Is Eurorack just extreme consumerism?

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Re: Is Eurorack just extreme consumerism?

Post by luchog »

thevegasnerve wrote: Fri Oct 14, 2022 3:55 pm I find recording music way more exhausting and consuming than browsing at gear. That is likely a big part of my current issue. Work and family grinds me emotionally and I don’t feel a lot of space to explore music.
It's definitely hard to be creative when under such constant stress and anxiety. I've been dealing with a similar situation for decades, and the last 6 years have just made it orders of magnitude worse. That's part of why I got sucked into the Eurorack consumerist mindset as much as I did; until I realized that 90% of what I was doing was collectiong/consuming, and only 10% was creating, with no real clear focus on either one. Now I have a better idea what I want to do, work stresses are considerably less than they were, and I'm starting to recover enough to actually find a focus and move on from there. Baby steps.
zlotan wrote: Sat Oct 15, 2022 11:51 ami would say eurorack is a Consumerism rabbithole! But it also offers possibilities not reached elsewere!
This is definitely true, the sheer variety of innovation in Eurorack is the reason I don't think I'll abandon it entirely, although it can be hard to find in the mountains of derivative nonsense. The trick is finding the truly innovative stuff that works with my particular focus and workflow; and not just buying stuff for the "cool" factor.
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Re: Is Eurorack just extreme consumerism?

Post by Illwiggle »

I like to have lots of spices in the cupboard. Asafoetida, Berbere, various Ancho chiles, Mexican Oregano, Italian Oregano, etc.... Eurorack to me is just like that, but on steroids, with all the sequencers, function gens, oscs, filters, mixers, controllers, etc. I also feel that Eurorack is also the ‘Leading Edge’ when it comes to musical ‘tools’.

Im in it mainly to find sounds Ive never heard before, to make music I never could imagine, and to be in a realm of constant surprise & amazement at what is possible.

I think it can be a consumerist trap, absolutely, but it all depends on you, your motivations. If you’re using the stuff, playing with it & having fun I see no negatives, that is unless it gets in the way of the essentials; like having human contact, paying rent, eating etc
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Re: Is Eurorack just extreme consumerism?

Post by Garnoth »

I do worry sometimes that a lot of euro is indeed cosumerism and chasing the next fad. The fact that this subforum is extremely busy and the synthesis techniques one hardly has any posts worries me sometimes.

Most threads here are about new releases, upcoming modules or GAS. But then again once in a while people share true synthesis gems and beautiful music so maybe it’s all not so bad.
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Re: Is Eurorack just extreme consumerism?

Post by unclebastard »

I bypassed the consumerist aspect by planning a specific synth, and stopping once I had the modules for that design.
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Re: Is Eurorack just extreme consumerism?

Post by Pelsea »

This month marks 50 years since I first played a synthesizer. Since then I’ve taught at university level, designed and built studios and instruments, written manuals and textbooks, coded applications and a popular set of Max extensions, and made a lot of music.

No one has the power to make me feel guilty for any of the tools I have accumulated along the way. Starting with my first pair of tape recorders (I took out a mortgage), I’ve probably put between $100k and $200k into personal gear. Some of that gear worked out brilliantly, some of it was a waste of money, but it all contributed to making me the composer I am today.

As for consumerism, I live a forty minute drive from Monterey, where you can play a round of golf for what the field workers I pass on the way earn in a year. Every August the town hosts “car week” where used Ferraris are auctioned for millions. A tip at one of the posher restaurants would pay for any module you like.
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Re: Is Eurorack just extreme consumerism?

Post by MegaZakk »

great thread!
Just got referred to it as I started something similar this morning.
In places, similar to lots of conversations on other tech / gear / synth forums.
is it safe to say that most people here are hobbyists? I guess real modular pros are either too busy to hang around forums and doing whatever they are doing (reviewing new modules / expanding their systems with them, doing online courses and maybe releasing some sample packs?)
Good read I have to say again...
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Re: Is Eurorack just extreme consumerism?

Post by MegaZakk »

And yes! It is extreme consumerism. One just get sucked into it...dreaming about walls of blinking lights and hanging patch cables.
I saw people here posting photos of massive systems saying..I am nearly done with it and THEN I will start learning what each module does! WHAT?
Two or three modules can be a serious head-scratch, let alone a wall of it!
And it's all Deadmou5's fault. With his wall to wall Doepfer modular (which he never uses...?)
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Re: Is Eurorack just extreme consumerism?

