Friday, 4 November 2016

What Kind of Electronic Musician Are You?

I don't know why people expect art to make sense. They accept the fact that life doesn't make sense. - David Lynch

Today's blog will not be for everyone since it is to be my own ruminations on a couple of interviews I've done recently with Marc Doty, synth educator, demonstrator and archivist, and Tony Rolando, founder and main inspiration behind Make Noise, the synthesizer manufacturer. To be straight with you, I'm going to discuss below my own thoughts on something that everyone fundamentally has and needs: a context for setting their understanding of electronic music within. To be clear: we all have this and we all need this. If you had no context to set your understanding of electronic music within or no way to relate the electronic sounds you hear or make to one another, or to lots of others you've heard or made before, then all the music you make would be both equal and meaningless, equally meaningless. It is having this framework, what I'm here calling a philosophy, that enables you to decide good or bad, desirable or undesirable, music or noise (where these are seen as opposites - and they need not be). That's why I think you should keep reading if you make or listen to electronic music. Because this concerns you. But I understand if you want all this baggage left undisturbed and undiscussed. Many do. Thanks for reading this far and I hope you'll stop by to read another blog soon.

                               The Lyra 8 Organismic Synthesizer

For those of you still here I want to start by addressing a number of things that Marc Doty brought up in his interview with me recently. Although I've never met Marc personally, I like him quite a lot. A lot of the reason for that is that he has opinions on electronic music and electronic music making and he is prepared to explain them and, if necessary, defend them too. It probably helps that, instinctively, I want to disagree with Marc's views as well. Wise people realize that they learn as much, if not more, from those they disagree with as those who share similar views. When differing views can be discussed, or contrasted and compared, in a spirit of mutual respect this is even better. Marc is certainly a person who can do this and I value that greatly.

But on to matters more electronic. Marc starts his interview with me by stating that he is happy to see reissues of old classic synths because, in a number of cases, they don't have any memories or way to save patches. This forces the necessity of something that may or may not be quite rare on some synthesizers: synthesis! Marc states that he is happy if people are shepherded by these classic instruments into needing to learn something about synthesis. It can certainly be argued that as technology progressed and memories and presets got added to synths that synthesis was de-emphasized. Marc says that this happened to him too. It certainly did to me. Its all too easy to just take the sounds that are there and do nothing more than a perfunctory tweak. Some softsynths today even have several hundred sounds so why would you ever need to learn how to make your own? But on an MS-20 or an Arp Odyssey or, if you have the money, a Minimoog none of this exists. If you want a sound then you have to make it. And then you have to learn how to make others too. And how to get back to the first one if you forgot to take notes on how you made it. Synthesizers are for synthesis is what Marc seems to say. I couldn't agree more. This is one reason I have veered into interest in modular synthesis because there memories and saving things are much more difficult if not impossible. And that is very good.

Right from the start here I am revealing something about my own philosophy of electronic music and, at this point at least, it seems that Marc and myself are of one mind. But it becomes pretty clear as Marc gives his answers to my questions in his interview that we diverge quite soon afterwards. I asked Marc specifically about Eurorack synthesis in my interview with him because I had a sense from snippets of things he'd said before that it didn't seem to sit right with him. I was delighted when he went into detail in his replies to me about what the problems with it were from his perspective. One problem seems to be, in the wider Eurorack culture as whole at least, that Eurorack synths aren't played with a musical keyboard. Marc likes the keyboard in a way that many within Eurorack (and Buchla and Serge and other types of) doing synthesis seem not to. In this respect Marc Doty and Morton Subotnick, the earliest of adopters of the Buchla way of doing synthesis, are complete opposites. Marc describes how he has tailored his whole appreciation of doing synthesis to using the musical keyboard as his input device. Subotnick, should you ever ask him about using a black and white keyboard, will pull a face as if you've just asked him to eat food that disgusts him. He sees it as a way to make what he calls "old music", music he doesn't want to make. For future reference, I'm with Morton here. 

And I'm not the only one. Alessandro Cortini explains in an interview with Nick Batt of Sonicstate from 2015 that one reason he plays Buchla gear is that this paradigm is not based on ability to play a musical keyboard. He says he is "not a player". And this is relevant because, since roughly the 1980s, new electronic music technology has meant that the traditional music making skill required before then to make music, playing ability, was needed less and less. Computers have meant that you can literally build patterns, melodies and harmonies step by step as opposed to in real time based on ability to play. You no longer need to play to make electronic music because you can program instead. Cortini even goes so far as to say in the same interview with Nick Batt that he doesn't need to know what is in front of him in a Buchla system. "I just need to stand in front of it and weird stuff usually comes out" is his comment on the process. Most would say, listening to his work, that it is profoundly musical but also significantly melodic. These qualities carry over in his music if the instrument is a VCS3 or an MC-202 or a Make Noise Shared System as well.

       A Buchla 200e system with one of Don Buchla's touchplate keyboards

The notable thing about all this is that Cortini did not need a musical keyboard or playing chops to achieve this. Instead he just needed an instrument through which musical instincts could be suitably expressed. What's more, it seems to me that it is simply a fact that since the 1980s, and certainly since the rise of the computer, most people making electronic music aren't players of a musical keyboard in a traditional sense at all either. Many may not know a thing about musical theory or chord shapes, for example. Even in the 1980s there was already the trope of the synth player playing a one finger synth line on a synth with a traditional keyboard to the ridicule of his cultural contemporaries. But the fact is that technology changed who could even make music electronically. It was also in the 1980s that the TB-303 was invented, an instrument that had a representation of the keyboard on its faceplate but that wasn't there to be played. It was there so you could program pitches. This instrument by itself invented a whole genre of new music in acid house. So electronic music technology became a democratizing leveling of the playing field that took away the need to learn how to play a keyboard, often a difficult and time consuming process, to make electronic music. Making specifically electronic music became an easier thing to do and more about mashing buttons than learning a centuries old playing technique. Incidentally, to me this also makes the regular arguments about minikeys on instruments rather moot too since I imagine the vast majority of synth buyers today can barely play a note either. Because, today, you need that ability even less.

It will be clear to all reading this with an interest in the subject that if you want to play with synthesizers then there are a number of ways you can go about your interest. One basic choice you will have to make, and Marc saw this just as clearly as I did when posing him a rather playful question about it, is if you will have a keyboard attached to your synth or not. I think both Marc and I realize that this will fundamentally affect the type of music you can or will want to make. So its not a trivial decision. Morton Subotnick, Alessandro Cortini and Tony Rolando, too, all realise that adding a keyboard, or leaving it off, makes a difference in where you can, or will want, to go musically. So no one should regard this as a rather pointless question. It isn't at all. A Buchla synth or a Make Noise system are things ideologically conceived to make certain things possible and certain things not possible or, at the very least, much more difficult. It was the same with Moog's modular as Marc Doty could talk about at great length I'm sure. I respect Marc for pointing out that Bob Moog's original keyboard controller for the Moog Modular allowed significantly more leeway for user calibration of its possibilities than many keyboards since. But I end up falling in line with Morton Subotnick who conceives that the musical keyboard simply has too much traditional baggage to be used to find new kinds of music. To just sit in front of such a keyboard, even attached to the most modern of synths, is to hear a thousand music teachers telling you how it SHOULD be played.

And so it comes down to a keyboard paradigm or a machine paradigm, a playing paradigm or a sequencing paradigm. Buchla was the second and Moog was the first (in general terms. All of computer and much modular music is the second too.) This was even more so in terms of how these paradigms have been taken up by their users and adherents. Its in this sense, I think, that Marc Doty regards Eurorack as a Buchla-influenced "machine music". With Eurorack most users use the machine to organise the music. They are programmers or conductors (not negative terms as I use them) rather than players. If you have a keyboard synth, a synth that is a descendant of Moog's fateful decision to add a keyboard to his first modular, then the suggestion at the very least is that you are supposed to play it. The keyboard sits there and begs you to play notes and chords. This then becomes a fateful moment of decision too because keys on a keyboard are primarily on/off switches for pitch information. Keyboards play pitched music. And pitched music, contrary to the unprobed assumptions of some people, is not the same as music as a whole. For we also have unpitched music. We also have sound collage. We also have noise. And pitched keyboards aren't very good for that for they were designed exactly to be able to make pitched music that was the intention of musicians. "Intention" is another problem with musical keyboards too because we can imagine a music that is not intentional. We can imagine randomness. We can imagine soundscape. We can imagine chaos. 

Now some imagine only harmony but others can imagine disharmony, what John Cage called "the co-existence of dissimilars". Cage, in his book Silence, referred to this disharmony as "simply a harmony to which many are unaccustomed". This suggests the thought that notions of musical correctness or incorrectness, of validity or invalidity, of harmony or disharmony, are not much more than ingrained habits. And habits can be changed. Or educated. Or got rid of. I imagine that this is what Tony Rolando of Make Noise means when he quotes the ethos of his company as making instruments that cause their users "to change our trajectories and thereby impact the way we understand and imagine sound". Indeed, Rolando said explicitly in his answers to my questions that, for him, "music is noise, noise is music". And I take this very much on board in my own philosophy. We have a choice, it seems to me. We can look back to our forebears and regard them, technological or theoretical, as our limitations or we can see them as nothing more than a history of what has been done so far, something to which we hope to add but without necessarily repeating. Tony Rolando nails this by saying "Art does not have to be organized by the parameters set by those people from our past. We should look to those people for our inspiration, not restriction". The suggestion, then, is that Rolando looks forward with a knowledge of what's behind rather than looking behind and hoping to make more of it in the future. The enemy here is always conforming to some past sacred notion and the ideal is a "wild west" of ideas and electronic musical practice.

A Roland System 8. Would the music made with this sound like that from a Buchla 200e?

But back to Marc Doty and his thoughts about Eurorack for I found this to be the heart of the musical differences, inclinations and instincts between us. Eurorack is, perhaps, a contentious thing within the synthesizer community as a whole because it can easily be caricatured as the latest cool, hipster craze. As is the nature of these things in a social context, it seems to some like the next big thing people feel pressured to get involved in if they want to be seen to be in with the right people or part of the right group. I don't see it like this. I just see it as a very interesting set of electronic tools for creating and manipulating sounds. Marc agrees with me here I'm sure but thereafter we go our different ways. This is because Marc sees Eurorack as basically being under the Buchla paradigm, machine music as opposed to played/performed sound. In my interview with Tony Rolando of Make Noise he put forward the view that as far as he was concerned the format was agnostic mainly, or so I got the impression, because it was just a format and within it you could have modules or synthesis methods snatched from any form of synthesis you could imagine. And you absolutely could strap a keyboard to this if you wanted to as well (although I doubt Tony encourages it!).

Now the Buchla paradigm that Marc sees as influencing the culture and practice of Eurorack is notable because both Don Buchla, its inventor and also a musician himself (unlike Bob Moog), and its first users, Morton Subotnick and Ramon Sender of the San Francisco Tape Music Center, certainly wanted to make what they saw as a new kind of music. And they all thought that to make new music you needed a new process to do it. They thought that if you used old tools you'd always be tempted to fall back into old ways and make what Subotnick calls to this day "new old music". So this explains their dislike of the musical keyboard as opposed to Marc Doty's dogged arguments in favour of using the keyboard in as many ways as are imaginable. This is relevant to us here now because with the modular synths we have today, seemingly dominated by the popularity of Eurorack (which may turn out to be Don Buchla's lasting legacy within synthesis as opposed to his own format machines which are much more expensive and very rare), we have completely different forms of music being made than are being made with fixed architecture synths of all kinds. These synths, of course, have keyboards attached. Or maybe they are hooked up to computers and used as sound modules. Or maybe a desktop version of such a synth is used in which case it can be attached to a sequencer or, perhaps more likely, a computer for playing purposes. From many angles, "traditional" electronic music is under attack. 

These attacks to the traditional player's paradigm, the one Moog used urged on by Herb Deutsch, have changed how electronic music sounds. The baton is passing, with desktop synths, synths connected to computers and modular synths of all kinds that use formats not reliant on musical keyboards as input devices, from people who are trained musicians, like Marc Doty, to untrained nerds like Alessandro Cortini and everyone who dreams of being like him. With phenomena like the Eurorack movement in synthesis what we see is the rise of the person who likes to tinker with things and see what they can come up with. The emphasis is on experiment and possibility rather than the use of musical training. Of course, in the experiment and possibility you will inevitably pick up some self-taught knowledge of your own. But it won't be official or kosher or canonical. On this new technological paradigm, which has enabled new individuals completely outside of the guild of what were formerly thought of as musicians to take part, a new musical culture has been created and new ways of doing old things (i.e. making electronic music) have been invented. This has sometimes caused conflicts as when, in early Eighties Great Britain, the actual Musician's Union tried to ban acts like Depeche Mode or The Human League or Gary Numan because it was perceived their ways of making music took away opportunities from what were then perceived to be "real musicians", i.e. ones who could play instruments. It shows how far we have come with technology and with technological ways of making music that this argument wouldn't even be imagined today. Electronic methods won as Jean-Michel Jarre rightly said recently.

Various Eurorack modules made by Make Noise. The synthesis power of such modules as against other fixed types of synthesis and synthesizers is unarguable.

But where does this leave my argument with Marc Doty? I think that it perhaps leaves Marc on the wrong side of history. But that is okay for I don't mean to suggest that there is anything wrong with playing or using a keyboard. Neither do I conceive of it dying out. In fact, its not even the case that I don't value music made with them because, of course, I do. Like anyone else reading this, most of the electronic music I will have ever heard was made using one. So how could I not like them? I see it a bit like John Cage sees dissonance in his book Silence. There he says that "dissonances and noises" are welcome in experimental music "but so is the dominant 7th chord if it happens to put in an appearance". So why do I see Marc on the wrong side of history? I think its because I'd like to think that the keyboard has had its day and that we need to find new ways, complimentary ways perhaps, to make electronic music. I think that Don Buchla invented one and that Eurorack manufacturers are inventing them too. I think that technology and innovation has unwittingly accelerated this process. And, yes, even Bob Moog helped this along as well. I think Marc is on the wrong side of history because he is seeking to carry on an old tradition rather than trying to invent or take part in new ones. Now there is nothing wrong with him doing that and I like much of the music that he has made. Some of his theme tunes for his demonstration videos are insanely good and I hum them repeatedly. But we've done that now. Let's do something else.

But there is a further component to this and its a matter of musical philosophy. Indeed, it comes to the very heart of making music at all. It starts off with the point that electronic music making paradigms are implicit instantiations of how we see the world. They are generalized ways of seeing things with everything that implies. For example, I regard so-called machine music that cannot be repeated, perhaps because it contains machine randomizations that are not recallable or desired as repeatable phenomena, as in tune with the flux of our reality. I see, perhaps like Kraftwerk with their talk of The Man Machine or like Daft Punk with their ruminations on the same issue through their Human After All album and the associated film, Daft Punk's Electroma, that "machine music" may be made by machines but, actually, its not lacking in humanity or reality at all. Indeed, it can even be perceived as thoroughly natural and in tune with the wider reality that we are a part of. For in a random, self-generating patch constructed on some modular synth that requires no creator, no God plinky-plonking out their intentions on a keyboard, do we not have a perfect model, a creative, artistic picture, of the constantly fluctuating reality that we inhabit?

This is perhaps a deeper thought than many contemplate as they switch on their synth, of whatever kind, and begin affecting its outcomes. And yet, for me, it is the machine music that is human and authentic and not the music coming from the player paradigm, music that is a repeatable freezing in time of a canonized linear collection of note values. I ask myself what could be more foreign to an experience of life than that? For real life is forever in flux, always moving, a river that never stops. Its not something to be frozen, notated and repeated. And that's what the old music was and its what old music made with synthesizers still is as I see it. To my mind, if electronic music is to be anything significant then it must throw off this old and once useful idea and become something else, a technological expression of an ever more technological race. The player paradigm, if you think about it, is actually just very artificial and machine music, in its ability to reflect and mimic a truer picture of reality, is more authentic. Silver Apples of The Moon trumps Switched on Bach.

This, anyhow, is how I explain my current preferences. But there is one more thing influencing my thinking that leads me to machine music and away from the player paradigm. And that's what John Cage has to say about intentionality in music. In Silence he critiques those who regard music as "sounds intentionally made". This notion, I believe, is crucial to the player paradigm of electronic music as I've discussed it in this blog. But it is anathema to Cage's understanding of any kind of music at all. Not only is this a deeply conservative and limiting idea of what music can be but it is, as a matter of fact, not even correct. Music can be sound unintentionally made or even sounds without intention. This is part of the reason why Cage's 4'33" exists. Now Cage is very aware that it will take some kind of psychological turn, a flicking of the switch, to see this so it seems implicit in his thought that not everyone will. But that turn, once taken, opens up a whole new understanding of music and its one that electronic music makers, as the musicians of both possibility and of the future, should be benefiting from the most. For Cage this turn leads to nature and to seeing that, in the giving up of the cherished notion of music as intention, a notion still very dominant even amongst electronic music makers today, that nothing has in fact been lost. For Cage, "sounds may occur in any combination and in any continuity". Cage sees music as not much more than, in some sense, organized sounds and silence. And that organization may be little more than preparing the conditions for some music's appearance. He thinks that taking music forwards involves finding ways and means by which musicians can "remove themselves from the activities of the sounds they make". That doesn't have to be modular synthesis but it certainly sounds a lot like it as practiced by people on Buchlas, Serges or many kinds of Eurorack system.

I began this blog, which I'm aware has gone on longer than usual, with the title "What kind of electronic musician are you?" When you began reading it may not have occurred to you that there were differing kinds of electronic musician but I hope that now, at least, you can see that all electronic musicians have choices to make, directions to look in and ideals to live up to for we all stand in relation to everyone else making electronic music and this very fact is how we define who we are and what we think we are doing. So I want to say at this point that each one in turn chooses what they are and its nobody's business but their own what they choose. However, the choices we make will reveal what we see electronic music as being about, where we root ourselves within its on-going culture and for what we are aiming. This is inevitable if we make any sounds and much more so if we share them with others. No choice we might make is wrong but each will reveal what we value.

If we imagine a Moog/Buchla divide, as I did when interviewing Marc Doty, then I am on the Buchla side. I want to make new music, music not involving keyboard skills or knowledge. I agree with Subotnick that to get a keyboard involved is to be inevitably tempted back into old ways. Its because I want to explore new ways that I make this choice and not because I think all keyboard music is rubbish. I don't and it isn't. This is to separate what I like to hear as a listener from what I want to make as a creator. Tony Rolando expressed this perfectly when he said that he can appreciate The Beatles but that doesn't mean he wants to make Beatles music. In a similar way I like lots of kinds of music but that doesn't mean I want to make them. I am different from all those people who want to sound like..... and then they append the name of their favourite group or music idol. I want to sound like a group of one, the people who are me. 

The Minimoog, a synthesizer known primarily for the sound it can make. 

John Cage wasn't big on the idea of music as expression or communication. He didn't think that sounds had a message. Far from it, he thought that we should just let sounds be what they are. Marc Doty, in his interview, when answering a question about making the most of our tools, made the distinction between music as personal endeavour and music made for the enjoyment of others. He seemed to suggest that the more you made the first the less likely it would also be in the second category. The problem is when making electronic music, which has the capacity to be as weird as it gets as forms of human musical creation go, I don't control anybody but myself. (Often I don't control that either but I digress.) I can form and shape myself as a person. I can educate myself about the music I am making and why. If I make harsh noise or abstract bleeps I can rationalize that in my mind or assign it a place in my understanding intellectually and emotionally. But I can't do that for anyone else. Everyone else hears what I do through the filter of their own context and understandings. For me it is part explanation of my understanding of who I am and being alive as a being in the world and also the soundtrack to that process. But its not that for anyone else. Its just more music in a world overflowing with the stuff. 

People complain a lot about electronic music. Its either too bland, too traditional or too mainstream or too abstract, too bleepy or too random. Really this is all just about how we as people understand what we have heard. When I hear bleeps and blips I often find this very amenable. Why? Because as I process this within my web of understanding I can make sense of it and assign it a musical place within my life. Many others may not be able to do that. They just hear meaningless noises. But when I hear the same "meaningless noises" they take on meaning. Music does not come with values attached. WE ATTACH THE VALUE. So electronic music like any music does not come to us with its meaning and importance inherent within it. We give it those things as we are able. And its exactly those values I've been trying to show up in this blog today. Even if it was only to make you aware that you had some. Because you do. As I said right at the start, thats how you decide if some piece of electronic music is worthwhile, good, desirable, nice, exciting or anything else at all. But its also how you decide what kind of music you want to make as a creator of electronic music.

The Arp 2600 which is a better synth than the Minimoog because its semi-modular and thus has much more variety and possibility inherent within it.

In the end, equipment doesn't matter. Its not about which synth you have, how big your setup up is, what it cost, or anything like that. Its about what it sounds like and what the end product is. Music is sound. Music is noise. Music is not stuff or pictures of your gear. Of course, what you use will determine your possibilities. This is why I favour electronic music options influenced by the machine music paradigm because I value what I think it can give me as a creator and I think it can give me more than other options. But I'm quite prepared to acknowledge that there are many "players" who make music I like too. Its just, as with Tony Rolando, that doesn't mean I want to repeat them. What I want to do is make electronic music that doesn't make sense. Because life doesn't make sense. Life is absurd (which is why my blog is Absurdwurld). And so art that aims to be true to life should be absurd too.

I totally get David Lynch's frustration.


  1. "Interesting article and some fascinating arguments. Not sure that I agree with the statement "to untrained nerds like Alessandro Cortini " although I see the point being made. Alessandro is not untrained as a musician, it is just his instrument of musical training is the guitar; so his 'untrained approach' is simply as an untrained keyboard player. As for being a nerd, I suspect Alessandro would agree with that point to the extent of his slightly unhealthy/obsessive passion for all things electronic that make unusual and interesting noises. [Simon]."

    1. Thanks for reading Simon. I was aware that Alessandro Cortini was a guitarist first. I was referring implicitly to the interview with Sonicstate I mentioned when discussing him here and that was in the context of him as a keyboard player and synthesist. I hope this comment makes that clearer. If you watch the three part interview with him on the Sonicstate You Tube channel from 2015 I think what he says agrees with what I say about him here.

  2. good the same theory is come to art word,,,,

  3. From the documentary "Glass: A Portrait of Philip in 12 parts"

    "I never was a captive of other people's ideas about me. Whatever they thought, that didn't bother to me, I did what I wanted to, and um - I didn't care. I've been like that my whole life, and - it saved me a lot of trouble. Even when it came to writing music I didn't care what people thought. You know, there's a lot of music in the world, you don't have to listen to mine. There's Mozart, there's the Beatles, listen to something else! You don't have to listen to this. You have my blessings, go on, listen to something else, I don't care."

    1. Good quote Andy. Thanks for reading.

  4. I've tried to comment here in good faith four times and you keep deleting my comments? Why

    1. Sorry Frank but as far as I'm aware I haven't ever deleted any comments. This is the first time I've seen a comment from you.

  5. Korg's recent release of the monologue as a microtonal instrument with a traditional keyboard sort of highlights some of what you are saying here. I am a keyboard player but I have experience with a multitude of different interfaces. I find there is truth to what you are saying even though my mind rails against it. Music I create feels completely different when using say ciat lonbarde stuff Vs a keyboard. I have always been intrigued by the merging of these 2 worlds such as John Cage's treated pianos, the microtonal pitch wheel riding on Omar Souleyman records, keyboard assigned drum kits, or any number of synthesizer bands using a keyboard to make a splat sound. The depth of the keyboard interface is profound and I doubt it will phase out of the musical landscape for the next few decades. But creating a highly personalized method of expression is indeed a strong ideal and there is room to create a new standard for the wider musical audience as well.

    1. Thanks for reading and your comment.

  6. I think that there is a way that the two modes (traditional and abstract) of electronic music styles can compliment each other within the same musical performance or genre. But it would mean having the band or artist do the "jam band" way of doing things, much the way bands like the Grateful Dead and Tangerine Dream used to do back in the day. The Dead would play a regular set list of traditional sounding songs, and then sometime after the halfway point of the show, one song would segue into their "drums & space" part of the show, which could go on for a good 10 to 20 minutes, then it would sehue back into another traditional sounding song. 1970's Tangerine Dream, on the other hand, tended to have their instrumental musical ideas evolve from album to album, ie; you would always hear variations of ideas expressed in the previous album being played in the following album, all with some abstractions thrown into the mix, with stuff played in the traditional western scale and metre.

    1. I think the wonder of a specifically electronic music is that there are no rules regarding its sound because your limitations are what can be done with voltage and electrical components.

  7. I'm with Matt Galletly. I think the method of music composition is, generally, fundamentally different when it comes to electronica, and that method ultimately makes a huge difference in the final product. All has to do with the way creativity happens with electronica versus a traditional musician/band. Though, to answer the title's question (because I was asked!), I am an amateur Indietronica musician who uses LMMS (and sometimes FL Studio) and shares on Krondi (see Although... did I really answer the question? ;)