So I know it's been a long time since I posted, so I figured I'd drop in and post something with some real substance and maybe spark a discussion, rather than post my usual "der...I've been busy" excuse post.
This post is titled 'The Ebb and Flow' because that's a syndrome I've always had with music gear. There's always a period where I can't stop thinking of enough new gear that I need. The key word is need. It's like I have some kind of physical need to some new gear otherwise I '"can't achieve some sound/project/song/etc that I want to creatively". This is the core of the oft-reported Gear Acquisition Syndrome (G.A.S.) that so many of us music types have.
Modular synths seem to be the perfect match for this 'Ebb stage'. There's practically limitless options available, and if you decide to go with multiple formats, god help you and your bank account. It's practically never ending.
Invariably, there's some point in which this stage stops for me, and the "Flow" stage begins. I'll start to think "I now have too much gear now and I'm unable to achieve what I want with all these choices draining my workflow". Quickly, the same time and effort spent trying to acquire all this gear in the Ebb stage, is now spent trying to figure out how to trim down to the core of what I need to "get things done".
I'm at the start of the Flow stage now.
I don't know if it's because I haven't had the modular up and running again, but I'm really missing a simple selection of modules in which I have a decently flexible "instrument". That's a part of it too; I feel like I don't have an "instrument" but rather a bunch of tools that I can string together in some way. Fantastic tools yes, but a collection of tools does not make an instrument. It's difficult to master an instrument that is practically infinitely re-configurable.
Another aspect is that what really drives me creatively is limitations. I like to be presented with limitations and the opportunity to work within them to achieve what I want. I find that a satisfying challenge, both purely intellectually as well as musically.
So I know what you're thinking now, "So you're saying you want to sell all your modular stuff that you spent all that time and money acquiring?!?" No. Not quite. What I want is something I can play, something I can perform and enjoy becoming a master of. I don't want to toss aside all the modules I have, but I do want to put together some kind of small, semi-portable, modular "instrument".
Do I regret selling my Doepfer cases. One of them, maybe. Do I regret planning out this large modular case? Taking this long to wrap it up yes, but deciding to make it no.
I guess I don't know completely what I want. I guess I'm just looking to hear your thoughts...do you go through the same Ebb and Flow? Do you feel your modular is a instrument, along the lines of a guitar, or waterphone, or pan flute?
Let's hear your thoughts.