Electronic music composition – the lesser options, the better?

Greetings. It’s 9:51pm and another workweek lies ahead. While I’m more than grateful to be employed, this time on a Sunday always makes me wish the weekend was longer. Nonetheless, this weekend was pretty productive. Got some yard work done and even more, some time to get some studio housekeeping done, lay some guitar tracks at a recording session yesterday, and made the decision to get reacquainted with some recording gear I’ve had since August 16. 2021. Why is the latter most important? It is because over the last four days or so, a few things occurred that drove me to said decision.The first was viewing on Instagram, and YouTube, a number (a lot) of posts of artists showing how they use a called the Elektron Digitakt. The Digitakt is an eight-track drum computer/sampler in a small, compact unit with a gorgeous LED display that is capable of producing a lot of electronic genres that I love. What made this even more desirable (as alluded to above) is seeing well video recorded posts of said artists sharing what they have done with this unit in various ways, here is just one of many examples. A lot can be said about the visual aspect of things when it comes to being convincing, as well as appealing to another, especially if that “another” is considering acquiring said item.

I spent a fair amount of time watching a lot of videos and reading posts about the Digitakt. Yesterday, while doing yardwork, I had just came across an hour long video of a self-taught musician who champions the approach of “making beats” without the use of samples – something that beat making is extremely closely tied to. The approach to making music without samples is what I’ve done for the for the better part of my life, since I was 15 and first picked up the guitar, so such a challenge is nothing new to me. However, composing music with samples (via hardware or software), is something I really didn’t start doing until the early 2000s, so it’s still somewhat new and even a bit exciting to me. I shared the video with a good friend and fellow producer who’s journey was different than mine, even being about ten years younger. He never achieved command of a musical instrument like guitar or piano, but over the years (after spending a large amount of time sampling and chopping records to make beats), has discovered making beats with software instruments and has zero interest in doing so via the use of hardware (that in itself is a topic we’ve discussed ad infinitum LOL), and that is always all well and fine.

As I began to start justifying why I should get he Digitakt (even somewhat via an Instagram post relating to that), I also started to think of the gear I already possess that can (while in no way even resembling the Digitakt) do the same thing. There are two pieces of gear that I have the fit the bill in some ways but only one that comes close to the Digitakt. Realizing this and remember why I purchased this particular piece of gear on August 16, 2021, made me “come back to my senses” (so to speak) and decide to revisit this piece of gear, and as I did, as I began to see said social media posts of artists doing the very same thing (just with a different product approach) that these Digitakt artists were doing, and realized that I don’t need the Digitakt because it would be a brand new learning curve. Secondly, it only makes practical sense to revisit this current piece of gear to get me on track (again). Frankly, I’m glad I did because it reminded me of why I purchased it in the first place. To be honest, I still have sorta kinda one eye on the Digitakt, especially after reading this older review by 59Perlan comparing the two Buying advice: Elektron Digitakt or Polyend Tracker?

The whole moral of this story is to really consider the phrase “The trick is to give yourself less options”. That phrase is contracdictory to music composition business, where hardware and software development companies want the complete opposite of that, and will continue to be in competition with each other to grab the largest portion of the consumer base.

Not to dive into another subject but, suffice it to say, I love using hardware to compose music still because it’s where I come from, so I still have a great deal of appreciation for that approach, which I’ve been in discussion about for longer than I can remember. That love remains in the hybrid (hardware and software based) configuration of the very home recording studio I’m sitting in as I type this. It was enjoyable getting back to this unit and I’m glad that I kept the notes and a playlist of associated YouTube videos in a playlist to refresh my memory.

I’m looking forward to what I can coax out of this in the near future and already have an idea of the types of tracks I’ll be releasing on Bandcamp and streaming services.

If you made it this far, thanks for hanging. Have a great day/night,

Oceans of rhythm…


About Fresh

Mac Fan/Sys. Engr - NASA planetary missions. guitarist/producer/AFOL/fitness fan/film+TV+sndtrk composer/podcast host/Python newbie coder. Music by me: http://SFTF.bandcamp.com. Mellowly Cool. Find me on X and Bluesky
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