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Limitations of the Past = Better Music?
Old 2 weeks ago
  #1
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jags's Avatar
 
🎧 5 years
Limitations of the Past = Better Music?

In my opinion I have found that synth music of the past is always a lot better than what I hear being created now. The music created by the synth masters like Rick Wakeman, Jean Michel Jarre, Tomita, and others always seem to be very musical and well crafted.

But you would think that with the limited technology of the synths and recording methods of the past it would have been far more difficult to create the music they were able to create. With the advancements in technology we have now you would think that the music created now should have way surpassed that of the past.

I believe, in my opinion, that the limited technology of the past forced musicians to think about how and what they did with their synths and the recording process ahead of time so that they would come out with a well crafted product. They couldn't simply throw a bunch of sounds into a DAW and pick and choose whatever sounded best to them. They actually had to plan out their musical ideas ahead of time before committing it to tape.

I think that right now we actually have way to many options so we have become lazy and just throw it all on the wall and see what sticks!! In the past they did not have that luxury so they had to really think it all out ahead of time.

So what do you think? Has our incredible technology taken away from what could be achieved musically otherwise?

Please let's keep this discussion civil as there is no right or wrong answer. It is all just subjective opinion on each of our parts.

Thanks!!
Old 2 weeks ago
  #2
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🎧 5 years
There is a right answer. Those people u mention had the best of everything. In general, with older music it is the better more timeless stuff that remains and continues to be heard--time acts as a filter. But with current or more recent music, good and bad, it's all here.
I make incredible music in my studio, with ears/mind/heart that has been shaped by great electronic music being made in the 90s--the music of that time is what formed me, but I hear good records being made today also. Also, in the older days the bar to making and releasing music was higher, and now a lot more people can make music. The challenge is getting good music in front of all the ears that want to hear it (whether they know it or not).
Old 2 weeks ago
  #3
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hcppp's Avatar
To me the music of my youth (late 60s to late 70s)
could have a certain swing, a nuance, a romance.
Hard to quantify and qualify to others, but I can still resonate with the feelings.

(Although there are a few contemporary artists that can illicit the same response to me)

And to me, the feeling of music is just as importance as the listening to music.

One event I remember well is when I was collecting for my newspaper route in the early 70s and I heard
this otherworldly sound from behind the customer's door.
I asked what the sound was, and then was shown a Moog modular.

Something that started me down the path of electronic music.
Old 2 weeks ago | Show parent
  #4
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🎧 5 years
Quote:
Originally Posted by hcppp ➡️
To me the music of my youth (late 60s to late 70s)
could have a certain swing, a nuance, a romance.
Hard to quantify and qualify to others, but I can still resonate with the feelings.

(Although there are a few contemporary artists that can illicit the same response to me)

And to me, the feeling of music is just as importance as the listening to music.

One event I remember well is when I was collecting for my newspaper route in the early 70s and I heard
this otherworldly sound from behind the customer's door.
I asked what the sound was, and then was shown a Moog modular.

Something that started me down the path of electronic music.
I understand what you mean. I am the same with the music of my youth, and now what I do is try to recreate those feelings I felt then with what I make now. I loved it so much I had to do more than listen to it or be a dj (which I also did back in the 90s).
Old 2 weeks ago
  #5
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shreddoggie's Avatar
 
2 Reviews written
🎧 10 years
There is no romance or nostalgia to it other than what people apply due to their own preferences. Fact is: Limitations are the puzzle creative people solve. More limitations / fewer options / more difficult or complex process = the more you need to puzzle it out with your puzzler until you create a solution. Stravinsky talks about this in Poetics of Music. The worst thing is the blank page. By making decisions we create. By making decisions with fewer options we create in a more clever way by necessity. These guys were excellent musicians and only had 8 tracks, or 16, or no midi, or no patch memory, or no polyphonic instruments, or whatever ... Spend a whole summer at a cabin by a lake with an MPC, a monosynth and a banjo.
Old 2 weeks ago
  #6
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Sharp11's Avatar
 
🎧 15 years
I disagree with the basic premise of this thread - but according to the OP, too many options has become a liability, which makes it a (current) limitation - which - following the op’s logic - could also be seen as a plus and a challenge to work through. Which should result in great music, regardless.

