Why is this forum less about music and more about stuff?

I think it can be hard to make meaningful, impactful music on all these machines when you are just starting out, so to get more comfortable you talk about gear and process in order to understand what they are capable of. On the flip side of that it’s easy to say you are over the gear when you have complete set-up, or have explored lots of gear and know for a fact that you don’t need it for the music you want to make.

I have trouble communicating in a lot of communal scenarios, so that’s part of my experience, but I can recognize how it is hard to know what questions to ask or what is the right question. The gear is a signpost / lighthouse; it provides guidance, navigation, and a simple concrete common language.

Over the past year, starting when I was finishing up my last EP, is probably the least I’ve talked (or wanted to talk) about my own music making with anyone in my life (or on the internet), but has also been the most personally impactful epoch of sound-experience that I’ve had since I was in my teens.

I don’t know what to make of these dichotomies… but I do feel that the mega-release thread can feel like a youtube feed sometimes, just a river moving too fast to feel comfortable stepping into. Individual releases, especially those released by names I don’t recognize, are much more peaceful space. I say let them blossom.


we explicitly created the Releases category to facilitate discussion around music made by people here— the paragraph “rule” is not gatekeeping but a sincere suggestion towards community building. a rich accompanying text gives people an entry to discuss the posted work, especially if it’s by someone unfamiliar. otherwise it’s simply a link-drop which really disrespects this forum (where we actively spend substantial moderation effort to build a place that isn’t just instagram+twitter+reverb.)

(aside: the norns text is a concise bit of informative poetry meant to embody the spirit of a project with sprawling potential— if you recall, the release text actually spread out daily over a week, with pages written per day— it’s not quite the right example to demonstrate a link-drop.)

my feeling is that posting to Releases shouldn’t be about self-promotion: you’re posting for the readers/listeners here. it’s not competitive.

all together, the vibe and topics of this place reflect what people put into it. if there’s a topic that wants to be discussed more, the best way to get there is do participate and discuss that topic: be the change you want to see!

if ever there’s a moderation question, please contact @moderators. we care a lot about this community and make out best efforts to shape it positively.


Shhhh. 20 characters of S***** T*** F***…


Haven’t read this whole thread yet, but I would think that one reason is that the ‘stuff’ (gear, process, approaches to creativity etc.) is applicable to people making a whole range of different music. There’s plenty of music made by people in the lines-sphere that isn’t really the kind of thing I listen to, but we can still have an interesting chat about granular processing, even if they are using it to add texture to an ambient house track and I’m using it to throw clouds of noise around.


tldr this place is the same old gear and aesthetic fetishism as any other gear site repackaged in a polite minimal aesthetic. people here are interested in aesthetics not music (unless you can film it in hd with a dslr in 4k). if you want feedback i highly suggest finding or making a discord group with similar musicians to you so you can get that kind of community you are looking for. this place definitely is not a place where you can get feedback unless you feed into the desires of the group here. namely minimal aesthetics and pretentious poetics. its reflected in the gear lusted over here. half finished objects that require the user to fill in the blank in order to be flexible. see the massive lack of vcv rack content on places like here or mw or gs or gear focused sites in general. its not about making music, its not about a method of making music, its about gear lust/aesthetic lust and it gets old when you cant actually partake in the game. this place likes to repeat the mantra that its so nice in here its so much better than mw but its all the same just more polite or civil. if you cant afford new gear all the time or document yourself in ultrahd synthfluencer style this place wont care about you for long.


I must say, I don’t agree with this at all. Indeed, I’d argue that the response to this thread is a great example of the exact opposite of what you’re saying - it’s about music, techniques, and philosophy, not gear except as it relates to technique. It has no photos except one I took on my Pixel 3a, indirectly linked, and not well-lit or well-shot.

I’m sorry this has been your experience, but it’s certainly not universal.


flagrantly false

i dont personally use vcv bc i prefer other weird max and supercollider standalone apps

but it’s been discussed plenty…several monome eurorack modules have been ported to vcv! and that characterisation totally ignores the development for orca’s heart…a brand new vcv module made by @scanner_darkly

many of us use free tools to compose/improvise and frequently discuss them

i recommend @andrew prosody m4l suite almost daily, or confetti by @Rodrigo, and countless other apps developed by members of this community

that assertion is pretty wild


Some people also like to produce content about the music making experience, not just music itself. Some only want to share music. I don’t think either is bad, let people do what they want to do.

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shrug My experience of getting positive feedback has actually been on things not to do with gear. I spend most of my time picking the brains of people much more well versed coding on Discord which very little GAS goes on, which to me is one the best aspects of this community (Bar the people and their openness and kindness). The only sort of post I’ve ever really got a decent thumbs up for (on the forum) , was when i made a few MaxMsp devices for OTO machines FX boxes and when i talked about me recovering from mental illness (predominantly) , both I’m thankful for , and both not really gear related i.e pics etc. Almost all my interactions with folks are less about gear overall and more about grokking the shit out of free software or Monomes/Whimsicals , own equipment and people who out of being kind teach and share what they are passionate about , which all i really need is my Fates (variant on Norns) , Terminal (DIY Teletype) , a skiff and my Mac. (Which again they open sourced which is beyond generous).

