Herman Hesse’s Siddhartha, Interpreted For Modular Synthesizer By William Corgan

Here’s the video stream for the 8-hour marathon version of Herman Hesse’s Siddhartha, interpreted for modular synthesizer by William Corgan (of The Smashing Pumpkins). 

It’s from a live improvised performance at at Madame ZuZu’s Teahouse (Chicago). Corgan describes the event as ‘an ambient/musical interpretation of Hermann Hesse’s Siddhartha; built by modular synthesis, on the fly.’

52 thoughts on “Herman Hesse’s Siddhartha, Interpreted For Modular Synthesizer By William Corgan

  1. Looking at how the previous post about this was filled with negative comments of jealous people I wonder how it will turn out this time.

    To Billy I say : Keep doing what you love!

    1. why would anyone be jealous? I can put on an audiobook and noodle around on synths for 8 hours too….nothing wrong with doing that if you like but that’s not exactly making anyone jealous…

          1. No, I was just directly referencing what lol repeated over and over in the other thread about this. Go read it, its quite entertaining, here’s some of the funniest stuff lol said :

            – “even washed up alt rock radio rockers are trying to hitch a ride on the analog synth wave! ”
            – “whatever, you’re probably his publicist or some shit anyways.”
            – “i know a marketing campaign and a “brand refresh” when i see it bro”.
            – “wow so a rich guy bought a synth. yay.”
            – “Dude, please, modular synths are stupid. Look at that wall of crap and what sound does he get out of it? a couple barely music bleeps and bloops. ”
            – “there’s nothing in that [modular synth] video you can’t twiddle up in Thor”
            – “he should have hired a better image consultant to rebrand him for the “indie market” because no one but baby boomers and maybe aging gen-x-ers going to give a shit about this.”

            Yet I am the one being called a 5 year old.. ooh synthtopia commenters you never fail to surprise me.

            There really no other way to see it, lol, and some of you really are jealous that Synthtopia is covering this act.

            1. against my better judgement i will reply.

              1. you have trouble understanding what directly referencing means. (as in: you didnt reference jack)

              2. i have read and participated and the thread was generally amusing as far as they go. some of it may be malicious but who cares. this is internet.

              3. you are taking these comments much to serious. to even take the time and go as far as digging up direct quotes (none of which support your “jelousy” argument) is somewhat pathetic. (no offense meant)

              i also find it incredibly amusing that only this bit of discussion and the posts made by lol jumped/slipped for some 10 points on the like/dislike ratio.
              that i find really pathetic and that is absolutely an action of a 5 yr old.

              btw i am not defending lol and his trollish comments but calling someone jelous (for not being the center of attention no less) i have literery heard last time on the playground. hence the comment.

              1. “against my better judgement i will reply.”

                What “judgement” are you talking about considering you first commented just to insult me.

                “you have trouble understanding what directly referencing means. (as in: you didnt reference jack)”

                Since when is writing a quote said by someone not a direct reference to what that person said?

                “you are taking these comments much to serious. to even take the time and go as far as digging up direct quotes”

                Well you are insulting me and calling me a 5 years old, and you expect me to not defend myself? What if I were to insult you like you just did, would you simply shut up about it? Probably not, as you did replied, twice.

                “the posts made by lol jumped/slipped for some 10 points on the like/dislike ratio.”

                Just like what happened to my comments just before that, isn’t that weird? And why are you implying I am responsible for this?

                First you insult me, and secondly you accuse me of playing the system? I find that attack particularly pathetic, but no offense meant, I’m talking about the attack you did, not about you, but you must understand that you said exactly the same thing to me…. 😛

                1. for gods sake you are serious arent you?

                  you said you WERE “directly” referencing the guy but THEN procedeed to quote him. how does that work? surely you see the timeline problem here?

                  and by taking it too seriously i meant going through an old thread and quoting every post that offended you to make a non argument. what sort of person does that?

                  and btw if you were really THAT insulted by me asking you if you were 5 years old i do apologize to you and anyone that the comment may offend.

                  1. “you said you WERE “directly” referencing the guy but THEN procedeed to quote him. how does that work? surely you see the timeline problem here?”

                    Its pretty simple : making a reference about something does not always need to be preceded by examples or quotes, its just making a reference to what happened, its not about the timeline.

                    “what sort of person does that? ”

                    The soft of person who gets called a 5 year old for no reasons?

                    “and btw if you were really THAT insulted by me asking you if you were 5 years old i do apologize to you and anyone that the comment may offend.”

