The myth of the genius engineer is a huge problem, largely because it supports obfuscating the work of all of the people who actually made it happen. “Vision” is overrated. Praxis is way more important, and MI modules are a good example of that. Olivier with the assistance of papernoise are pretty much Mutable Instruments, that’s not really in play here in the same way.
I’m also not saying there are no power dynamics. There’s no such thing. Politics are always present. I am just saying the power dynamic you highlighted is different than the one in play for MI.
Some of us, myself included, prefer to express positive opinions over negative ones. That’s not to say there is no room for criticism, but the ideal you ascribe to of a ‘healthy debate’, is not an ideal we all share in all forums. There is a strong argument that “critical” culture has very toxic roots rummaging through discourse right now. Since that isn’t something we all want, I can see why that would be a point of frustration for you.
MI has some milquetoast populist design notions. Accessibility is a goal. That’s going to be inherently less divisive. Something like Mannequins, on the other hand, will inspire much more debate, because their work is opaque, inspiring, and challenging on a very different trajectory.
I do not have the impression that no one criticizes MI modules. I’ve seen plenty of hype, I’ve also seen plenty of people sell their shiny new MI modules. I also see outright criticism in the formal sense. Any module with a strong design concept will inspire debate about whether those ideas work for you. That’s what this entire thread is about, effectively.
Our opinions on MI modules don’t have the gravity of larger issues. One is not better for all, modular synthesizers are inherently an argument for the perspective of a multiplicity of design ideas. If you like MI stuff, you can have as much as you can afford; if you don’t, you’ve got plenty of choices! You can’t really know until you sit down with it and use it for a while.
I was originally turned off by Make Noise stuff, but since spending some time with a few pieces of Make Noise gear that resonated with me, I finally get it. Popularity is just another metric to consider.
Why is it popular?
Maybe it’s actually just a great design?