I would also point out that there is an entire genre of music based in the 1950s, 60s, and 70s that used tape loops, sound effects, found sounds and chance composing techniques that were very much “mud against the wall” in nature - study the composers Terry Riley, Alvin Lucier and Steven Reicht as a starting point and move from there - you’ll see what I mean. Having “lots of options” didn’t hurt them - they were highly skilled, imaginative and knew their sh*t, though - so there’s that.
Old 2 weeks ago | Show parent
  #7
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jags's Avatar
 
🎧 5 years
Quote:
Originally Posted by shreddoggie ➡️
Spend a whole summer at a cabin by a lake with an MPC, a monosynth and a banjo.


Old 2 weeks ago | Show parent
  #8
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jags's Avatar
 
🎧 5 years
Quote:
Originally Posted by Sharp11 ➡️
I disagree with the basic premise of this thread - but according to the OP, too many options has become a liability, which makes it a (current) limitation - which - following the op’s logic - could also be seen as a plus and a challenge to work through.
It most definitely is a limitation and hindrance that most seem not to be able to work through. That also is the point.
Old 2 weeks ago
  #9
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Praxisaxis's Avatar
 
🎧 10 years
Certainly limitations can be freeing. As @ shreddoggie mentioned (above), Stravinsky referred to the "abyss of freedom."
But I would say:

* music of the past is not better than what is current. You can factually demonstrate that people have made that same claim every decade, going back a thousand years. Yet we easily find examples of great music from each of those decades, without exception. So that's nonsense. You might prefer a particular era. That's fine. You might not be exposed to great contemporary music for whatever reason, that's also fine.

* You don't need the technology of yesteryear to work within limits. The best thing you might do as a contemporary producer, after doing a few years of exploring, is narrow down a workflow which is relatively strict and greatly enabling in some regards while ruling out various other options.
Old 2 weeks ago
  #10
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As always the premise of these kind of thread is so vague anybody will hear what they want depending on their experience.

People forget that Jarre, Yes and others had time, money, access to talented sound engineers, musicians and producers most people making music in their bedrooms will never have. Are these the limitations we are talking about here? Expensive professional studios already existed back then. Band A recording with engineer B at studio C made all the difference. So what limitations are we talking about? How many people here take 6 months working on an album having access to producers or engineering teams? Or working directly with gear manufacturers for customized gear? So much for limitations.

DAW today are just that, audio recorders and are irrelevant when it comes to assessing the worth of a music piece.
Old 2 weeks ago | Show parent
  #11
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🎧 5 years
Quote:
Originally Posted by shreddoggie ➡️
There is no romance or nostalgia to it other than what people apply due to their own preferences. Fact is: Limitations are the puzzle creative people solve. More limitations / fewer options / more difficult or complex process = the more you need to puzzle it out with your puzzler until you create a solution. Stravinsky talks about this in Poetics of Music. The worst thing is the blank page. By making decisions we create. By making decisions with fewer options we create in a more clever way by necessity. These guys were excellent musicians and only had 8 tracks, or 16, or no midi, or no patch memory, or no polyphonic instruments, or whatever ... Spend a whole summer at a cabin by a lake with an MPC, a monosynth and a banjo.
Eww. No thanks. I'll take my full studio by the lake though. I love my machines but I also realize when there is too much going on. So I have multiple stations, each producing its own thing. This way I have manageable set up while also having all the machines I could eat! Yum yum.
Old 2 weeks ago
  #12
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jbuonacc's Avatar
 
🎧 10 years
Quote:
Originally Posted by jags ➡️
... synth music of the past is always a lot better than what I hear being created now. The music created by the synth masters like Rick Wakeman, Jean Michel Jarre, Tomita, and others always seem to be very musical and well crafted.
this **** again?