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Re: Is Eurorack just extreme consumerism?

Post by Arrandan »

luchog wrote: Sat Oct 15, 2022 12:05 pm
thevegasnerve wrote: Fri Oct 14, 2022 3:55 pm I find recording music way more exhausting and consuming than browsing at gear. That is likely a big part of my current issue. Work and family grinds me emotionally and I don’t feel a lot of space to explore music.
It's definitely hard to be creative when under such constant stress and anxiety. I've been dealing with a similar situation for decades, and the last 6 years have just made it orders of magnitude worse. That's part of why I got sucked into the Eurorack consumerist mindset as much as I did; until I realized that 90% of what I was doing was collectiong/consuming, and only 10% was creating, with no real clear focus on either one. Now I have a better idea what I want to do, work stresses are considerably less than they were, and I'm starting to recover enough to actually find a focus and move on from there. Baby steps.
I can relate. Work and family have been very stressful, particularly since the Covid lockdown, and up until last week it was really peaking. It's a little closer to pre-peak again, i.e. just regularly extremely stressful, like it was early this year.

I'm completely guilty of window shopping for ages. I bought an Argon8x lafter lots of comparing, watching tutorials and everything else. Then I used it for a bit and left it at that. A large part is that I feel like a keyboard synth obliges me to become a really good keyboard player, and that's putting even more stress on me. Which I can miss at the moment.

So when I got into Eurorack, I decided I wanted to spend less time shopping and more time making music. It turns out I'm spending not much less time shopping, but much more time making music. I committed myself to replace TV evenings (i.e. every day) with making music. It's not always easy, but the result is that I've been learning at a very fast rate and I've got around 170 tracks. The first ones were extremely simple, and every 2-3 months I notice I have a breakthrough where I learn to apply something new. I've been buying new modules (filled up 6U 104hp in the meantime) but it's more focused on what I notice can be improved in the process of making music, or in the music. So it's applied shopping, not shopping as an end in itself :hihi: Make from that what you want, but Eurorack is the first way of making music that has me committed to making music, probably since the early 1990s, if not ever. So for me, I don't care if it's extreme consumerism.
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Re: Is Eurorack just extreme consumerism?

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Arrandan wrote: Mon Oct 17, 2022 9:20 am I've been buying new modules (filled up 6U 104hp in the meantime) but it's more focused on what I notice can be improved in the process of making music, or in the music. So it's applied shopping, not shopping as an end in itself :hihi: Make from that what you want, but Eurorack is the first way of making music that has me committed to making music, probably since the early 1990s, if not ever. So for me, I don't care if it's extreme consumerism.
What you're doing is the opposite of extreme consumerism: you're buying with a purpose that goes well beyond retail therapy.

Just buying a lot does not make it extreme consumerism, the intent behind the buying is vitally important. If you plan to build a house to live in you have to buy a lot of stuff, but it would be silly to call the acquisition of a giant pile of 2x4s extreme consumerism (no matter the current prices).
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Re: Is Eurorack just extreme consumerism?

Post by Jazz-Circuit »

If it is, I think it's the best kind of consumerism. People easily pay over $2,000 a year for something like cable TV, whether they watch it or not. A lot of people spend thousands of dollars over a year on alcohol and other things that make people happy. So I think if having a modular system, whether or not the person is able to use it daily or even just once a month, is a great thing. It puts money in the pockets of innovative thinkers and allows people to keep open musical instrument stores. I think it's a great thing that people are spending their time exploring sound even if it's just for their own experience,, and I know that it's enriched my life and musical productions for sure.
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Re: Is Eurorack just extreme consumerism?

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thevegasnerve wrote: Fri Oct 14, 2022 3:55 pm I find recording music way more exhausting and consuming than browsing at gear. That is likely a big part of my current issue. Work and family grinds me emotionally and I don’t feel a lot of space to explore music. I guess I could try and jam
a little with no expectation. But I do try and convince myself these constant studio redesigns are part of the process. I do understand that things don’t make me a happy person.
I stopped recording altogether and suddenly it became fun / relaxing / inspiring again. Realizing that I was the only one saying there was a requirement to record / share work was a big deal for me. Recordings never communicated process either, which was a problem I always had with it.
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Re: Is Eurorack just extreme consumerism?

