Like many EM readers, I think a lot about the sounds I use and regularly review the instruments in my setup when I start a new project: Should I start with something familiar or look for something new and let it inspire me? Consequently, I was struck by the divergent viewpoints that appear in this month’s features.
In our cover story, Francis Prève explains how a particular instrument—or in some cases, a specific patch—can be one of the most important characteristics of a musical style. While the concept isn’t new to EM readers that something like the Roland TB-303 could define a genre, some of the synths in the article may surprise you. The main point is that, if you’re going to work in certain styles of dance music, you need to have a recognizable sound palette that you can regularly dip into.
Then I read this quote: “Mostly, I prefer not to use synth sounds that I’ve used before.” In our feature interview, Gary Numan explains how he takes an entirely different approach by starting with a clean slate when he begins a new project. For musicians who want to explore the boundaries of their creativity, this is the most challenging—and risky—way to work. But it makes sense for a musician of Numan’s caliber.
And if you haven’t been paying attention to Numan’s work since the early records, you owe it to yourself to become reacquainted with his recent music. After hearing the latest release, Savage (Songs from a Broken World), author Geary Yelton felt that it could be the singer’s best album yet. This month’s interview provides a rare look into Numan’s creative process, and I hope you’ll find it as inspiring as I do.
I hope you enjoy the other articles in the issue, as well. As always, please keep in touch and feel free to share your feedback.