"Forgive me, Wendy Carlos, but I think that when Switched-On Bach happened it meant the demise of exploring new possibilities. What we were dealing with then was a possibility of a new language, a new way to make this. It was never about the timbre of the sound or the color of the sound. It was about the way the sound could move. Switched-On Bach was interesting, but it was all keyboard and it’s all based on timbres. They said, “Can you do me Vivaldi?” And they started to repeat the notion that the future of electronics was in this colorful sound. Nobody was looking at new composition. And, you know, even that’s complicated because I wasn’t a big fan of the academic proponents of electronic music either. It was a new language, but I think that there were some openings that weren’t academic and that weren’t retroactively keyboard that we just missed the first time around."

- Suzanne Ciani, synth pioneer


https://daily.redbullmusicacademy.co...iani-interview

again, your "opinion" is based solely on what's been drilled into your head, what sounds "normal" to you. i don't want to listen to any of those guys, they're not "a lot better" than anything else if their stuff bores the hell out of me.

actually, i'm only vaguely familiar with their music, can you post your favorite examples of each? i started listening to 'Oxygene' the other day for the first time in a while and didn't last ten minutes. just put it on again now... you don't realize how "simple" this music is? why not just make it yourself? listen to the background music of some film from the 40s-60s and try to replicate it with synths. listen to a bit of opera, throw some of that in too. that's all Jarre is doing, ffs. i've heard these themes/motifs (?) a thousand times.

the worst is when you get a "trained keyboard player" like Jon Lord, you can actually hear all that stadium organist crap that he grew up playing coming through in Deep Purple. Keith Emerson too, some twisted version of music that wasn't even cool to begin with.

Quote:
But you would think that with the limited technology of the synths and recording methods of the past it would have been far more difficult to create the music they were able to create. With the advancements in technology we have now you would think that the music created now should have way surpassed that of the past.
there's probably a few hundred recent "Wakeman/Jarre/Tomita" albums out there right now, probably some by people on this forum. i'm not hearing anything "better" from Jarre than i've heard from anyone else, and i'd far rather listen to Tangerine Dream or even Pink Floyd for this sort of thing. there's so much out there that you haven't even heard, made by "real musicians", and you're complaining about some kid in his bedroom with a Loopcloud subscription.

just as one suggestion... have your heard (of) The Legendary Pink Dots? their catalog might appeal to you, if you can dig the vocals.

Quote:
I believe, in my opinion, that the limited technology of the past forced musicians to think about how and what they did with their synths and the recording process ahead of time so that they would come out with a well crafted product. They couldn't simply throw a bunch of sounds into a DAW and pick and choose whatever sounded best to them. They actually had to plan out their musical ideas ahead of time before committing it to tape.

I think that right now we actually have way to many options so we have become lazy and just throw it all on the wall and see what sticks!! In the past they did not have that luxury so they had to really think it all out ahead of time.
you really have no basis for blanket assumptions like this, you have no idea how any one individual/team is working these days. tell that to Sean Dockery or any of the others here who are making music just as anyone else did in the past.

Quote:
So what do you think? Has our incredible technology taken away from what could be achieved musically otherwise?
what exactly could be "achieved" that isn't already? more people that sound like Wakeman/Jarre/Tomita? we need more plinky weenie melodies? the same as you'd play on any other instrument? more stuff that makes me feel like i'm sitting in a big cold auditorium with a bunch of lame-o's whose tastes are dictated by nothing more than tradition?

Allan Holdsworth "achieved" plenty musically (at least that's what his fans say, who knows) but still sounded like every other cheesy jazz fusion band. some of the best guitar players make completely forgettable music (Vai, Govan, etc)... there is a high art in simplicity.

what sort of answer are you looking for? many of us here have a great appreciation for all those "horrible" things you list in your sig.
Old 2 weeks ago
  #13
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🎧 5 years
Seriously, everyone and their dad has claimed old music is better and new stuff sucks and I doubt that it’s because of technology.
Old 2 weeks ago | Show parent
  #14
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Sharp11's Avatar
 
🎧 15 years
Quote:
Originally Posted by jags ➡️
It most definitely is a limitation and hindrance that most seem not to be able to work through. That also is the point.
You may have missed my edit
Old 2 weeks ago | Show parent
  #15
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Sharp11's Avatar
 
🎧 15 years
Quote:
Originally Posted by jags ➡️
It most definitely is a limitation and hindrance that most seem not to be able to work through. That also is the point.
Says who, you? How do you know what “most” have done? That statement is nothing more than your bias at play - you hear music you don’t like so you’ve created a theory and a thread about it to placate your own assumptions.

