"I'm old enough to remember hating "electronic" sounding music. "
I watched the documentary on 808 I was reminded what it was like to hear R&B music that was heavily synthesized and remember how foreign & weird it sounded.
I mean 808s and drum machines were cool for hip-hop but I remember thinking of Marvin Gaye's Sexual Healing or singing the National Anthem and remember thinking at the time even as like a 9 year old, that's cool but it would be better if they used real drums.
I also had that reaction to Prince's Sign of the Times. Just remember thinking it was a negative that it sounded so synthesized and electronic.
1. "This is a fantastic post." In response to Reply # 0
I'm not old enough to remember being turned off by electronic sounding music. But I enjoy your clear articulation of the shifting in your tastes or at least the evolution of your understanding of what music should(?) sound like.
3. "It wasn't so much synthesizers to me as much as it was the patches" In response to Reply # 0
Stevie Wonder's synths still don't sound right to me. Synths were still new in the 70's and 80's and as a result the physical sound of the instrument didn't please my ears. That's subjective of course.
5. "I've Always Liked Synth Based Music But It Was Certain Genres..." In response to Reply # 0
...that shouldn't have went so hard into using synths, like smooth jazz & r&b, I liked traditional jazz, jazz fusion, but when jazz really went into recording tracks digital instead of recording analog things got bright & bland, it lost it's soul in the late 80's to early 90's to me.
I was born when New-Wave rock was out and I still love that sound of rock artists using keyboards, drum machines, and sending their guitars thru effect pedals, & whatnot, I just didn't care for acoustic rock or grunge at all.
Also r&b was doing good with synths & drum machines but I remember when Stevie Wonder's "Characters" came out, it didn't move me much except for a few songs, but all the upbeat r&b coming out during that time I was liking but it got to be so formulistic while the dance remixes were on point.
To me it was always about balance between electronic & acoustic instruments that bring the perfect combination to a song/music, whether it was r&b, jazz, rock, house, techno, & etc.; I think country & blues were the last genres to hold out on going full digital/electronic which is why they didn't start to go the bland pop phase until the late 90's early 2000's.
6. "Sorta depended on the song for me, but there was some taking advantage" In response to Reply # 0 Fri Sep-18-20 11:08 PM by Boogie Stimuli
I remember being excited about it, because it would bring certain visions to life better. I still think electronics work better for certain songs, depending on the song. Likewise, I think live instrumentation works better for others, so I can relate to your feeling that this was the death of good R&B. I do remember feeling like a lot of the newer stuff just sounded canned and that artists were kinda "getting over" and taking advantage of an era where less talent was needed. The best, imo, was when you have an artist who could play but simply used the electronics to enhance their sound rather than depending on the electronics. At the very least, someone who understand music composition. At worst, you get RZA crafting a beat on that Guitar Center feature. When it's done well, either can work better for the same song depending on the artist performing it. I think the Prince song you posted in the OP is better with live instruments, but that could be because I always thought the original electronic version was too bare to the point that it was almost annoying to me. I always felt like Prince was capable of making that a MUCH more interesting song than the album version.
I recently listend to Meshell Ndegeocello's Ventriloquism, and it's pretty phenomenal what she does with some of those songs. She gives Atomic Dog an incredible ambience through live instrumentation. George to dance, Meshell to relax. Nite And Day and Sensitivity going from electronic sounds to more live instrumentation were nice. Especially Nite And Day. What she does with Waterfalls and Don't Disturb This Groove is cool too.
~ ~ ~ ~ ~ "Until you get outta my way, I don't wanna hear what you say aye aye"
7. "Why didn't I know about this Meshell Ndegeocello's Ventriloquism??!" In response to Reply # 6
Thanks for putting me on. This is dope.
To be clear. While I did find some of these songs initially jarring by the electric sounds, I've come to realize the sparseness is what's dope about it. I hated the New Power Generation sound because it was too "overproduced" in my opinion. A lot of people can sound good with a full band and orchestra, Prince is a genuis because he can make beautiful music with just a drum machine.
********** "Everyone has a plan until you punch them in the face. Then they don't have a plan anymore." (c) Mike Tyson
Early/mid '70s electronic music from Kraftwerk, Tangerine Dream et al isn't really my thing, but one thing it generally isn't is cheesy.
but as synth technologies got more and more refined, the 'cold' synth sounds of the 80s became a replacement for live instrumentation. I know it's become fashionable to look back on that music fondly but the new stuff imitating the old stuff sounds just as cheesy (to my ears) as the old stuff did the first time around.
Unfortunately it's not strictly a time limitation, and the same thing can still sound cheesy in otherwise timeless tunes. I remember seeing Toots live in fall 1991; I was disappointed he didn't have a horn section, but really turned off that the keyboardist played all the horn parts using generic horn sounds on his keyboards. RIP to the great man but I didn't love the show and that was largely the reason.