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November 30, 2009

Max4Live was released recently. I haven’t spent much time checking it out yet, but just from opening Live and and looking at the Max4Live tutorials, the following quote seems acutely relevant:

The great benefit [of tools like Cubase] is that they remove the issue of skill, and replace it with the issue of judgement. With Cubase or [an imaging program like] Photoshop, anybody can actually do anything, and you can make stuff that sounds very much like stuff you’d hear on the radio, or looks very much like anything you see in magazines.

So the question becomes not whether you can do it or not, because any drudge can do it if they’re prepared to sit in front of the computer for a few days; the question then is: of all the things you can now do, which do you choose to do?

This is a whole issue for which there are not manuals! And nobody has actually discussed that side of it – they’re all so thrilled by the thought that I can do anything! The real interesting question of ‘So what do I do?’ isn’t being addressed.

This is why I say I’d rather talk about abstract things because that’s the kind of question that I want to talk about. We’re now in a sea of unmoored judgements. Of people thinking that the judgement part is the bonus, the bit you put on at the end, once you’ve got a good beat… I think that’s got to be right at the beginning of the process; it’s got to steer you all the way through.

Brian Eno