My early AM view

Hopefully you did not come here for advice, but I bet you may be looking for new ideas.

My Idea

Spend a week with a synth. (A month in my case.)

Which synth does not matter and is the wrong kind of detail! If you have an iPad you have acres to a world of them under $10.00, and you also have all YouTube to get you going in the right direction.

What did I find out, learn, or reinforce in a week/ in week one?

1. Make new sounds from existing ones. You do not have to start from a basic patch. (This is how you make a basic patch.) Think of presets as a springboard.

2. I am not the player I could be, but I’m not as bad as I thought. In fact, I may play a song live this weekend (typically only perform w/ guitar).

3. All synths sound the same to the general public.

4. In the context of a mix, effects may be more important than the synth patch/ tone.

5. I really do love my first true synth love, this Alpha Juno. (Yes my site and record label are named after the AJ series.)

6. I am a writer first player and player next, but I still need to be able to get my ideas across as fast, efficiently, and as accurately as I possibly can. A/K/A I need a practice routine. [Austin Kleon has already said how succinctly.]

Random Thoughts

Patches matter less I thought they did, but they still matter a lot. Better general keyboarding will speed up the demo process for me. Committing to the journey and work of #programertoplayer will pay-up huge. I have a much better ear than I used to.

The AJ2 in almost-action

Uno Mas

Knowing this synth well will also save me real money. I think we all know that going out and buying a synth or spending time researching/ SHOPPING for new models—for the “sound in your head”—is wasting energy as compared to practical application, never minding that “sound in your head” is probably just lazy journalist writing that we’ve all come to accept as true.

Imagine not shopping as much. Or imagine the habit of going to your synth when you have something in mind.

For me, my key here and to my writing is this: the process is my reward.

The end-of-the-line song is fine, but if you do not love the journey and keep faith that it will end somewhat victoriously, you may need to rethink things. Out of everything, reenforcement of these is the true one synth lesson for me.

Epilogue

So do you sell everything else?

(Gear is the worst! *and the best)

Why am I writing all of this?

READ THIS! Disclaimer

To find my audience/ spread the music.

Listen here.

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The best Juno.

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?

We’ll see.

Not the manual, but manual adjacent.

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).

best AJ video out there *notice how much he plays the AJ over the Juno-6

Great Web 1.0 resource here