For making music myself , i realise that there is so much for me to learn for what i want to make and i am very much a perfectionist that i won’t release anything until im very confident that i can do something that i regard as good quality work (for myself). Otherwise i just keep learning , like i have the past 7+ about all the different aspects of sound design , recording and music technology. So in the interim i just mostly babble about my excitement of finding like minded folk and re learning how to code :smiley:


Do carpenters give each other shit for talking about saws? Do mechanics criticize each other for talking about wrenches? I think anyone who uses tools discusses them. Instruments are just tools.

I’d say I mostly have discussions on here that either revolve around ideas or how tools are used. I don’t see much gear fetishism but maybe I just don’t read those posts. I kind of doubt that since I read the Pre-Release Hype thread but even there folks seem to mostly talk about what the gear can do not just lust after it.

Idk how much the aesthetics stuff applies to me. I definitely don’t have a neat desk and I don’t like houseplants.

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I agree with your point but yeah mechanics and carpenters definitely make fun of people who focus too much on tools.

Sorry to detract from what you are saying.


That wasn’t rhetorical. I was genuinely asking. Good to know.

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i think this is belied by the strong diy community and “minimum viable set up” attitude here (which can overlap with the type of minimalism that is opulence in masquerade, but can also reward—in terms of likes and engagement which is an imperfect measure to begin with— a “this is what i have access to and I’m making the most of it” or “i made this weird thing myself and i love it” kind of thing).

i definitely understand a healthy suspicion around the patting-yourself-on-the-back that goes on here (one of my most liked posts is one of these…) and it’s totally justified to be wary of that, but i think it also serves to keep us grounded/in check with what we want this community to be and what is important to us, the members of this community. We, after all, create the community, it is guided by some in certain ways, but we can make affirmative choices to create topics, to engage in this type of meta discussion, to influence fellow community behavior and to influence moderation.

That being said if it gives you bad vibes, it gives you bad vibes, that’s fair enough. As many people have said (and this is where the “TLDR” kind of bites because… there’s plenty to be read on the subject) limiting what you’re looking at or which communities within the broader lines you participate in is a totally valid way to engage.


In my experience in general reddit, facebook, here, every other electronic music forum its all about gear and sharing ones own music is mostly sean as a negative or all funneled into one place that seams like its a spam folder but the release section here has seen promise even though i did criticize it for not being consistent which is a very hard thing to do and is always by nature going to be different from mod to mod but that being said i have had PM’s from other member and smaller groups review each others music and in general talking your music through with a smaller chosen group that the kindness goes both way is going to be the best way to get feedback and or talk about music as music is so open ended and humans have such specific tase its hard to let everyone in or oven make humans want to participate :slight_smile:

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Lol I see.

I think ham radio people are the funniest parallel, they put a lot of time and money into fantastic machines that let them talk to people all around the world and guess what they talk about?: Radios.

3d printing is the same way. I’m in a meet up i really enjoy and most of use just talk about printers we are building even though they have more than one. We could be designing and building together but instead we like to talk about the tools and design/make on our own. I only have one printer now so that I can try to focus on the fun parts.


Even if you send your music to a good friend you know likes the type of stuff you do often times it’s a gamble if they will both listen and give thoughtful feedback. I definitely think the desire for your music to be heard and a lack of in-depth constructive criticism is a real thing. I just think it’s much bigger than this forum.

Regarding discussing tools too much: my day job is as a web developer. If you think we focus too much energy on the “best” tools here check out Hacker News.


Whenever I post music here I’m just happy to see a little number beside the link. Tbh still have art school trauma from some pretty brutal critiques.


In the Releases forum, I think it would make sense to have a separate thread for singles and one for albums/EPs.

When Bandcamp Fridays hit and the recommendations thread pops up to the top, I at least briefly try almost everything posted. But I usually don’t even try to keep up with the giant release thread.

An albums thread would be easier to keep up with as well as a good place to go back and check at our leisure.

Admittedly, part of wanting this is also that I’m a lot more interested in albums than singles. Listening to full album is an experience that random shuffling can’t match, and it is a bigger commitment from the artist and just says more :slight_smile:

I always feel a little weird starting a thread for one of my album releases, because few of my posts there have started any conversation at all. But the megathread seems a bit like throwing it into the ocean.


with respect:

if everyone who was seeking comments on their music also commented on others posted music here, then we would have something.


me and one other in the ‘latest tracks’ thread thought of doing this at one point last year. and to be honest, it didn’t turn out to be as encouraging of discussion as hoped(i think because that particular megathread is very fast-moving anyways).

it’s not a complaint from me: i’m just on the fence about it - sometimes the fast-paced streaming of a megathread makes me feel uninspired or as if that’s another type of competition to keep up with.
the organization of a megathread to catch-all and offer it in a never-ending/fast-moving stream, makes it feel more and more dismissive over time…

perhaps one suggestion: if @moderators could allow for more time before they move posts(maybe give people up to week and notify them through DM that they should post more), this might help a bit.
the Norns release thread is a good example: i’m not sure any of us users have the liberty of starting out a first day with something succinct, then adding each day after that to the same initial post(i get the feeling our ‘release’ threads will get judged more quickly than that… i’ve seen some posted and moved to the latest-tracks thread in the same day)

also, just more food for thought: this could also be a cultural difference. some cultures are more about holding the act of creating in sacred silence(but still would love to hear others feedback), while others feel more natural about forming words about their process even if that process never originated in words to begin with(just saying, the text isn’t really what any of this is about, anyways).

again, no complaint from me… but since i go back-and-forth… figured i’d offer food-for-thought to @moderators.