welcome, ravel, to lines : )
i can relate to a lot of the thoughts you laid out here. i think creating music is always psychologically connected to anyone who wishes enough to do so, and i think the tools we use are naturally extensions of ourselves and serve as the catalyst for brain waves to the music or noise that other people can hear.
to me, it’s not a coincidence that my electric guitar and my eurorack case both happen to be the same color, which also happens to be my favorite color. it’s also relevant that myself along with likely just about everyone else that makes up this forum, is drawn to some idea of minimalism - be it design or state of mind.
i think we are also all very cyclical by nature, and i think in this world we live in where creation is sometimes fueled by a subconscious capitalistic urge, it’s easy to fall in and out of knowing what you need, and wanting what you don’t have. in my mind there is a clear correlation between comfort with/inspiration from your equipment and productivity. but as someone who is extremely polar when it comes to making art/music/records nonstop for a couple months straight and then spending months after detaching myself from that part of my mind, trusting that i know it will always return to me, i feel that there is also no such thing as a perfect setup or selection of equipment because in the end there will always be days when i wake up and can’t get myself to turn it on and make something.
when i started eurorack i quickly populated a large case. i made a lot of tracks with it, but i was unable to focus in the long term on anything that could be long form and cohesive. discovering monome was for me also a turning point in my modular journey as far as workflow and creative philosophy was concerned. i downsized majorly, basing my system around a grid and an arc providing the brains and sequencing for my patches. i now can’t really imagine working any other way or ever expanding at all because i’ve become so familiar and comfortable with this setup. i’m also in love with the design of monome, and i also want to support them, a small company, as much as i can because i know they are good people who work very hard. i truly believe monome is the most beautiful and innovative maker in music production and synthesis tools right now! i wouldn’t be worried about feeling late to the party. arcs pop up for sale every once in a while, and i’m sure there will be another opportunity to order one directly sometime soon. isms are more rare but you can very easily make your own with the same modules and concept in mind, perhaps with even more personal customization.
i think i will always encourage anyone to go more minimal who is asking about it. since doing so in all areas of my life, i have become happier, calmer, and more clear headed, especially in my creative pursuits. in my mind the most important thing is to create what is natural for you, and to stay close to your truth. music is very introspective, and we need that to grow and change, which sounds like is already something you’re quite familiar with.
some simple thoughts turned into a very long rant! i appreciated your approach to talking about our relationships with music and music tools and life! hopefully some of those words helped answer your question in some way, or hopefully someone else will continue the chain and expand the hive mind.
lastly i would say check out (if you haven’t seen them already) these threads:
we are obsessed with downsizing over here!