A new documentary on Soviet Era Synthesizers is currently making the rounds. Among the more interesting thematic points are a peek into the Russian view of technology and how it's citizens have come to lower their expectations from what is promised to what is actually delivered and then work with that.
As one of the interviewees brilliantly puts it:
"On a western device, you push a button and get a result.
On a Soviet instrument, you push a button and get something." – Benzo
Many modern synthesists and gear-hounds will happily show you their piles of instruments and explain how they use each one for it's unique sounds, interface, properties, and abilities. It seems there is more than one way to skin a patch cord though and using weird, fickle, or just plain broken electronic instruments can yield their own equally unique results. Dire economic circumstances and policies left over from the cold war, a changing political climate, and institutionalized views of government and the military all contribute to how technology can be shaped by culture.
Creative types used to dealing with challenges often develop a different artistic vocabulary so they can get something out of their tools and keep making sound, music, film or whatever they're inspired to do. This film looks to be a fascinating view of how people not only make the most with what they have but use such limitations as part of the process and how the feedback of that process then influences the culture at large.
Check out the trailer and more info here: http://elektromoskva.com/english
Bleep on comrades!