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thelowerrhythm wrote: Mon Oct 17, 2022 1:27 pm
thevegasnerve wrote: Fri Oct 14, 2022 3:55 pm I find recording music way more exhausting and consuming than browsing at gear. That is likely a big part of my current issue. Work and family grinds me emotionally and I don’t feel a lot of space to explore music. I guess I could try and jam
a little with no expectation. But I do try and convince myself these constant studio redesigns are part of the process. I do understand that things don’t make me a happy person.
I stopped recording altogether and suddenly it became fun / relaxing / inspiring again. Realizing that I was the only one saying there was a requirement to record / share work was a big deal for me. Recordings never communicated process either, which was a problem I always had with it.
:tu: Why record? I hardly have interest to record my stuff.. so lazy.
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Re: Is Eurorack just extreme consumerism?

Post by thevegasnerve »

Played some yesterday so that was good. I have way more tools than I need. Thread is good to keep me focused on what matters for me. 🤘
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Re: Is Eurorack just extreme consumerism?

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pieter wrote: Mon Oct 17, 2022 10:29 am
Arrandan wrote: Mon Oct 17, 2022 9:20 am I've been buying new modules (filled up 6U 104hp in the meantime) but it's more focused on what I notice can be improved in the process of making music, or in the music. So it's applied shopping, not shopping as an end in itself :hihi: Make from that what you want, but Eurorack is the first way of making music that has me committed to making music, probably since the early 1990s, if not ever. So for me, I don't care if it's extreme consumerism.
What you're doing is the opposite of extreme consumerism: you're buying with a purpose that goes well beyond retail therapy.
Yes to that! And I still have money left for :guinness:

As for recording - I record my track every day. Over 170 since middle of March. For me, it puts skin in the game. I'm frequently not very happy with the result, either the moment itself (which sometimes changes the day after) or the day after (which usually doesn't change after that). But sometimes I am. And for me, it's a way to keep me going. Otherwise I quit halfway and never get anywhere.
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Re: Is Eurorack just extreme consumerism?

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thevegasnerve wrote: Mon Oct 17, 2022 5:24 pm Played some yesterday so that was good. I have way more tools than I need. Thread is good to keep me focused on what matters for me. 🤘
:sb:


Also, I can't stress enough how easy it is to make completed pieces using a multitrack looper or something like an SP404. Literally, patch-up something percussive, record it as a loop or long phrase then call it a night. Then the next time you're at your rig (no rush), play the percussive loop/long phrase while patching-up something melodic and record it as a loop or long phrase then call it a night. Then the next time you're at you're at your rig (no rush) play the two loops/long phrases while patching-up a bassline to match and record it as a loop etc etc. Next thing you know you have a song's worth of musical phrases that sound wonderful together. Then play them back live in whatever order feels good while recording it, and boom.

I'm not sure why that's so stressful. Peeps, stop being perfectionists, it's gross :mrgreen:
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Re: Is Eurorack just extreme consumerism?

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Arrandan wrote: Mon Oct 17, 2022 5:44 pm Yes to that! And I still have money left for :guinness:

As for recording - I record my track every day. Over 170 since middle of March. For me, it puts skin in the game. I'm frequently not very happy with the result, either the moment itself (which sometimes changes the day after) or the day after (which usually doesn't change after that). But sometimes I am. And for me, it's a way to keep me going.
Nice one!
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Re: Is Eurorack just extreme consumerism?

Post by Stu B »

thelowerrhythm wrote: Mon Oct 17, 2022 1:27 pm
thevegasnerve wrote: Fri Oct 14, 2022 3:55 pm I find recording music way more exhausting and consuming than browsing at gear. That is likely a big part of my current issue. Work and family grinds me emotionally and I don’t feel a lot of space to explore music. I guess I could try and jam
a little with no expectation. But I do try and convince myself these constant studio redesigns are part of the process. I do understand that things don’t make me a happy person.
I stopped recording altogether and suddenly it became fun / relaxing / inspiring again. Realizing that I was the only one saying there was a requirement to record / share work was a big deal for me. Recordings never communicated process either, which was a problem I always had with it.
I just made this move and I’ve found the same result. Whenever I tried to move into Ableton and arrange things in there I’d get bored or annoyed by the technicalities. I just like making cool (or shit) noises for a while and then walking away happy without the pressure of producing something no one I know wants to hear anyway.
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Re: Is Eurorack just extreme consumerism?

