Operators to fixed frequencies and/or to non-integer rations, stuff gets a lot less natural. You tend to hit those more with modular equipment, since you freely tune your frequencies and there is a better chance of just accidentally finding something that sounds cool. Also pitches will go all over the place, when you use exponential FM (and sometimes when you use DC coupled linear FM). Once you know, those sounds are there you can also hit them with digital synthesis.

FM, waveshaping, RM etc. tend to sound most interesting/unusual, if you use sources that are not oscillating at integer frequency multiples. Ideally some of the frequencies should be modulated, to create a bigger mess. Obviously your integer multipliers are useful, when you want to stay in tune...

Obviously the DX7 is not ideal for Buchla-type sounds, since modulation is at least half of the fun for those sounds and the DX7 modulation options are rather limited. So you might claim, that the core modular components for the Buchla-sound (or any "experimental" modular sound) are the modulators. Having many of them is always useful. Having the LFOs (or other more or less periodic modulators) run freely also helps. Quadrature modulation is useful. So is randomization. Quantized and/or clocked and/or slew limited random sources really help for the "experimental" flavor.

If you want to go really old school experimental (if something like this can exist), you can throw in a voltage modulated radio for real time found sounds and interesting modulated noises...