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Articles / Themindofamoron


The Mind Of a Moron

I have been interested in music in its various forms since about the age of 7, when my dad showed me how to play a 12 bar blues riff on an electric guitar he had made, not so long after that he bought a book about DIY guitar pedals. he bought some stripboard and components and set about making a couple of effects. While i did have an interest in what he was doing, I wasn't allowed to participate. During this time we had an old atari 800xl computer, and I started to learn some coding. It was real simple stuff, "adventure" games, after a while though, this lost its appeal, and playing outside with treehouses and gokarts was much more appealing.

A few years later, i came home from school and dad had bought an Amiga 500! this was just awesome, the games on it were out of this world, and that sufficed for a while, then dad got a program called soundtracker (iirc), this was one of those line-by-line 4/8 channel programs, and my real interest in music was started, the possiblities, it seemed, were endless.

When I got my first PC, it didnt take long before i was looking for music software to run on that too, I had some easy drag'n drop programs, with premade samples, but this just didnt feel right, I then got hold of a program called Evolution Audio, a midi sequencer, after this I got a midi keyboard and really started to understand things a bit better. A while later, and during my rebellious period, I managed to download a copy of Propellerheads Rebirth (now free to use), this is a piece of software with 2xTB303 emulators, and 808 and 909 drum machines on the bottom, i could hardly believe the sounds this thing was making, i was at the time totally unaware of hardware synthesizers, despite hearing lots of music that used them.

Dad had a lot of records by groups like tangerine dream, vangelis, jean michelle jarre and gary numan to mention a few, I think that this has influenced my musical direction quite a bit, and as I have just mentioned, I had no real idea how they were making this music, i guessed they just had keyboards that made those sounds.

The final piece of software that I used(and am still using) is Propellerheads Reason, it just blew me away when i used v1 and they dont stop making amazing additions with each new version, this was my inital foray into modular synthesis, albeit on a computer. I learned what an LFO did, what VCA's and VCF's were for, and when you pressed tab in the program it switches to the back where you can patch leads from one device to another!!!!

As my apprecitaion for this type of music grew, so did my curiosity about making these sounds for myself with real hardware, so thanks to the internet, I spent a lot of time looking at this new idea, probably sparked by some latent desire to solder from my youth, I bought a few components and set out to build the Atari Punk Console (of course) this was an interesing project, and after about 20 minutes of messing about with it, i was bored and wanted something MORE!

After some time of searching the internet for different projects, i stumbled across the forums. It seemed like a wonderful playground, so much information and help, or so I had hoped. I noticed an invitation to join the chat room, which I did tentatively, as my previous experience with chat rooms wasnt good (being kicked from c++ chatrooms for having an AOL internet account, and the constant "NOOB" shouts from greasy 13 year old children born with an unnatural talent for programming and making a grown man feel like a child again), I was pleasantly surprised however to find a patient and very helpful group of guys who nursed me through the initial steep learning curve of SDIY.

I have built a lot of stuff in the last 2 years, some of it good, most of it not so good. I have learned skills that i just would never have dreamed of learning just a few years ago, recently I have also managed to use the arduino programming platform to integrate other hardware into the synthesizer environment, (that adventure game programming came in handy after all), and I continue to learn every day. My skill level and experience will never match the likes of some of the guys here, I'm just not academic enough, but I am SO, SO grateful for the help, and the unselfish sharing that this community promotes.

So for making me a better SDIYer and being good friends, thanks to all here at !! :)


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