Improvisation

I had a brief improvisation last night on my virus. I was just programming a patch when this sort of ambient pad piece started flowing out of my fingers. In my head, I could hear a machine loop and drums and a sort of drone off the modular..maybe a simple pulsing bass sound to push it forward..but my audience of one only heard the one part.

“I like that. It gives me images in my mind.” she said.

If only she could hear the piece as I do. What images would it draw?

80 milliseconds

It takes 80 milliseconds from the time something happened to the time you brain has decided what happened and how to break the news to you. 80 milliseconds. What happens in those 80 milliseconds?

Wait 80 milliseconds and your brain will tell you.

 

Labor of Love

I started recording the audio elements to the track I’d been improvising around. The capture went well, but I am having some trouble structuring. I’ve *kind of* got an intro…kind of…but not really, and I don’t know what to do in the body. The impove I did with J the other night sounded *really* good…but I just can’t get back to that sound.

Part of the reason I am having issues, I think, is also that my speakers are poorly placed. I don’t know how to improve that much given the layout of the room I am in. One nice thing in my old space was that the PC was centered which made recording and mixing easy. I need to figure out a better way to lay things out for mixing. I almost need a separate set of speackers for mix and compose. That is just so expensive though…

The important thing, though, is that I am engaging in the process of recording and arranging. I haven’t gone to that step with a track in a long while, and it is extrenely important to keep engaged in it. Even if progress is painfully slow, at least it’s there.

So never stop – Keep moving – Breathe….

The Well

For the past two years, I have found it impossible to write (music or words). Months would pass and I wouldn’t even look at my gear, or I’d turn it on and just spend time mucking about the internet instead.

Now…Its like an unbeatable force pullling me. I have to write. I *have to*. I have things in my head…lots of things…and I need to get them out. My well is full again.

So how did I go from having an empty well to a full one? What was it that triggered the the floodgates to open and replenish me?

Honestly, I have no fucking clue. It is a complete mystery why I had nothing in my head and now its full. The way it happened, you’d think aliens abducted me and uploaded these thoughts and ideas right into my brain. One day, I woke up and they were just *there*.

I wish I knew how it happens. It happened when I wrote ‘Dust‘. Out of no where, I was compelled to write and to do so at th exclusion of everything else. It was a drive that I had. I had something in my head, and I needed to get it out or my head would explode Scanners style all over the living room. What triggers it, I don’t think I will ever know.

But why isn’t important anyway. What is important is that I have a full well to draw on for the first time in a long while. I need to respect that gift by using it and not squandering it. This means some difficulties for the people around me as I become a moody bastard and lock myself in my studio for long hours. It means my mind may not always be ‘in it’ when we are discussing other things. It means that sometimes, I may be late to appointments becuase I had an idea that just had to come out RIGHT FUCKING NOW. It means that I must write, record and release this album I have within me. I must. If not, I risk running the well dry and having nothing to show for it.

 

Choosing my DAW

For a while now, I have been using Reason 8 as my primary DAW. My previous album, Dust, was recorded using Ableton Live 8. The question I am wrestling with as I begin my new album is if I want to continue using Reason 8 or go back to Live 8 (and upgrade to V9) to work on the new recording?

Both environments have their plusses and minuses. For the way I work, my DAW is basically a big multitrack tape deck with some cool editing capabilities. I tend to work with long linear performance tracks that I perform minimal edits on. I don’t do the micro-editing every-little-sample-in-the-right-place style of overworking tracks into dullness (I have a whole blog post I could make about that, but it wouldn’t make me many friends..) and prefer to do most of my thinking in the peformances. For this, both DAWS are fine. I do feel that Reason may be a bit more focused for this type of editing since Live seems to focus on the clip view (which I honestly never use, not even in writing).

Live, however, has VSTi, which reason just plain doesnt. I don’t use VST instruments, but I have a *lot* of FX. Also, sometimes its nice to build a quick something in Reaktor and use it on a send. Can’t do that with Reason without looping the audio through a third application.

I *could* try rewire…but I’ve never had luck getting that to work and not crash projects.

hmmm…

Overall, I’ll probably go with Reason for this one. It just kind of makes sense to go with the simpler tool. Also, I really like the way I can build FX chains by patching cables. For an oldschool guy like me, that speaks to my home and where I came from as a musician.

So…decision made: Reason 8 for entanglement. Time to start recording…

 

Inspirations

I have this thing I do where I want to find ways to get everyone I know involved in my music projects. Already, the new album involves sounds that my son and I recorded and some sounds my dog made. In the past, Ive gotten friends to dub vocals over tracks or to send me sounds from their environment (yes, L, your cat is going to be on my album). I have one track, though…the first that I’ve started writing since choosing my album’s theme, which is giving me the urge to invite everyone to the party.

I started this one about a week go now. I think it’s going to be the second song on the final release…it has that feel anyway. The intro is right for it. It’s definitely not the starter, but something to follow it. Interestingly, I have words for this one which are half my own and half those of someone I recently met (call her J). I was inspired to write my half for someone I’ve known for a while (E). J read the words I posted to a forum I am a member of and replied in the comments with an extension of her own. It’s an intersting situation to be sure. One of the reasons I posted in the first place was because of J’s encouragement to continue my writing.

I’ve texted to J and asked if she would possibly read her piece and let me record it. I am considering reading my part and (for the first time ever) letting my voice appear on one of my recordings. I have a feeling Ill take one listen to my vox and find someone else to do them, but for this particular track, it will be important to have a strong male vox to contrast the female. I think J’s voice will work well, though the voice someone speaks does not always translate well to recording even when care is taken. I think it would be OK. I’d like at least one of our voices to appear on the recording.

I am hoping to possibly get E involved as well. She has been present for some of my meditational performances, and I’d like to incorporate one of her meditation chants into my recording (perhaps not on this song, but certainly on this album).

And then also there is asking A to get involved by possibly doing some photography work. I have a cover in mind for the album and I am definitely not equipted to capture it properly. I’d also need 3 models, and another pair of friends immediately sprung to mind along with E. I don’t know why, but for a guy who likes to make solo albums, I sure do seem to want to have a lot of collaboration.

Really, though, this goes with the theme of the album. All of these people, via some mechansim or other, have crossed paths into my life right at a time when I am starting to (finally) feel the urgency of creation in myself again. Through our interactions we have become entangled particles floating through this current moment.

I am not someone who believes that things happen for a reason. An ‘reason’ or ‘fate’ is simply that part of our brains that wants there to be patterns finding them. I will say, however, that I am grateful for the cast of people who have entered my life recently. With everything that’s going on (and those that need to will know what I am talking about) I am damn lucky to have find that web of entanglements to help keep me afloat. Without them I’d be as dark matter – adrift and invisible.

Maybe my choice of title and theme should not seem so mysterious to me after all?