Cats on Synthesizers in Parents Space

Posted in retro by szachname on 05 September 2017

Apart from making techno music, I often play other genres like jazz, minimal classical piano compositions or just fool around with odd tempo signatures, which will never make it to the club.

I was visiting my Father's countryside workshop where I keep two 300W concert speakers. Because I knew he probably would not enjoy a 5hr techno practice and synthesized sound creation noises, I improvised some chilled, jazzy tunes. It was inspired by John Coltrane's Favourite things- a mellow loop on Rhodes, a warm base sequence on TB-3, the bass synthesizer and drum synthesizer, all in 4/4 tempo. It sounded pretty nice, not much like electronic music but rather like a classic jazz ensemble performance.

Anyway, I was playing solos with my right hand and kept changing the bass and drum sounds with the other one. The sequences were evolving, notes were added and removed - my favorite live act style. If you watched me turning all the knobs, playing the solos etc. you would see that I am actually playing it all. I was thinking that I must be looking pretty busy, but after few minutes my Father came to the studio. He stood in the doors, looked at all the lights on the synthesizers, looked at my movements which he did not really understand. I reset the whole song and showed him how quickly incredible sounds can be built and sequenced, how the overdubs are added and removed, notes modified etc. He just looked at me like I remember from the childhood (the image of showing him my new Lego creations or whatever) and said "Nice toys, son. It is all so automatic and computerized. You just press start button... what a pity these are not real instruments". And left.

I was so disappointed, but I quickly laughed to myself - My Ol'man was so sincere. The old generation did not have contact with this kind of instruments ever. They consider blinking lights and electronic circuits as toys, nothing related to real instruments. The sequencer which plays a number of sounds one after another is an artificial computer but a crankcase lira which does exactly the same - no, this is a real instrument. By real - he meant classic ones, those which were used and mastered for past few hundred years. Those instruments which finally made it to such a level that if you see a fool sitting with a viola, you consider him a musician, an artist, while if you see someone controlling with an incredible skill a plastic rhythm synthesizer, some people think - Meh, it is all automatic. it is a computer.

What those people do not understand (yet), is that these devices create sounds which have never been heard, which are associated or related to real instruments, but they take the sound to a much different, higher level which has never been possible to achieve. Electric current is a natural phenomenon, it is new element humanity learned to use as a tool. I wonder when electronic music will separate the so called bedroom studio producers and art, just like rock and roll once did. However, rock used instruments known for ages. Synthesizers are known for less than 50 years. Live electronic music needs virtuosos.