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Customer Discussions > Music forum

Anti-synth biggots

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Showing 26-50 of 141 posts in this discussion
Posted on Nov 4, 2012 2:45:53 PM PST

Posted on Nov 4, 2012 3:01:09 PM PST
Last edited by the author on Nov 6, 2012 5:45:45 AM PST
D. Mok says:
Because keyboard players did have a tendency to add keyboard sounds no matter what the song's like. David Bryan's keyboards made many of Bon Jovi's songs worse, wimpifying the anthems and cheesing up the ballads. Listen to Asian pop and you still hear that awful electronic piano and string sound Bryan typified -- instant musical bile. Jon Lord's way, way overused Hammond organ is a main reason I don't like Deep Purple. When Neil Young tried to explore synths, the motivation was admirable, but the result was Trans, a gimmicky, one-dimensional, and musically starved record, more concerned with weird sounds than building a coherent arrangement. A friend said he worked on "that one drum pattern for weeks", but it still sounded unimaginative because it had no groove and no build. By contrast, you listen to the weave of rhythms, samples and keyboard sounds on a Dr. Dre production and it's imaginative and exciting.

The Band, on the other hand, was good at using keyboards, and Goblin was a masterclass in how to weave keyboards into a meld of electronic, classical, and metal influences. Frank Zappa's music had fabulous keyboard work, and Black Sabbath used keyboards to great effect on Sabbath Bloody Sabbath and Sabotage. Dream Theater uses different keyboard sounds pretty well. Saint Etienne's synth arrangements could be absolutely breathtaking, but it wasn't rock. The best synth work tended to be in the pop and dance genres: Prince, a-Ha, Kraftwerk, Janet Jackson, Bobby Brown. And hip-hop (The RZA, Dr. Dre, Eminem).

Posted on Nov 4, 2012 3:03:39 PM PST

Posted on Nov 5, 2012 8:16:37 AM PST
I'm trying to imagine Nicky Hopkins' barrel house piano replacing the synths on Baba O'Riley & Won't Get Fooled Again. Not quite the same is it.

Do these "bigots" have similar misgivings about the mellotron which, in some cases, tried to emulate a string section? Call the musicians' union!

Posted on Nov 5, 2012 8:27:31 AM PST
Stratocaster says:
The myopic naysayers of the 30's also had the same attitiude towards "Electric" guitars.

In reply to an earlier post on Nov 5, 2012 2:13:46 PM PST
stevign says:
re: "Call the musicians' union!"


Posted on Nov 5, 2012 2:19:47 PM PST
stevign says:
re: "Anti-synth biggots"

I'm not sure if I'm a biggot or not. I don't mind Synthesizers too much as long as they know their place. Matter of fact, I'm a friend of a friend who knows one. That said, I wouldn't trust one around my daughter.

In reply to an earlier post on Nov 5, 2012 2:25:04 PM PST
Stratocaster says:
stevign - LMFAO! That's good stuff.
Keep a close watch on your wallet too. Those synthesizers (especially the analogue ones) can't be trusted!
Now go tell Edith to get you a beer.

Posted on Nov 5, 2012 2:27:50 PM PST
Stratocaster says:
Some synthesizers recently moved into my neighborhood. Let me tell ya, the loud music all night. They don't take care of their lawn. Don't even get me started.

Posted on Nov 5, 2012 2:31:23 PM PST
Give me a fiddle, a banjo and a washtub bass on the back porch and that's all I need....

Posted on Nov 5, 2012 2:31:53 PM PST
Stratocaster says:
Some of them are ok. The Kurzweils. The Ensoniques. But those Japanese one's? - the Korgs and the Yamaha's? Aboslutely no respect for their neighbors!!

Sorry stevign - I stole your premise and ran with it.

In reply to an earlier post on Nov 5, 2012 2:41:09 PM PST
stevign says:
I'm going to a party with one of my friends this weekend and he said one was invited. I told him that makes me a bit uncomfortable but he said "I know you like impressions and he does GREAT impressions". We'll see how it goes; I hope he does a good Christopher Walken.

