Discovering Electronic Music
July 19, 2006 3:38 PM   Subscribe


[this is good]
posted by loquacious at 4:16 PM on July 19, 2006

excellent, thank you
posted by dydecker at 4:26 PM on July 19, 2006

In all honesty, it's actually not a bad piece of work.

Analog synthesis hasn't changed that much.
posted by empath at 4:33 PM on July 19, 2006

If you have a copy of Ableton or Reason, you can play right along with this demo.

The combination of waveform generation, frequency modulation and filtering hasn't changed one bit. You just now have access to as many of those huge room-filling synthesizers as your CPU can run (dozens and dozens simultaneously, most likely)
posted by empath at 4:36 PM on July 19, 2006

The unfortunate side effect of the electronic music revolution was it's soundtrack butchery of some otherwise great films - Scarface and Terminator, for example.
posted by CynicalKnight at 4:39 PM on July 19, 2006

The unfortunate side effect of the electronic music revolution was it's soundtrack butchery of some otherwise great films - Scarface and Terminator, for example.

Apocalypse Now, too.
posted by Kraftmatic Adjustable Cheese at 4:46 PM on July 19, 2006

Are you kidding? Both Scarface and Terminator have great soundtracks!
posted by martinrebas at 5:06 PM on July 19, 2006

The unfortunate side effect of the electronic music revolution...

Great movies have been butchered by bad soundtracks since the dawn of cinema history. Some of these have been electronic, but mostly not. Blame lazy or uninventive composers and directors, not the instruments in use.
posted by flapjax at midnite at 5:26 PM on July 19, 2006

1983? This thing was already obsolete when it was made (except for the Fairlight.) On second thought, though, I guess the hardware shown is good for educational purposes.
posted by tumult at 5:52 PM on July 19, 2006

Actually, I guess the guy who posted those videos already had my comments covered.
posted by tumult at 5:54 PM on July 19, 2006

check out Sorceror for a great electronic soundtrack.
posted by dydecker at 5:57 PM on July 19, 2006

So does anyone know of any foundational electronic music, say, pre-Tangerine Dream, similar to the stuf heard on this film? I don't mean electronic rock, but more electronic abstract music
posted by Pastabagel at 6:31 PM on July 19, 2006

Pastabagel, some of the seminal artists are Edgard Varèse, Karlheinz Stockhausen and Pierre Schaeffer (wiki).
posted by MetaMonkey at 6:49 PM on July 19, 2006

posted by Pastabagel at 7:07 PM on July 19, 2006

Ishkar's Guide to Electronic (dance) Music is a bit heavy on the flash, but has some decent coverage of electronic music pioneers. Look in the "downtempo" category.
posted by anthill at 8:13 PM on July 19, 2006 [2 favorites]

The Ishkar's guide is awesome.
posted by Pastabagel at 8:43 PM on July 19, 2006

Well, without these things, we would have neither the Bladerunner soundtrack - which, despite its moments of cheesiness, still remains my reference standard for a score integrating with the movie, and the movie's sound design so closely, and so perfectly as to be untouchable, nor Boards Of Canada, who's Music Has The Right To Children is one of my long standing favourite albums.

We have a Jupiter 8 in our office at the moment - the same model responsible for the Scarface soundtrack. It is a thing of beauty. I formerly clung to the "Well, software synths are just as good as the old analogs" line. Boy was I so, so, wrong about that. The thing has got soul and heart in buckets, in a way a soft synth could never have. I think I finally understand what people blethering on about vinyl were talking about...
posted by Jon Mitchell at 10:24 PM on July 19, 2006

Apocalypse Now, too.

Sound design by Walter Murch. You absolutely cannot be serious.
posted by Wolof at 12:58 AM on July 20, 2006

I know I’ve heard that harpsichord piece, played near the end of the first link, but I’ve never learned its name. Can someone tell me?
posted by ijoshua at 6:21 AM on July 20, 2006

It's the 2-part Invention in F Major by J S Bach (BWV 779) from the Inventions and Sinfonias BWV 772-801.
posted by ob at 8:03 AM on July 20, 2006

Although confusingly he seems to be playing it in B-flat in the video...
posted by ob at 8:04 AM on July 20, 2006

Having said that it's in b-flat this must have something to do with the synth as I'm pretty sure that he's playing it in F but the synth is transposing up a fourth. OK, I've now geeked myself out now. I'm going to go.
posted by ob at 8:10 AM on July 20, 2006

Softsynths are all fine and good, but they're digital and they'll always be digital - which means they're finite approximations of the real thing.

Fully analog synths are squirrelly beasts. You can set a full analog synth to a sound you like, walk away and come back in an hour, a week, or a day and the sound will have changed from just a little to wildly just from environmental changes.

The more complex the tone generation path, the more oscillators and modulators inline, the more likely it'll have changed.

And this doesn't even get into the complexities of the fact it's truly analog and infinite in range and mutability. Nor does it account for dirty or worn pots, leaking capacitors of various values. Even new out of the factory, each synth would be slightly different just from the nature of analog audio circuitry itself - it would depend entirely on the manufacturing tolerances of every sound-path part in the box all the way up the manufacturing chain.

I'm still thankful for softsynths, though, as many of these analog synths are prohibitively expensive and strongly sought out devices.
posted by loquacious at 8:58 AM on July 20, 2006

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