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The Sounds of Restlessness And Wires
Joshua Wylie – Sound Design
What Is a PHOTON synth?
What makes analogue synthesizers so great? Is it their history, the purity of their signals, or perhaps their physicality? My answer to all of these is “yes”. Electronic music may be dismissed as not truly music when compared to more typical, classic forms of the art, but spend an hour with a classic like a “Moog Model D” or a more obscure “Swarmatron” and you’ll come to realize that these synths, and many others like them, truly are instruments in their own right, crafted with care and intention, purpose-built for the specialized and honed craft of creating unique sounds. Synthesizers have the classic innate traits of the most idiosyncratic of instruments – challenging yet unrestricted.
VSTs and digital synthesizers have become incredibly abundant and extremely accessible, effortlessly streamlining the path from conception to a finished product, convenient with a pleasant workflow. I owe a debt of gratitude to virtual synthesizers; VSTs were in my toolkit from my very first days of production, and they were certainly my first exposure to how electronic music can be created and manipulated in an engaging way.
With VSTs, the sky is no longer the limit. If anything, it’s just the beginning and the options are endless. Despite this, being in that world of limitless potential can be overwhelming. Spending years fiddling with virtual dials and switches with the imprecision of a computer’s cursor, painstakingly setting up MIDI CC inputs to map to each virtual knob as I went, made the process undesirable as time went on.
I wanted more.
I don’t know about you, but I desired an instrument that I could take around with me and learn to control, learn to tame it and make it a tuneful, musical device. It would become an extension musical toolkit, easily as much as my guitar or my clarinet. I wanted something tactile. I wanted something responsive. However, I wanted something that no digital synthesizer could supply for me, and that was something organic. Something unpredictable and lively like a wild animal. Something unbound by the clinical nature of binary-precise software synthesis.
I didn’t want to simulate the organics of a finely tuned yet unpredictable classic synthesizer, because this still would be bound by the restraints of its digital nature. I wanted true chaos. Chaos is what I sought to achieve.