                    Apology accepted. I understand internet comments can easily be misinterpreted, but you can’t expect to start a decent conversation by insulting some guy you have never spoken to before.

            2. dude, i don’t mind that synthtopia covered it and I’m glad they did, and since you love to go through archived comments then you saw i was the first to post the video feed of it when it actually went live…

              the whole point of my posts in that other thread was that it seems odd that a guy who never used a synth on a record in the first 20 or so years of his career (when synths were “out”) suddenly announces some lifelong hardcore analog synth lover right at the time analog synths are extremely “in”. sorry, but i still think it’s pretty bogus. obviously you’re one of those guys with guitar envy who secretly wished he was a radio rocker instead of a knob twiddler…well, guitars ain’t shit to me, i don’t care.

              also, i’m not a fan of modulars so even if wendy carlos, morodor, or any other legit synth icon came back to do an 8 hour modular synth jam i still wouldnt’ be into it. …deal with it.

              1. “i’m not a fan of modulars so even if wendy carlos, morodor, or any other legit synth icon came back to do an 8 hour modular synth jam i still wouldnt’ be into it. …deal with it.”

                Not only you are not a fan, but you will use every opportunity to bash on modulars, just like Xbox fanboys who will bash on everything PS3 (and vice versa), seriously we do not care if you like Thor so much that you can’t stop speaking about it like a paid shill (which is what you were saying about this on the other thread).

                “odd that a guy who never used a synth on a record in the first 20 or so years of his career ”

                Except that he has been using synths in the first 20 years of his carreer, you just don’t want to see it because its not your style.

                I’m not that much into modular myself, I find them too pricy and you can lose yourself into programming them instead of making music, but I deal with it, I don’t spend time making hundreds of comments about how I don’t like them like you have been doing in the past month.

                1. Dude, you’re just the flip side of his coin:

                  “seriously we do not care if you like modulars and Billy Corgan so much that you can’t stop speaking about them like a paid shill (which is what you were saying about this on the other thread).”

                  Why the need to defend Mr. Corgan non-stop? I mean, he can do what he likes, and his modular setup looks pretty sweet, but it’s not everyone’s cup of tea, and his eight hour performance has just a slight spark of pretentiousness about it. Is it okay that some of us feel that way, or do we need to join your religion in order to be good people?

                2. I grew up in the 90s ok, i have been subjected to listening to smashing pumpkins plenty of times and there just aren’t any synths in it. a bunch of fuzzy pseudo-shoegaze stompbox stuff? yeah, but this is not in any way a synth.

                  the worst part is while i was searched for some of corgans early synth work i did find a funny interview where he was jealous that fave grohl was still relevant to kids while smashing pumpkins latest attempt at a reunion was a big flop.

                  obviously corgan is a big guitar shredding hero of yours, that’s fine ok, but not everyone cares about guitars, you’re going to have to accept that on a synthesizer sight some people are actually going to view synthesizers as the most important instrument, not some tool to pad the bass some protools jockey adds in after the guitar god has left the building…

    1. So, you can’t be bothered to watch the video to find out yourself, but you don’t mind wasting your and everybody else’s time here posting useless comments? What is your point, actually? Why would a Doepfer Eurorack wall of synth modules not be “exotic” enough? And why would the hardware have to be “exotic” in the first place?

  2. <3 Billy
    <3 Modulars

    Underwhelming performance… No "Billy hating", Love the dude, just not feeling the atonal, minimal sound sequences I'm hearing in low YouTube streaming quality… Would have been cooler if he went with a Monorocket 200u case. This WALL of eurorack was not necessary to make these sounds…

      1. You must be very young had have heard very little, seemingly unaware that you would not even know if something would be produced on a modular synth or on any other synth just by listening to it.

        But it comical to look at you trying to convince everyone here otherwise.

      2. Keith Emerson, Rick Wakeman, Patrick Moraz, Stevie Wonder, Pete Townsend, Klaus Schulze, Jean Michel-Jarre, Wendy Carlos, George Clifton, Philip Glass, D34dm4u5, Daft Punk, Depeche Mode, Fatboy Slim. Really? Nothing interesting? Or are you merely naive?

        1. and what songs of theirs are actually produced with a modular? none of those people use them for anything serious. i have seen plenty of “in the studio” type videos where guys show off their big bad modular and what do they get out of it? a few saw wave noises and maybe an awkward little sequence of bloops that could easily be whipped up in Thor…for some strange reason i’m only interested in the sounds that come out of synthesizers and i have never heard an intriguing sound come out a modular and i’m not going to because modulars are style over substance, a stage prop.

