04 Aug 2021


I’ve been wrestling with an idea for the better part of the past few months. I think it’s time to let go of a lot of my music gear. Toward the end of 2020 and through the first quarter of 2021, I actually did really good at clearing out stuff I wasn’t using, or that didn’t fit into the near-term vision for musical projects. I slipped up a bit in the last quarter with respect to gear buying, but I think the recent purchases are where I want to be for the next year (or more). I’m realizing that I just don’t have enough free time to justify having all this stuff. I can get away with much less – a minimum viable setup, if you will. Don’t get me wrong; I have enjoyed being able to pull something off the shelf and jamming with it when I have an idea, but I think it’s time to nail down what my goals are with this music hobby. What I’ve decided is that I need two main components. I need one thing with structure, i.e. the facility to create a complete song if I want. Next, I need one thing that is completely the opposite, something unstructured, a platform for experimenting, where I can generate ideas, sounds and fun.

It will be tough to part with some of these machines. What I have now are the ones that have been here the longest, the favorites that have stood the test of time. However, I think this must be done. There are two things that might make this process easier. After picking up the MPC One recently, I found that it could very well be the only piece that I need. The one thing it was lacking was the exploratory, experimental & aleatoric options that a lot of other gear I’ve used has. That’s why I’m allowing a sidekick – a counterpoint, perhaps (more on that later). Second, I created a list of all the extraneous gear that I have. Further, I’m working on ordering that list based on replaceability and nostalgia. Things like FX pedals are near the top of the list due to easily being covered by FX in the MPC, all the way down to the Octatrack, which will probably be the item I miss the most. I’ll start selling the gear at the top of the list, and work my way down. The hope is that momentum will keep me going, overriding the nostalgia that is causing me to hold on to this stuff. We’ll see how it goes.

Why did I write all this out? I think mainly to commit the idea in writing. I have been thinking about this for so long, but I haven’t acted on it. I think it’s time to act on it, and hopefully bring some simplicity to my hobby. I just want to have a device or two to turn on and get up and running on quickly. What’s the expermentation platform that I hinted at earlier? Well, I can’t believe I’m saying it, but I’m going to give the eurorack modular world a go again. This time, though, I’m keeping it compact and focused. Those limitations should help prevent things from getting too distracting and out of hand. It might make sense to blog about the decision process for building the mini eurorack case. That might lead me to ideas on how best to fill the case, as I flesh out what my goal is for that setup. It’s getting late, so I’m going to wrap this post. I’ll follow up soon. Stay tuned.