Distortion by accident
A creative person will find new connections for things which were not connected before. Sometimes by connecting two things which look like they are each others opponents. Most of the time these things are found inadvertently. This is how distortion was “discovered”. The old blues players had to put their amps on the maximum volume because else they didn’t get heard. The small amplifiers weren’t capable of producing a loud clear sound but produced a distorted tone. By accident this sound was discovered. And because every amp was producing these distorted tones the audience thought this was how it was meant to sound like. Both the players and the audience grew accustomed to it. If we look back in history we see many of these happy mistakes, bugs, which turned into features.
Repetition has a lot to do with it. When you repeat something over and over again you start to familiarise with it. The thing that sounded wrong the other day suddenly feels right the day after. This is how innovation works. Things change and we grow accustomed to them over time. First we try to ignore them, to fight them, to hate them, but then finally we fall in love with them and can’t live without them.
Analog soul and warmth
I notice we are obsessed by old and analog sound. Even anno 2015 digital is often considered as a kind of a flat format lacking soul and warmth. Some people still believe that a great sounding overdriven tone cannot be produced digitally. And some people believe that warmness in sound can only be achieved by using super expressive tape machines and analog mixing desks.
Digitally you can overdrive a sound in any sort of way. Of course there’s a difference between how these tones are created in analog devices versus digital code, but the outcome is the same: it will send a signal for your speakers to move back and forth in a certain speed (frequency) and with a certain power (volume). Nothing more is needed to make your speakers to produce a sound. Just speed and power.
A computer is the most powerful machine ever invented for shaping sounds and music. No longer are we limited by the amount of physical devices we own. I do that ALL the time! I sometimes use several EQ units before I send a signal into a distortion unit in Reason, sometimes with a bit of compressing before it enters the distortion, or sometimes after the distortion, or sometimes before AND after the distortion. I can totally shape any sound in any way I want.
I can make new connections between devices which helps my creativity in shaping sounds and creating new music. No longer am I limited by the devices I own. Or the amount of devices I can connect. My only limitation is my own imagination.
Oh, I almost forget, to get that analog sounding warmth: roll off the high end using an EQ or low pass filter. Easy as pie.