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Thread started 11/15/20 3:20pm

funkbabyandthe
babysitters

"digital technology would ultimately overtake Prince"

"Digital technology would ultimate overtake Prince, though: he loved the Linn and made it swing, but he never really found a place in his music for the sequencer or sampler (the Fairlight features often on Sign, but Prince used the preset sounds already inside the machine rather than looping and collaging from other records). "

Why didnt he? Seems weird to go so suddenly from the linn and fairlight to the live band setup. Sometimes I wish he went back to playing everything live, but himself rather than the npg. Like he did pre 82.

Quote is from one of the better SOTT SDE reviews I've read (ie not just focusing on the backstory)

https://4columns.org/reyn...mon/prince

More from the writer Simon Reynolds on it here

http://blissout.blogspot....s.html?m=1

[Edited 11/15/20 15:36pm]
[Edited 11/15/20 22:14pm]
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Reply #1 posted 11/17/20 2:33am

Robbajobba

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I always reasoned that it was a contrary thing, with maybe a bit of self-preservation. That he was a master of studio tech in the early 80s, and could play the Linn like no one else - but by the mid/late 80s he realised he couldn't keep up with new tech to the same level (not while also touring / filming /rehearsing / recording...) - so in a way he 'retreated' into an area where no one could touch him - multi-instrumentalist and band leader. And also where his heart lay - 'real music by real musicians'.

Plus his approach to tech was inspired but also quite simple in a way - eg running the Linn through guitar pedals. It's not like he was ever digging into different types of synthesis or creating his own patches, to my knowledge - mostly presets.

[Edited 11/17/20 2:33am]

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Reply #2 posted 11/17/20 5:12am

funkbabyandthe
babysitters

that is true.

i think its cos he wasnt really a studio/production nerd type musician who would spend hours working on the best sound, or looking for new sounds. he was not hendrix or jimmy page. or lenny kravitz for that matter.

he just wanted to get songs down quickly. the song was the main purpose, so everything else was just a means to that end, more or less.

so presets made that easier than tinkering away.

plus working on your own sounds might need someone else which was obv not his preference.

i think working with 90s tech would have been even more tedious or time consuming for him so no wonder he never really got into it.

its a shame though, listening to him trying to take on hip hop production, or R&B, or dance music, etc, he often just tried to show he could do it too (when not going more retro with the band set up etc), rather than really trying to remake it in his own style. and there was still new gear he could have taken up, like trent reznor or whoever (not an expert in what he used but id be interested to find out).

in short, he just got much less experimental / adventurous with the music, and wanted to sound more polished/professional/'proper', legit etc.

[Edited 11/17/20 5:13am]

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Reply #3 posted 11/17/20 8:14am

Margot

Wasn't he more of an Analogue kind of guy?

I don't think Prince had the patience to deal with the torrent of new technology from 90's onward.

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Reply #4 posted 11/17/20 2:37pm

Robbajobba

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funkbabyandthebabysitters said:

that is true.

i think its cos he wasnt really a studio/production nerd type musician who would spend hours working on the best sound, or looking for new sounds. he was not hendrix or jimmy page. or lenny kravitz for that matter.

he just wanted to get songs down quickly. the song was the main purpose, so everything else was just a means to that end, more or less.

so presets made that easier than tinkering away.

plus working on your own sounds might need someone else which was obv not his preference.

i think working with 90s tech would have been even more tedious or time consuming for him so no wonder he never really got into it.

its a shame though, listening to him trying to take on hip hop production, or R&B, or dance music, etc, he often just tried to show he could do it too (when not going more retro with the band set up etc), rather than really trying to remake it in his own style. and there was still new gear he could have taken up, like trent reznor or whoever (not an expert in what he used but id be interested to find out).

in short, he just got much less experimental / adventurous with the music, and wanted to sound more polished/professional/'proper', legit etc.

[Edited 11/17/20 5:13am]

Yeah, totally. I guess there was a lot of 90s / early 00s dance music that was actually made in quite a punk/DIY way - wonder what Prince would have done if he'd decided to choose another bit of kit and really make it his own, the way he did the Linn. But yes, it sounded like he just wanted to sound current.

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Reply #5 posted 11/17/20 7:07pm

databank

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I would argue that the author jumped to conclusion a little quickly.

.

According to Matt Fink, Graffiti Bridge is filled with samples of classical music, distorted to a point that we cannot recognize them, and there are numerous other examples of Prince tweaking presets and samples after 1986. Some drum programmings he made circa 1989, for some Batman tracks and some other songs he gave away to other acts, was also kind of unique in terms of sound, and certainly showed a capacity to come-up with a modern electronic sound at the time. Batdance is also a prime example of Prince appropriating acid house, a then popular genre of electronic music.

.

Even more remarkable is the extensive use of samples mixed with a live band during the 1994-1996, which was quite groundbreaking at the time, and sadly overlooked. He wasn't the first one to do this per se (YMO could be cited as an early example, and beyond their classic years, their 1993 tour certainly made proper use of the new technology available at the time), but the way Prince did it at the time remained quite avant-garde and technically challenging (I can't imagine the headache it must have been for the band, particularly Morris and Tommy, and Michael also explained he had to carefully adjust his drum playing to the awkard syncopation of the various drum loops he had to play along with).

.

Now it is true that Prince seems to have completely missed out on the 90's electronic music revolution and that he later adopted this very debatable, somewhat reactionary "real music for real musicians" and anti-digital attitude, but I'd say he missed out as much, if not more, esthetically than technically. People keep saying Prince was outdated by hip-hop and new jack swing, and that may be true when it comes to mainstream and American audiences, but when it comes to Prince as a hipsters' favorite and a symbol of sophitication with (at least) European audiences, he was mostly outdated by European electronic music.

A COMPREHENSIVE PRINCE DISCOGRAPHY (work in progress ^^): https://sites.google.com/...iscog/home
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Reply #6 posted 11/17/20 7:11pm

SexyMuthaF

Let's put it this way I like edm but Prince creatively blew it away.
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