There’s more music being made every day than you can possibly absorb in your lifetime, I bet if you narrowed your search you’d find a home for music you like, regardless of the “options” available to the creators who make it.
Old 2 weeks ago | Show parent
  #16
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jags's Avatar
 
🎧 5 years
Quote:
Originally Posted by camus2 ➡️
As always the premise of these kind of thread is so vague anybody will hear what they want depending on their experience.
Yes, purposefully presented that way so that we can HEAR and SHARE the experiences of others so that we may gain new perspectives for ourselves!!

Thanks!
Old 2 weeks ago | Show parent
  #17
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jags's Avatar
 
🎧 5 years
Quote:
Originally Posted by Sharp11 ➡️
That statement is nothing more than your bias at play - you hear music you don’t like so you’ve created a theory and a thread about it to placate your own assumptions.
Yes exactly!! That is what sharing your opinion is all about. It is how I see it and I'm glad you see it differently. I can now learn from your opinion no mater if I agree or disagree.

I did ask to keep this discussion civil as it's not about proving anybody right or wrong. It's all about sharing and learning from others.

Thanks!

Quote:
Originally Posted by Sharp11 ➡️
There’s more music being made every day than you can possibly absorb in your lifetime, I bet if you narrowed your search you’d find a home for music you like, regardless of the “options” available to the creators who make it.
It's not about me finding music I like. I find music I like everyday!! Some of it old and some of it new. That is not the point of discussion for this thread. So let's move away from that and back to the topic of the thread.

Thanks!

Quote:
Originally Posted by Sharp11 ➡️
You may have missed my edit
I saw your edit and I agree. Thanks for sharing your opinion.
Old 2 weeks ago | Show parent
  #18
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jbuonacc's Avatar
 
🎧 10 years
Quote:
Originally Posted by jags ➡️
Yes, purposefully presented that way so that we can HEAR and SHARE the experiences of others so that we may gain new perspectives for ourselves!!
yet you never do.

what was that one saying about dogs and tricks?
Old 2 weeks ago | Show parent
  #19
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jags's Avatar
 
🎧 5 years
Quote:
Originally Posted by Praxisaxis ➡️
Certainly limitations can be freeing. As @ shreddoggie mentioned (above), Stravinsky referred to the "abyss of freedom."
But I would say:

* music of the past is not better than what is current. You can factually demonstrate that people have made that same claim every decade, going back a thousand years. Yet we easily find examples of great music from each of those decades, without exception. So that's nonsense. You might prefer a particular era. That's fine. You might not be exposed to great contemporary music for whatever reason, that's also fine.

* You don't need the technology of yesteryear to work within limits. The best thing you might do as a contemporary producer, after doing a few years of exploring, is narrow down a workflow which is relatively strict and greatly enabling in some regards while ruling out various other options.
You are absolutely right in your opinion!!

Thanks!
Old 2 weeks ago | Show parent
  #20
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jags's Avatar
 
🎧 5 years
Quote:
Originally Posted by Discopotato ➡️
Seriously, everyone and their dad has claimed old music is better and new stuff sucks and I doubt that it’s because of technology.
So true!!

Thanks!
Old 2 weeks ago
  #21
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jbuonacc's Avatar
 
🎧 10 years
what are your thoughts on these?







as a drummer, can you tell us what's going on with the rhythmic elements here? does that sound like a normal beat to you, or just random noises?



how about the harmonic/melodic content? how about in relation to the guys you've mentioned? where does this stand? how do you think they came up with this? is there "any thought behind it"?
Old 2 weeks ago | Show parent
  #22
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jags's Avatar
 
🎧 5 years
Quote:
Originally Posted by jazzcabbage ➡️
It’s rare day that I’m cycling through tons of soft/hardware synths, or presets searching for a sound my mind is not hearing while the composition is being written.
Would it be easier if you had less of a selection to chose from? Would that possibly free you to concentrate on your music more?

