Effort, is it really necessary?

Effort, it is just so over rated.

All that hard work you see people doing, learning how to use their tools & developing their own techniques

Why bother?

Surely you can just download it (whatever ‘it’ is) and apply a few ‘gestures’
And then savour the results of all your non-work?




What prompted such sardonic comments? Well two things…

First was a rant a friend made, who had been working at a highly acclaimed Art school
(yes, that is art with a capital A) & after suffering in silence for a couple of years finally quit.
His rant was to do with ‘work’ i.e. getting your hands dirty, breaking a sweat etc… It seemed to him that one of the newer processes of conceptual artists is the idea of de-skilling.
For example, a conceptual artist might have the ‘idea’ of creating a sculpture made say from granite. But thanks to the concept of de-skilling there is no need to actually learn how to sculpt granite, as the ‘you can just download it’ = ‘I am a conceptual artist, someone else can do that work for me.’


The second was from being lulled into watching a mind numbing demo on youtube of a new ‘EDM generator’ for Kontakt, I won’t embed it – I just cannot stand to. But here is a link, which is cued up to the moment where I threw up in my mouth a little bit.


Who knows, maybe both issues are simply framing issues for me…
& in some form of reality somewhere, there is no merit to getting your hands dirty.
So why bother?


Unfortunately I strongly suspect the instant gratification provided by the non-work/no effort
clean hands approach may also equate to banality, simply because while your conscious mind is focused on getting your hands dirty, a form of evolution is happening in your subconscious which no amount of instant gratification can replace. YMMV.




8 Responses to Effort, is it really necessary?

  1. Dan says:

    I think generally the ‘no skillz’ set get what they give. The explicit nature of the above upsets me as it does you, and probably most of our generation, but the laws of physics won’t be changed by fashion. Do nothing, and nobody will pay much attention.

  2. TORLEY says:

    This is just the latest version of those arranger keyboards that have different “styles” where you can play a chord and the whole band starts.

    Now, what’s specifically interesting to me about this, let’s break it down like the breakdown if we are to be like Sherlock:

    * 8dio is well-established as having a wealth of very distinctive sample libraries. I enjoy some of them hugely.

    * The EDM loop market is already well-saturated, so why these late entries? I’m curious about the motivation — might it be an easy cash grab (I’m not going to be insulting by saying “potboiler”) to fund more cool libraries? While this could be a distastefyl thing to ask at a dinner party, it could be a smart strategic move. I’m trying to be considerate of other motivations. They are a business.

    * Another weird thing is, among EDM libraries, the demos don’t even sound particularly awesome. The bass is lacking (!). That’s an awkward oversight. I reckoned 8dio would add a killer twist or innovation to encourage clone producers to go BEYOND cliche sounds, but I’m not hearing/seeing it.

    * However, it’s kind of funny that they’re trying to position a deadmau5-derived style as a new genre, “Flow House”.

    This also adds further establishment to my observation that “sample libraries define genres”.

    • tim says:

      “sample libraries define genres” – not sure I agree with this, I think it is more a case of genres come into existence through a combination of artists & audiences establishing/supporting a new style/form of music, and some time later sample companies tap into this & exploit it. Take dubstep – it existed for quite a while/years before anyone targeted/commodicised it in the form of a sample library. Same for drum & bass a decade or more before it. The sample libraries come quite a while after a new genre is established & recognised. I think your observation put the cart before the horse.

      • tim says:

        Maybe it is more that genre based sample libraries accentuate the tropes of a genre, eventually to such a point that they become cliches. Innovation becomes a trope becomes a cliche?

        • TORLEY says:

          Yes! Thanks for your thoughts… “tropes of a genre” (I love that word, “trope”… I’m addicted to tvtropes.org) hits on what I was looking for — where the most pronounced aspects of a genre become hyperbolic, wildly disproportionate like a caricature or homoculus. Such as how the “WUBWUBWUBs” of dubstep/brostep/whateveryoucallitstep are often referenced in pop culture, at the neglect of other parts. Then we have diminishing returns, slowed innovation, and transition to other genres. What begat hardcore begat jungle begat DnB begat dubstep and so on…

          So to explain, by “sample libraries define genres”, I meant that in a retrospective way. Like in a literal dictionary, a word is included after it’s been out in the wild for awhile and it’s gone through certain evolutions and settled down, though the meaning of that word may be quite different from when it first entered usage… sample libraries function as similar dictionaries of sonic shorthand (often with cheeky soundalikes) at fixed points in time. (That’s my stab at it for now, because words are frustratingly limited abstractions at times — but I suppose that’s why we have sound!)

          On the opposite side of things, have you seen what Spitfire are doing with eDNA? http://www.spitfireaudio.com/spitfire-announce-edna.html I love how they explicitly call out: “We’re not duplicating the efforts of thousands of synth sample sets that have successfully gone before us. You know where to get your indentikit, generic, mainstream & cliche’d dance and pop sounds.”

          • tim says:

            gotcha, sorry for taking your statement a little literally… i know Spitfires work & would like to own more of it in future.

            I think my uneasiness with much of the clean-hands approach is about the tools attempting to become more than that but end up being far, far less by being somewhat prescriptive. Same applies to sound libraries that attempt to provide ‘signature’ sounds – it begs the question as to whos signature?

            • TORLEY says:

              I’m with you there, when tools are fashioned in a way that discourage rather than encourage individual expression? When a tool suppresses the voice of the creator instead of amplifies it.

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