(The Subjective Part)
What evidence or
feeling is behind my decisions leading to "verdicts" like crappy or
It's all contextualized. At the end of the day it all boils down to inspiration
or the lack thereof. But the road leading to it is paved with many various
factors. For example, the more hype a synth has, and the more expensive it is,
the more I expect from it and the bigger chances of my disappointment (isn't
that natural for everybody?). Sometimes I almost behave like a capricious child,
but that's only because I also keep in mind the broad picture of the evolution
of synths and I want to keep a healthy balance. If I went too far with rational
& mature appreciation, I would get to the point when every synth could be summed
up by the holy words "it is what it is, be thankful that it exists". Conversely,
when I'm writing a review of a synth which is generally dismissed or dissed to
death, I try to highlight its good sides, play the devil's advocate to some
extent. Of course if a Roland JP-8000 was my first synth, or was given to me to
be enjoyed on a desert island, most probably it (or the experience) would be
But this type of out-of-context, groundless theorizing is pointless in my view.
Evaluating synths needs to be placed at once within all the spheres of fun,
economy and art.
I'm not a son of a millionaire. If I was, I would just have all the synths of
the world brought to my feet and throw them away if I didn't like them.
But there's the risk that with such a carefree attitude, it would all be
equally cool or equally boring and pointless.
I work, which means I exchange my life for money, which means I exchange my life
for the synths that I buy with that money.
The notion of cost is a strong fixture in my life and the landscape
(thoughtscape;P) of my mind. Therefore, these verdicts should be helpful to those of you who see those
connections and interdependencies in a similar way.
So if a synth is superb, it is superb in its contextual entirety
(features / price / efficacy / hype), not superb as a standalone set of molecules
in the universe. Is free water, as an object to splash yourself with on a summer
day, superb? Yes. Is
it a superb deal to cut off and trade your arm for a bottle of water? No.
If a synth is superb, it means that it superbly fulfills what it professes to fulfill,
or gives me superb sounds, comfort, effectiveness, inspiration, etc and does it
within rational boundaries of time & money. Of course some people will see this as an outrage that I mark the Alesis Ion as
superb, while the Virus TI gets only a mere proper mark.
"How the fuck is it possible that a $500 synth is better than my $2000 baby?"
If your $2k baby lets you create everything you ever wanted, that's great, and
I'm happy to drop out of the picture this very moment.
Some people just need a fart sound and a Yamaha CS-5 will be superb for them,
whereas the TI will be total crap because it cannot make such juicy organic
Again, I'd like to keep a healthy balance between looking at all this from a musician's
and from a synth-freak's point of view, but it ain't easy.
My advice: Don't take life and this site too seriously. Have fun. The only thing
you can truly believe in is yourself.