This week’s challenge in my electronic music Song Game Group is to use just one synth for the whole track. Even the drums!
The idea here is that there is so much gear out there, and there are plug-ins on top of plug-ins, and sample packs galore that, instead of helping, these gum-up the works, stopping all creativeness in its tracks.
It’s a dirty room or a sink full of dishes. A diner table piled high with plates and old food. A bed full of people at a party and all you want to do is go to sleep (if this happens).
A good chunk of YouTube seems dedicated to the pursuit of of learning how to use all this gear, or how to acquire it, or how some other idiot acquired it, or why it is the greatest, or why is sounds like a cat being _____, or how to take it out of it’s box …
It’ll make you ‘effing crazy. Real Crazy.
So with this sorry state of affairs that’s maybe a by-product of our consumer economy, you must do things like pretend you only have one synth to shake loose of it all.
Given all of this, I monogamlly committed to my favorite synth–the Roland Alpha Juno–for not a week, but for a whole month. A MONTH! My first analog poly was an Alpha Juno, but embarrassingly I still have not really plumed the depths here. Like A LOT of others, I got distracted by the this-one-does-this and that-one-does that of other synths. I mean, that’s how I got the AJ in the first place.
I do think my music would be better, and I would be slightly happier if I would have only stuck with this and the Minitaur, and my shadow motivation is to, after all of this is said and done, go down to just a few synths I know very well. (target list: Alpha Juno, Grandmother, OP-1).
I am preparing for a show on the 12th, and I am also finishing a couple of tracks for pre-studio, tracking. I am not 100% sure if only using this guy will make all of this easier or harder, but it’s already making it simpler.
I believe the Juno series has a categorical sound akin to what the Stratocaster/ Les Paul/ Rickenbacker all have to guitars. A differentiating, know-it-when-you-hear-it thing. Crucially, pop music would not sound the way it sounds without Juno series. So, can a modern musician survive a summer month with just one synth?
A few things to think about: The manual is really great, as is the above pamphlet/ book. I use an iPod touch for arps and sequences, and this works better than a phone for a lot of reasons. Related to this, having no sequencer or arpeggiator on a synth like this can be a real plus. This helps a lot. Ableton works really well with Alpha Juno (native External Instrument plug-in). Connect 2 things with this (iPhone runs op-1 and AJ).