In reply to an earlier post on Nov 5, 2012 2:43:56 PM PST
stevign says:
Imitation is the best form of flattery.

In reply to an earlier post on Nov 5, 2012 2:55:54 PM PST
stevign says:
And a jar of Mags Bennett's 'Apple Pie' moonshine? Be sure to bring your own glass though.

In reply to an earlier post on Nov 6, 2012 3:37:51 AM PST
onsenkuma says:
The first early '70s wave of electronic rock - early Tangerine Dream/Edgar Froese/Klaus Schulze, Kraftwerk, Cluster/Kluster, As Ra Tempel, Can etc - was and still is fascinating stuff. Bowie's Berlin phase was heavily influenced by Kraftwerk and in turn was the major inspiration for the (mostly UK) bands that championed electronic pop in the late '70s and early '80s. The best of this stuff (e.g. Associates, early Human League, early OMD, The Blue Nile, early Heaven 17, Scritti Politti, ABC) was pretty interesting, and was initially intended to be a kind of satirical take on pop. During more or less the same time Brian Eno and Harold Budd were creating a lot of great 'ambient' electronic music...

That said, I can no longer abide synthesizers except when used to give 'atmosphere' to music. If there's one thing in particular I find dated about the sound of '70s progressive rock its the sound of the synthesizer, especially after polyphonic models hit the market. (For example, I now prefer the sound of Tony Kaye in Yes to Rick Wakeman, whereas I felt just the opposite around the time of Fragile or Close to the Edge.)

I especially dislike the 'electronic accordion' setting and Fairlight sounds on too many recordings from the '80s, and in particular that dated BIG bang-on-a-trashcan-lid fake drum machine sound. These days, I prefer the sound of acoustic music or the sound of basic electric guitar/bass/drums (by which I mean REAL drums). I still listen to early Krautrock and analog electronic synth from that first wave...

Posted on Nov 6, 2012 8:21:29 AM PST
Mostly what irritates people's ears are DIGITAL synthesizers, beginning with the Fairlight and exploding in 1983 with the biggest selling synth of all time, the Yamaha DX-7. It was good at chimes, gongs, and eerie metallic sounds but pretty annoying at everything else. I love Kate Bush and think she wrote some of the most interesting songs of the 70's and 80's, but her album "Hounds of Love" is total digital overload and I cannot stand it.

There will always be a place for ANALOG synthesizers for original, innovative, careful, tasteful, subtle artists. I own several of them myself. Synthesizers may in fact be the most difficult instruments in the world to play well. Like the trumpet and tenor sax, they are easy to play too loud, too brash, or play too many notes.

The best musicians are always aware of this. People like Joe Zawinul, Jose Roberto Bertrami, Stevie Wonder, Keith Emerson, Ryuichi Sakamoto, David Sylivian, and David Sancious would treat every synth like a truly unique instrument. A few of the skinny British guys by the mid 1980's would treat them all as gimmicks. Even drum machines can be good in the right hands, like Phillipe Saiss, Depeche Mode, or Souxsie & the Banshees. Drum machines can be horrible if they are not programmed with time and care. Randomness is the key.

In reply to an earlier post on Nov 6, 2012 1:04:20 PM PST
stevign says:
re: "I especially dislike the 'electronic accordion' setting"

LOLOL OMG!! Electronic accordion???? I'm starting to think Cartman invented the Synth. Does Club Gitmo know this instrument is available for torture?

In reply to an earlier post on Nov 6, 2012 2:25:22 PM PST
onsenkuma says:
Now, Eric is cruel, but THAT cruel? Anyway, you know what I mean by the accordion setting. It's cloying AND annoying, and the Camp Counsellors at Club Gitmo don't need to tweak it in any way - just pump up the volume! Cheers...

In reply to an earlier post on Nov 6, 2012 5:22:21 PM PST
stevign says:
Well if not Cartman, certainly Sideshow Bob.

