Gadi Sassoon: Advanced Sound Synthesis and Professional Studio Practice: A Working Composer’s Perspective on Usability and Parameter Mapping

When: Wednesday 3rd Febuary, 2016 @ 5:30 PM

Where: Atrium, Alison House (Reid School of Music), University of Edinburgh

Seminar Title

Advanced Sound Synthesis and Professional Studio Practice: A Working Composer’s Perspective on Usability and Parameter Mapping. 

Seminar Speaker(s)

Gadi Sassoon (Ninja Tune)

Seminar Abstract

Contemporary composers and sound artists enjoy unprecedented choice in tools. In the last 15 years fast CPUs and a fertile consumer market have made advanced DSP processes widely available out of the box and in real-time on generic hardware. Intuitive UIs make once esoteric operations commonplace. Specialised hardware still offers powerful synth engines and interesting tactile surfaces. Apps for smartphones and tablets provide fully capable engines for a few pounds. Countless bottom-up projects keep launching new instruments and interfaces. The burgeoning Eurorack modular scene is bringing fresh, weird and wonderful synthesis ideas to life.

But what what makes a good instrument, particularly a synthesis based one? Is it accessibility or power? Flexibility or immediacy? Are these aspects necessarily at odds? What matters most to the musicians that spend their lives mastering these tools? And are there gaps that still need to be filled? The propositions of this seminar will focus on the key mediating ingredients of any synthesis based tool: interface and parameter mapping. It will aim to provide some perspective on the balance between usability and depth of operation from the point of view of the end user.

An overview of advanced tools will be presented, with specifics from the speaker’s own practice, together with a discussion of their pros and cons in the context of a professional composer’s routine. The aim will be to present what’s lost and what’s gained in different design approaches to synthesis based instruments, and suggest considerations that programmers, engineers and designers can make to empower professional users.

Speaker Bio

Gadi Sassoon is a composer working for Just Isn’t Music, Ninja Tune’s publishing arm, specialised in electronic music and orchestral writing. He holds a BA in Music Synthesis and Composition from the Berklee College of Music and an MA in Sonic Arts from Middlesex University. Sassoon has published several solo records as Memory9, and regularly collaborates with high profile recording acts in the UK and the US. His work has been heard on games, TV shows, adverts and trailers worldwide. He has realised sound installations for museums and galleries in Italy, the US, the UK, Germany, Spain and China, and has lectured at Berklee, Milan’s European Design Institute and the Shanghai Normal University.