(the plan of my life!)

by Matthias Grob Da Veiga, April 1988
with great help of Gui Couillard, Montreal

Considering the economical and ecological situation of the world, and on the other hand the big chance to become one world through information and traffic, we think that we need to put all our energies into cooperation, understanding, freedom and spiritual development, thus changing the economical habits that work against us, even against the rich.

Music is probably the only international language and certainly the most direct form of communication, either soul-to-soul or collective unconscious-to-individual unconscious. We need an easy to speak, easy to understand but precise musical language, flexible enough to transmit all kinds of feelings. Rock has undoubtedly become the most international, straightforward language. Enriched by other styles, it can serve for a wide spectrum of musical expression, calming down or energising other centers of the body, The highly intelligent and widely distributed electric instruments are built for rational planned music of our cool and quick time. They can however be easily adapted, allowing for the creation of new ways to create music with extremely different effects on the listeners.

The access of the musician to the sound of his instrument should be as direct as possible, the inspiration flowing easily between inspiration, musician and listener. The flexibility does not help, if the musician cannot use it quickly or intuitively. One way to achieve this aim is through precise amplification of the string, wind or percussion instruments, allowing the reproduction of subtle playing techniques. Another way is through the use of pedals, mouth pieces, velocity sensitive keys, etc..

The sound should be as natural as possible, which does not mean acoustically amplified like through a guitar body or brass horn. It should rather be a simple oscillating sound source, directly controlled by the musician and perfectly amplified.

We should learn to flow again: in our imaginations, in our lives, following our intuitions and destiny. The programming of sounds and sequences is abrupt and difficult to combine with this principle. Programmers should have open, instantaneously controlled parameters.

Repetition was always the fundament of music. The mantras and the African dances are just the clearest examples of the mind-opening effect that repetition has. The delay, used as an analog sequencer, can liberate the musician from the hard repetitive work and give him the opportunity to feel immediately the effect of his creation, waiting for inspiration. There is no fear or missing or losing some music, so the musician is relaxed and this is giving the music its beauty.

We need to feel the tremendous space of which we are part, to become humble modest and confident, not overestimating our daily sorrows. On the other hand, it can be interesting to enter strange small places with imagination. The terrific electronic reverberations thus should be used in a strong a flexible way, making part of the musicians creation, and not just as an effect, to be added afterward.

A new instrument should be light and compact and easy to connect anywhere. A small number of musicians became able to produce a clear and beautiful speaking sound with small equipment. Drumsets and guitar amps would not combine.

PS (2006)

With the development of the Gibson Echoplex, an important step to this ideal was done. The PARADIS FireWireGuitar is the next step, alowing it all to happen in a notebook computer (laptop). Mathons Chopitch makes a small instrument sound big. Pickups for percussion instruments are in work... we may get there in another 20 years!

PS (2021)

Things did not work so well since:

Yes, Livelooping was an important step but a main motivation for the Paradis LOOP delay aparently was not easy enough for the musicians or was not communicated enough: BrotherSync did not prevent most loopers from going into isolation. to become able to allone is nice but fundamental of making music is the real time communication between musicians which is problematic if not all musicians have access to syncronized liveloops. the experiments with AntiLoop has shown to me and very few others, that freedom may be more important than repetition to make the cozmic music flow in real time through a group of musicians.

Evoloop, the follow up to the Echoplex costed us years but did not come to life and would not contain a better solution for syncronization, we do not have a digital BrotherSync yet.

Processing each string electronically is fundamental to achieve the intuitive and flexible expression demanded in the original concept and was already available some years before this text was written but did not flurish and although Roland did not give up to promote it, did not reach the majority ot the musicians. To build complex electronics like the conversion to digital sound into musical instruments that live much longer than the quickly developping electronics was not a good idea and costed us much energy. although processing in laptops has become much more economic than the original hard ware effects in general and even more for single string processing, it did not convince most musicians for live use, analog processing (with digital control) appear to be necessary and is too complex for our tiny team.

My most trusty partner, builder of the Paradis guitars and co-designer of electronics Rolf Spuler died in 2014 and left me a big load of responsibility to maintain the instruments and inventions. Although the Avalon and LOOP delay found respect enough to be shown in a museum, they did not cause the music industry to include our efforts in their products yet.
But Lirio came to life, a Brasilian spin-off with some very interesting additions to Rolfs work:

as a result I made the Polybass available for any guitar, but its about the only single string effect that makes sense to be built into the instrument because it works well on only 3 strings and needs no controls.

I wrote about Electrorganic instruments in Dec 2007 but we only built e few prototypes to prove that piezo pickups are capable to bring amazing soft vibration with great clarity to loudspeakers and tremendously expand the range of existing instruments. changes the guitar went though the past 100 years and the ones proposed here could be aplied to most established instrument and many more so far too not loud enough - with different problems and expectations. for example a piano has too many strings to process each one separately. wind instruments can never be as silent as an electric guitar...