Modular synth lifestyle marketing?


All I can say is “YES, THIS, THANKS.”


It’s even weirder when you realize that Red Bull Music Academy is doing way better music journalism than 99% of other actual journalists out there. Talk about the lunatics running the asylum! They did an entire hour with Larry Heard!


furthermore, many artists wouldn’t be able to support the side of their work we know them for without engaging in these other types of work. most ways of making a living, under capitalism, are morally grey // based in exploitation and those artists who can make the record sales + live show model work for them are, more than anything, privileged. without claiming knowledge of any specific person’s situation we can know that getting the kind of money it takes to buy a house, take a sabbatical, or raise a child with confidence simply by selling art and performing is… startlingly difficult.

being proud of the way you make money is a massive component of the capitalist superstructure and almost incommensurable with a high-minded system of ideals involving moral purity and the definitively ‘right’ (the type of system most people might like to imagine they hold to). hence alienation from labor.


Is the first video kind of meta surrealism? :stuck_out_tongue_winking_eye:


Modular synths are for the people! I get all my song lyrics from the IWW.


I’m a bit ashamed that my gear question followed such a thoughtful and interesting response by Bellemnop. Definitely a weird commercial. No judgement on Stripes for designing the system. I personally would not have ‘given’ a design so close to my own but that is absolutely my personal preference to regard even my systems composition as private and has to do with my being quite an intensely private person. This is is true for me despite my system bearing stark resemblance to others as we follow current module and maker fascinations. It was observed earlier that the role of the synth in the ad is to embody art, music and science into an object with appeal. My system does perform this role in my life and I can often be found snatching admiring glances at it and daydreamingly contemplating it’s aesthetic in my space. It has become something of a totem for thought when my other anxieties overwhelm. I think it was such an object that Stripes designed but it was not what they were commissioned to design but rather a totem of a “comforting, albiet vaporous, ideal about geographic and educational freedoms which are directly linked to yet another market (housing) which has at least in recent history proven itself to pretty ethically dubious”, as put by Bellemnop.


Don’t be ashamed. Not every discussion has to be about privilege.


i appreciate the kind words and responses to my ramble, but i want to reiterate that i’m really not trying to cause any sort of upset here. i think @alanza was very accurate in her appraisal of my comments being “shot through with anxiety” on various levels; i can hardly help that, i guess most of what i do has a tendency toward anxiousness which probably isn’t always healthy and can lead to some “unreliable narrator” type scenarios. consequently, it’s not even far off base to say that my own hypercritical commentary above isn’t in itself a way of derailing meaningful work, ad nihilum and undeservedly.

also a more personal wager would be that the sort of increasingly fuzzy correspondence between “borderline-paranoiac diagnosticizing” and attempts at consciousness-raising within the current social paradigm seems to be largely a function of Late Capitalist Proceedings in its own right, obfuscating the capacity for dialogue(s) that translate well or at all; @ht73 's comment points toward this i think, in the mentioning of bringing forth “a world where the idea of the future is possible again”, and such an endeavor’s inevitable ties to language.

but i digress, and accordingly want to extend thanks to @stripes for being present in this thread to begin with, offering additional information about the inner workings of how the commercial came to be, and their involvement with it. context is key obviously, and my post was in no way meant to be a call-out.

also apologies for using such obtuse phrases to describe stuff, i don’t really get out much :sweat_smile:


You’re in good company around here! :smile:


yeah, no need to apologize. i may not have the philosophical background to follow along completely or enough to agree/disagree but i enjoy pushing to understand other peoples perspectives as well as i can :slight_smile:


I must be missing some, probably north-american, cultural/social references or something because I don’t see anything wrong with that ad. I mean, I don’t like ads as a rule but that one was far less obnoxious than most I’ve seen.

Are people really upset that what they perceive as special or unique about their musical instruments seems to be becoming a bit more mainstream (and that might be more local than anything, as it’s been mentioned this is about the place where both Moog and Makenoise - where Tony Rolando used to work- are located) or is there something else ?


I think it’s partly a north-american thing for sure. I don’t know much about North Carolina, but for a white US family, looking for “good schools” can wrap up a whole history of racism, segregated schooling and uneven access to “extras” like good science and music along class and race lines. Since North Carolina is in the US South, this choice on the part of the ad agency seemed extra fraught to me. The rest of the house and garden were, like, obviously TV sets but screamed luxury to me.

So, all of which to say, I don’t really care at all whether modulars are becoming more mainstream—I mean, Deadmau5 and Coldplay already have them. What I didn’t like about the ad actually was the presentation of race and class. The fact that the modular fit into that presentation so seamlessly made me sad, since it’s an instrument I love, but for me it was the kind of sadness where you see spelled out for you a fact that you had been trying to avoid acknowledging. Namely, modular can be aesthetically groundbreaking and challenging, but that doesn’t make it inherently progressive, politically.


Although now, when people ask about what kind of music we make, we can just refer them to this ad… “I make stuff like that girl in the realtor ad…”


well, surely we could have already sent them to one of @stripes’s excellent YouTube videos :wink:


Ok, I really didn’t get that part at all so I won’t comment on this more.
But a modular synth is basically a luxury instrument, too. So in that sense it really fits with the rest…


Sure but everyone has probably seen this ad now :laughing:


This thread is challenging for me… I work my ass off in part to have a nice home, and if I had kids I’d want them to go to good schools…

I’m white, male, and certainly more privileged than some, none of which I have earned but none of which is my fault…

What exactly am I supposed to do, really? Give everything I have away and sell myself into servitude? To whom, exactly…

I vote for conscious candidates to the extent there are any,… I try to support noble causes… I do what I can to support my students who aren’t “like me” whatever that means…

But am I wrong to want a nice place to live? Really? Wow… I must be a terrible person…


The purposeful marketing of class segmentation is, at its heart, something different than the urge/need/desire to climb as high up the Maslow Hierarchy of Needs as we can for ourselves and those we love and value.


Yes, thank you for noting this so succinctly.

I don’t want to come across as saying that anyone in this thread or not should feel any type of guilt about this! I just wanted to tease out the larger picture I was seeing.


Maybe I’m naive, ill-informed, or both, but I didn’t sense any overtly racial undertones to the ad itself- the exact words used were “you want a little garden home in a school district with honors science and art and music,” and the people happened to be white. And with regards to the modular, it seemed like a benign choice by the director just as a visually fun way to convey “art and science” in one object based on some videos they saw online. :woman_shrugging: