Not buying too much gear
One thing I am doing to keep my GAS (desire to buy gear) in reign is that I made a promise to myself to not buy any new gear that makes music in 2016. This isn’t a hard ban: I’m spent $150 buying VSTs by Sean Costello (mainly because I love his reverbs and want him to be able to support himself working on more reverbs full time) and I’m getting non-music-making accessories like cords, MIDI splitters, thru boxes, and headphones.
A few things which make it easier for me to keep my GAS in check:
- Brian Eno. He owned just a Minimoog for a large part of the 1970s, and just a DX7 for a large part of the 1980s. While he has used other synths (my favorite ARP 2600 recording is Music For Airports 2/2, which has a 2600 being played at half speed), he was able to be very creative using essentially just those two synths.
- Classical Music. Here, we see a lot of really beautiful music made where the composer has only a handful of choices for sounds (strings, woodwind, brass, and a couple of percussion instruments)
- With the exception of the beginning of So Hard by the Pet Shop Boys, there isn’t that much modular music I care for (I like modular generated music done before the Minimoog, such as Switched on Bach and the synths in Abbey Road by the Beatles). This helps keep me from spending a lot of money trying to build up an Eurorack system.
- Realizing that, when all is said and done, analog synths don’t sound that different from each other. When I listen to a song I like, I never say “that’s a great song because he recorded it with a Minilogue instead of a JP-08” There are songs which sound good because of the texture they use: But the texture tends to be a digital one (Chuck Wild’s Liquid Mind IV: Unity album, Jonn Serrie Glyder) which can be obtained from a cheap or free VST these days. Back in the 1980s, a DSS-1 sampler with synth sounded a lot different and could do a lot of things a Casio CZ-1000 couldn’t do, and a DX7 was a completely different beast than a Jupiter-8, but that kind of variety these days is mainly in inexpensive or free VSTs.
- My goal is to make music (finish that album I started last year), not to get gear for the sake of having gear. It’s when the rush of getting a new piece of gear wears off and I get really familiar with it that the creativity starts with me.
So, yeah, no new gear in 2016. Let’s see if I can keep that resolution.