          1. That’s right, by the time you clown around with all the esoteric ways to do anything on the damn things, there goes day the day and pretty much any inspiration. One could easily just plop themself in front of a “conventional” synth and let it rip. Sure modulates look cool and I certainly understand the collectors itch in acquiring new modules but at the end of the day you may be pretty much stuck creating the laboratory sounds of Bell Labs from a time long gone by…ok, wow.

      3. I think he gave himself way too many choices by having too much equipment. Can’t say I have heard a “giant modular” in a live situation – everyone I know and know of have stripped down their rigs to something usable for performance. They have pre-patched some voices and then perform these voices sometimes using improvisation.

        The other weakness in this performance was to use a pre-recorded talking book. Maybe if he had done some manipulation of text with signal processing it might have made this aspect more interesting. Or spoken some of the text himself… The talking book was lazy.

        Compared to Mr. Corgans other work, it sounds extremely naive and amateurish. This performance is beyond “noodling”.

        Robert Rich and Steve Roach are the masters for these kinds of live multi-hour performances. These are the artists to look at to compare this performance with.

      4. yeah dude! tons!

        This is the birth of history of Electronic Music, starting with the Columbia-Princeton RCA Mark II, BBC Radiophonic Workshop, early Buchla and Moog systems…

        LOADS!!!

        Modular is awesome!

        It used to be SO HUGE becuz’ everything electronic was bigger and more expensive and less reliable back then. Now, you can pull of 100% of the sounds and sequences (more or less) of a room sized system, on a MakeNoise or Pittsburg Modular 1-4 row case, for ~1% of the cost! And ever way more with the modern DSP based modules like the Echophon or Phonogene!

        Corgi reminded us all of where electronic music came from. In a coffee shop he owns. He thanked the mayor for coming at the end. GOOD TIMES!

        Also: Oneohtrix Point Never just KILLED IT with his 9 hour Billy Corgan live tweet-a-thon! Some really funny jokes and poignant observations worth checking out. He also humbly admits at a point that he doesn’t “mess wit” modulars, nor understand how they work… Omnisphere bro…

  3. I couldn’t watch it because the sound quality was so bad. You would think that he would have ensured that there was a good enough internet connection and used the aux input on the computer instead of just the camera’s mic with all the room noise. An interesting idea (although a little lengthy), but hopefully it can be better executed next time.

  4. I’d prefer a 8day grainshiftspacemodular orgy inspired by kafka over this. herman hesse is the easy-listening of literature

    1. I’m not sure how many people know this, but just about several months ago Tangerine Dream came up with their interpretation (soundtrack) of Kafka’s The Castle. Very very cool!

      1. Max Brod, Kafka’s friend and literary agent, when he tried to submit the paperwork to nominate Kafka for a Nobel Prize, became so frustrated with the endless bureaucratic details and labyrinthine nomination process that he eventually gave up declaring famously that the prize was “a trifle, merely a popularity contest.”

  5. Actually, the quality of the stream in this video is whatever was captured by montelds, whoever that is. The original stream may have been 720p or even 1080p, which would have been good if you have a 50mb/s connection. Did anyone complaining here actually watch the original stream? Or are they just arm chairing?

    1. The video above is what is posted here, so that is what I am commenting on. The quality of any other recording/stream does not change my opinion that this specific recording is of too low a quality to appreciate the music that is being played. I would like to hear another record if anyone has one, especially if it was recorded directly from the output of the modular/mixer instead of through a webcam mic.

  6. What a bunch of pretentious twaddle. 8 hours of random bleeps that have nothing to do with what’s going on in the story. What skill!

  7. Though boring, it is cool that people are trying to push things into new realms. Pushing boundaries and stepping out of the unexpected. It takes guts to attempt something in front of the whole world, that you have no idea whether it will be worth a damn or not.

    I also think it’s awesome that Billy C. isn’t just sticking to what his publicly approved persona is. Whether you love him or hate him, he’s doing his thing, regardless.

  8. Always blows me away how many audio guys have amazing gear and then film/record it with the worst possible stuff. It’s like putting a Ferrari motor on a wheel barrow and entering a race.

  9. hahaha saying that it “sounds like shit” is a “personal attack” and gets deleted??

    no, sorry, it was just telling the truth. LMFAO sorry feelings got hurt

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