farting martians

well, the neuron finally arrived.

and i’ve spent several hours already, fiddling with the thing and muttering “what the hell?”

this instrument is idiosyncratic to the point of perversity… which is of course exactly why i’m so glad to have it. that, and it meets my primary criterion for an “interesting” synthesizer, in that you’re never more than one or two knobtwists away from total chaos. pick any standard pad (and none of them are really “standard” in the conventional sense), push one level into the editing parameters, flip the joystick in any random direction, and suddenly the string synth becomes the Martian Fart Machine. it doesn’t even load properly in sonar’s VST manager, reinforcing the impression that in using it you’re always just riding the ragged edge of collapse. it is in all respects appropriately and thoroughly funky.

the manual is a codex, written in what appears to be perfectly good grammatical english, describing some insane german engineer’s idea of what parametric resynthesis might be. it may as well be coptic, for all its relation to just about anything else in electronic music. the instrument is just weird, and the oddity of its interface and parameter space is perfectly in keeping with the wheedles, zwoops and gronks which lie immediately behind even the sine wave model.

alison finds it unmusical. which means of course that it’s perfect for me. no bass/pad/horn banks. no umpteenth instance of an electric piano. just pure electronic sonorities that move and shimmer and occasionally fall apart gracelessly in the way that only cranky digital engines can.

this thing is so right for me.


the experience i’m having with the neuron is allowing me to fall in love again with the process, and so with my other instruments as well. working with it reminds me of the joy of exploration, discovery and serendipity that i found in the jd800, the waldorf, and even the big old modular, and makes me want to return to them in that spirit. i’ve felt dried up for several years now, and the strange fun of this thing is like water in my desert.


Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *