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Continuing on the subject of whether one can truly abuse digital equipment, John Parker, who makes art or experimental electro and has a very painterly approach to sound, had this comment:
A programmer for a digital instrument has to make a series of solutions to particular tasks. No matter how comprehensive the tasks, there will always be phenomena that the digital instrument makes that comes from leftfield, that was unintended, that is a 'crash'. What else could be expected from something that is made by an imperfect human being.

Commercial stuff is enticing for abuse because it is easy to screw with the manufacturer's original intention, [which was] to make an instrument that will appeal to a commercial market. All the interesting stuff can be found in their failings. Softsynths are a fertile resource for new digital sounds. Their many failures in trying to sound real leave behind interesting residue. Also, in a program like Reaktor, all you have to do is change parameters to unrealistic amounts or just randomly re-arrange wires to get some interesting stuff especially if it was intended to sound like a Juno 106 (that's why I like Reaktor better than MAX-MSP). Sure the sound is already there, but without a particular mindset, one would not find it.
Drx also had a follow up comment on the failure issue:
I like your comment on failing computers. During the first shows of Bodenstandig 2000 our computers constantly crashed. The audience *always* thought this is part of the show, while we were sweating on stage to bring them back up running. For a big internet project i once did, which is changing everything you see on the web -- up to the point that the medium becomes unusable -- an estimated 99% of all users that were tested without knowing it thought that this is just the normal web.
After that i came to think that errors and crashes are just in the minds of the users and in fact in most cases you cannot distinguish a faulty and a working system. Microsoft also applies this insight in Windows XP for notifying users that a program crashed. While in earlier version you could see some honest blue screen and crazy register contents, now appears a tranquilizing dialog box saying smth like: "Powerpoint is currently in a buddhist temple. Ah, it is coming out again, see, there it is." And back comes your program, simply restarted automatically. All this on the background of a picture of grass land and clouds. k3Wl!

- tom moody 3-08-2005 7:51 pm [link]