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22tape wrote: Mon Oct 17, 2022 5:55 pm Also, I can't stress enough how easy it is to make completed pieces using a multitrack looper or something like an SP404. Literally, patch-up something percussive, record it as a loop or long phrase then call it a night. Then the next time (...)
I'm not sure why that's so stressful. Peeps, stop being perfectionists, it's gross :mrgreen:
That's an interesting way of looking at a looper! I have had Loopy Pro for the iPad on my radar for a long time (as I use my iPad with AUM for mixing and recording anyway) but more for the live set capabilities. But then I'm so busy making and recording my track every day that I haven't had time yet to look at it :hihi:
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Re: Is Eurorack just extreme consumerism?

Post by wuff_miggler »

the electroharmonix big loopers look really awesome - i think they're like 4 loopers in 1....very appealing idea this looping thing
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Re: Is Eurorack just extreme consumerism?

Post by polesay »

6667 wrote: Thu Nov 15, 2018 8:54 am
But for every Richard Devine, there's 50 dudes with these massive systems that cost more than the average American could afford with their entire annual salary, yet they just end up make shockingly average sounding instagram clips.
Not to sound flippant but… who cares?
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Re: Is Eurorack just extreme consumerism?

Post by wuff_miggler »

i guess showing of a larger than life system carries with it the air that you're using it to make brain melting music? to not hear that is a disappointment
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Re: Is Eurorack just extreme consumerism?

Post by Blairio »

There are parallels in other walks of life. The expensive sports car owner who has barely average driving skills, the yacht owner who needs a proper seafarer to sail the thing, and so on. I guess you could argue that a huge wall of modular is just another example of conspicuous wealth - unless the owner uses to the rig to somewhere near its full potential.
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Re: Is Eurorack just extreme consumerism?

Post by luchog »

wuff_miggler wrote: Tue Oct 18, 2022 2:09 am i guess showing of a larger than life system carries with it the air that you're using it to make brain melting music? to not hear that is a disappointment
Blairio wrote: Tue Oct 18, 2022 6:26 am There are parallels in other walks of life. The expensive sports car owner who has barely average driving skills, the yacht owner who needs a proper seafarer to sail the thing, and so on. I guess you could argue that a huge wall of modular is just another example of conspicuous wealth - unless the owner uses to the rig to somewhere near its full potential.
It's pretty much a given that -- unless you are a professional musician or a "serious artist" type -- the more gear you have, the less likely it is that you're using it to its full potential.

And yeah, that's the thing, does it really matter? No one is saying (that I'm aware of, at least) that people shouldn't be allowed to have all the gear, to buy all that stuff. It's just clear that it's the ownership of stuff, rather than the expression of creativity, that is the primary goal. It's about encouraging a little critical self-appraisal, do I really need all this stuff to do what I want to do, or am I acquiring stuff as a status symbol/end in itself?

No one is saying that everyone has to record what they make and share it with the world; but that's also a big part of human creativity. It doesn't have to be great music, or even good music. It doesn't necessarily even have to fit into an arbitrary definition of "music". Sharing our creativity is part of how we build communities. That's one of the things I love about the amateur writer (eg. fanfiction) and amateur art communities, the primary goal isn't to create something commercially profitable, it's just to create and to share that creativity. I think the amateur music community is kind of mired in the idea that something has to have reached a particular arbitrary standard of quality before it can be shared with others.

Stuff like expensive sports cars and yachts are definitely examples of conspicuous consumption, since they do not function any better as transportation than less costly alternatives. That's not really a good comparison to modular synth gear (or most musical instruments for that matter); since there isn't all that much difference in cost vs. functionality between the various formats or manufacturers. One could argue that Buchla is a bit overpriced in that respect, but an equally valid argument could be made that Euro is underpriced. One could also argue about the status symbol quality of owning vintage gear, but ultimately that's not going to be all that huge a difference either.

The real issue is why one acquires the gear, the impetus behind the purchase and ownership. Is it truly about using the gear as a creative tool? Is it about the "cool" factor of owning a lot of, or certain types of, gear? Is it the process of acquisition itself (ie. collecting) that is the reason?

If the former, then it's a matter of understanding the gear and how to use it, how it contributes to the creativity, and whether acquiring a particular piece of gear is actually useful to the process of creativity, or potentially driven by a consumerist impulse.

If the latter two, then some degree of consumerism is certainly involved, and creativity is likely only a secondary consideration or rationalization for the consumption.
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Re: Is Eurorack just extreme consumerism?

Post by Tristana »

not reading anything in this thread

the answer:
yes
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