Inspiration for the Mutable Instruments?
  • So I am a fan of Mutable Instruments and I have one of the stickers on my computer. My friend recently asked me why I have a sticker of a Hindu Goddess on my computer. I always thought that there must be some deeper link between Mutable’s general liberal use of Hindu imagery and the inspiration or function of the modules, but I never really thought much about it until now. I couldn’t find much online about it, so why is the logo an Hindu goddess? Is it really just an aesthetic thing, or is there more to it than that?

  • Thanks for the link. I had seen that thread, but was a bit confused, and wanted a little more detailed insight as to why you chose this aesthetic. As far as I can tell from that thread, the link to the goddess Saraswati, pictured in the logo, was mainly just to her qualities of “learning, arts, music and scriptures,” and doesn’t have much to do with the nature of the modules specifically/ Or do the modules themselves, beyond this personal link, channel aspects of this goddess?/culture?

  • It’s more about the journey than the destination.

  • So aside from your inspiration by the virtues of Saraswati and the similarity of your original device to the ambika, there is no throughline between the design philosophy of the instruments and the Hindu imagery? As I understand it now you took initial inspiration from these two and then stuck with that aesthetic for your modules, is that pretty much correct?

  • I can sense something dismissive in your language that bothers me. Your use of “aside from” and “initial inspiration” belittles something that is really dear to me and continues to be at the core of my life – the fact that music, science, arts and education are not distinct entities but a continuum, and the figure of saraswati as an embodiment of it. “Stuck with” makes it sound like my relationship to the branding is more or less like this

    I’m not sure about the answer you are looking for. No, the modules are not designed to be used for religious worship (or “meditation” or “yoga practice” as I have been asked before); and no they are not designed specifically for one of India’s classical music traditions. But following that kind of thinking, the only aesthetics that would suit a Eurorack module would be technical and self-referential, and this self-centered, “from synth nerd to synth nerd” view bores me to death.

  • I’m sorry, that did sound pretty dismissive, which is not how I want to sounds at all. Really I just want to hear more about how the Hindu culture is tied in with the modules! To me modular synths have a personal aspect that very few other instruments do, as each person builds their own to suit their desires and to express their personal musical truths. I imagine that you, as a modular designer, have a very personal connection to the modules you make, as they too are a form of art. It sounds like you have taken some deep inspiration from Hindu culture, and have made the deliberate choice to include some of that in your work. I am just really interested to hear more about how this culture influenced and inspired you to make the modules, and how those aspects from this culture may have manifested in the modules themselves, beyond the panel. I can see aspects of this “continuum” which most perceive to be a set of discrete things in modules like warps and frames, for example. I don’t really know much about Hinduism or Hindu art personally, so I can’t really identify other parallels very well, but I am confident that they are part of the reason why your work is like no other.