Just curious to hear your opinion on how it might affect you and your process.

Thanks!
Old 2 weeks ago
  #23
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I think it's just the barrier to entry being lower than in any other time in history. I don't really see any difference in the amount of greatness in music today as opposed to the past, there's just exponentially more "stations" now. Learn to find the stuff you enjoy, digg those crates until your ears & fingers bleed, you'll end up OK
Old 2 weeks ago
  #24
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draig's Avatar
 
🎧 5 years
Quote:
Originally Posted by jags ➡️
So what do you think? Has our incredible technology taken away from what could be achieved musically otherwise?
I think being able to easily put everything on a grid has its drawbacks.
The ability to auto correct vocals also has its drawbacks.

One of my favorite Miles albums from the 70's has a point where the musicians are a bit disjointed. It aint quite working... but then 20 seconds later, they all hit this amazing groove and it's freakin awesome. That moment is better because of what came before it.

There is such a premium put on perfection today and the tech allows it to go to extremes. I would say there is some spontaneity lost in it.
Old 2 weeks ago | Show parent
  #25
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jags's Avatar
 
🎧 5 years
Quote:
Originally Posted by jm2c ➡️
I think it's just the barrier to entry being lower than in any other time in history. I don't really see any difference in the amount of greatness in music todays as opposed to the past, there's just exponentially more "stations" now. Learn to find the stuff you enjoy, digg those crates until your ears & fingers bleed, you'll end up OK
Thanks for your input and I agree wholeheartedly!!

But this thread is not about me or what I like or dislike or what I'm looking for. I look for new music everyday and I find a lot of new and a lot of old. I find new stuff I like and I also find a lot of old stuff I like.

I started this thread because I'm just so impressed on what certain artist were able to produce with the limited equipment available back in the 1970's. And comparing it to what's out there today it's amazing what they were able to accomplish back then.

So to everyone here, let's focus on discussing this aspect.

Thanks!!
Old 2 weeks ago | Show parent
  #26
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jm2c's Avatar
 
Quote:
Originally Posted by jags ➡️
Thanks for your input and I agree wholeheartedly!!

But this thread is not about me or what I like or dislike or what I'm looking for. I look for new music everyday and I find a lot of new and a lot of old. I find new stuff I like and I also find a lot of old stuff I like.

I started this thread because I'm just so impressed on what certain artist were able to produce with the limited equipment available back in the 1970's. And comparing it to what's out there today it's amazing what they were able to accomplish back then.

So to everyone here, let's focus on discussing this aspect.

Thanks!!
I'm impressed with what kids are doing with their phones these days. There's a big shakeup of things going on in Africa, for example. Cheap/free music tech is giving a lot of folks a chance to get creative, who never could before. Is this what you're talking about?
Old 2 weeks ago
  #27
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draig's Avatar
 
🎧 5 years
Also, the whole society here in the US is more uptight and more self conscious now than some decades ago... just watch some Soul Train from the early to mid 70's!
Old 2 weeks ago | Show parent
  #28
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jags's Avatar
 
🎧 5 years
Quote:
Originally Posted by draig ➡️
I think being able to easily put everything on a grid has its drawbacks.
The ability to auto correct vocals also has its drawbacks.

One of my favorite Miles albums from the 70's has a point where the musicians are a bit disjointed. It aint quite working... but then 20 seconds later, they all hit this amazing groove and it's freakin awesome. That moment is better because of what came before it.

There is such a premium put on perfection today and the tech allows it to go to extremes. I would say there is some spontaneity lost in it.
Yes I agree. Thanks for your input!!
Old 2 weeks ago | Show parent
  #29
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jags's Avatar
 
🎧 5 years
Quote:
Originally Posted by jm2c ➡️
I'm impressed what kids are doing with their phones these days. There's a big shakeup of things going on in Africa, for example. Is this what you're talking about?
No it's not. But please explain what's going on in Africa. I'm curious.

Thanks!
Old 2 weeks ago
  #30
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tricera's Avatar
 
🎧 5 years
If there is a difference, it's not in the gear - it's in the people.
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