Hey Elektronauts, happy weekend. Hope you’re all well and safe.
I’ve been trying a lot of different things in the last 6-12 months in terms of different software (Bitwig, Ableton etc) and hardware (Maschine Mk3, Elektron gear, Dreadbox Typhon) and I’ve sort of come to the conclusion that using either software-only or hardware-only seems to work in terms of being fun and immediate and creative but when I try to stick the two things together it all falls apart quickly.
If I fire up Bitwig I can start messing around with beats and synths and even generative modular (thanks to the Grid which I think is great) and get something fun going quickly. Likewise, I can sit with my Dreadbox Typhon and just press play and start turning knobs and get beautiful sounds out of it, whether it be an aggressive acid bassline or a soothing ambient wash. I probably won’t make a whole track just with a Typhon (although I’m sure it’s possible) but it’s relaxing and enjoyable no matter where it takes me.
However…if I turn on my Maschine Mk3 and try to actually create a piece of music, it feels like a clunky process which is neither one thing nor the other. I’ve spent a couple of months learning the workflow but it still feels like a fight and it still feels like I’m trying to use software with an awkward layer of abstraction rather than using a “machine” that I can control to make sound. It also feels the same if I try to record audio from devices into the Maschine/Ableton/Bitwig becasue it becomes a stop/start process of trying to make a nice sounds, then record a loop or whatever, arrange it or chop it up etc. All of a sudden that lovely sense of just playing with noise has become a work-like process that is awkward and anti-creative.
I’ve been watching loads of YT videos about eurorack (and I thank you all for your input on my other threads) and the impression I get is that people don’t know where they’re going when they start but it’s the journey that matters. I get that feeling with using Bitwig with a keyboard and a mouse, and I get it with firing up my Typhon, but I absolutely DON’T get it if I try to merge the two worlds.
I don’t think I have any great point to make here but it’s just playing on my mind a lot lately and I wondered if I’m the only one who feels this way?! Is better to just keep the two worlds separate because they fufil different needs and because they just don’t make good bedfellows? I note with interest that the interweb is full of people who say that the Ableton Push, despite being a solid piece of equipment, still doesn’t get them away from the DAW because it just can’t do everything properly or in a convenient and useable way. So the layer of abstraction remains, and it’s still easier to do most of it with a mouse.
What do we think?