Posted on Nov 10, 2012 10:42:06 AM PST
Last edited by the author on Nov 10, 2012 10:44:08 AM PST
Barry Smith says:
I've aways loved collecting songs and albums on my Ipod which contained early Moog and ARP synthesizer experiments. These early synthesizers were great, and in my opinion, enhanced the music. Most of the time, the Moog part was rather brief, and did not overwhelm the music. The Progressive rockers, on the other hand, were the ones who began to include Moogs and ARPs much more extensively, and paved the way for synth overkill in the 80s.

Some of my favorite early Moog experiments from the 60s and first half of the 70s are:

"Moog Raga" Byrds 1969
"Save The Life of My Child" Simon & Garfunkel 1968
"Here Comes the Sun" Beatles 1969
"The Cage" Elton John 1970
"End of the Seasons" Richie Havens 1970
"Castles In the Air" Don McLean 1971 (overdubbed from a 1969 recording)
"Rotten Peaches" Elton John 1971
"Going Mobile" The Who 1971
"Move Around" Stephen Stills & Manassas 1972
"Almost Independence Day" Van Morrison 1972
"Angel Sea" Cat Stevens 1972
"Who Are You" Black Sabbath 1973
"The Great Suburban Showdown" Billy Joel 1974
"The Entertainer" Billy Joel 1974

Posted on Nov 10, 2012 11:05:49 AM PST
Chazzzbo says:
According to wikipedia (I'm aware, not always completely reliable): the first three Moog synthesizers were purchased by: Walter aka Wendy Carlos, Buck Owens, and Mickey Dolenz. The Monkees were among the first to release "pop" synth music in the tunes "Daily Nightly" and "Star Collector". Other early users were The Doors, Byrds, Rolling Stones and Simon & Garfunkel. Interesting...

Posted on Nov 10, 2012 4:37:32 PM PST
Last edited by the author on Nov 10, 2012 4:41:06 PM PST
@Chazzzbo: I've heard arguments as to whether it was The Doors (on "Strange Days", Oct '67) or The Monkees ("Pisces, Aquarious, Capricorn And Jones Inc", Nov '67) who were the first to use the synthesizer (in both cases, a Moog) in pop/rock music. It's a difficult argument because while The Doors album came out a few weeks earlier, the Moog is only used on one track and it's only for a brief oscillation effect on a vocal. On both "Daily Nightly" and "Star Collector" from "Pisces Aquarious...", the Moog is used far more extensively. So I actually tend to say it was The Monkees.

After that, the next pop/rock album with Moog I believe was The Byrds' "Notorious Byrd Brothers", released Jan 3, 1968. The Rolling Stones were not synth pioneers; I can't think of a single instance of synth on any of their records until "Fingerprint File" on "It's Only Rock'n'Roll" in 1974--they were late to the game.

In reply to an earlier post on Nov 10, 2012 7:03:41 PM PST

Until I read your post I had never heard the words "Buck Owens" and "synthesizer" in the same sentence!
So I had to investigate and, sure enough, "Switched On Buck"!

Switched On Buck

I played the samples and they're hysterical, especially "I've Got A Tiger By The Tail".

@Michael Topper,

Didn't the Stones use a synthesizer for those sound effects on "2000 Light Years From Home" in 1967?

In reply to an earlier post on Nov 10, 2012 7:32:17 PM PST
I need to get that to torture some of my friends with.

Posted on Nov 10, 2012 7:42:47 PM PST
Last edited by the author on Nov 10, 2012 7:43:10 PM PST
@Cyberian Husky: "Didn't the Stones use a synthesizer for those sound effects on "2000 Light Years From Home" in 1967?"

It sounds like it, but no. That song features a mellotron and a theremin, but no actual synthesizers.
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Discussion in:  Music forum
Participants:  38
Total posts:  141
Initial post:  Nov 3, 2012
Latest post:  Feb 29, 2016

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