Monday, February 20, 2012

Music review

I finally put in my order for new music software (and a few bits of hardware) from my local music gear shop. It's been a long time coming - my last music project dates back to around 2004 or so.

This is exciting! Music software & hardware have come a long way since then, and my last composing & recording rig dated back to mid-90s synthesizers and software.  Some of the new stuff I'm getting is way, way cool.

But the specifics of gear is not what I want to talk about right now.

This whole gear-purchasing spasm really came about as I've been thinking about music ideas for the last two years or so, especially applying my recent experiences in engineering & product to music composition.  In effect, I've had music rattling around my head for a while now, and it's becoming impossible not to compose and record (as a hobby, and not with aspirations of quitting my day-job. I like my day-job, thanks very much).

I've also been listening to my previous catalog of work & critiquing it, asking myself "What works? What doesn't? What keeps my interest? What moves me to abject ennui? What's too long? What's too short? What takes forEVer to get to the point? Have I engaged the listener? Have I kept their interest? Do I surprise them or delight them or challenge them?"

Specifically, I've been listening to my 2000 effort "Tonecluster" this week, since that was a project in which I was experimenting with space, a limited number of textures, and trying for specific moods. I wanted to hear what worked from a technical perspective, and what my efforts at "slimming down the sound" were like 12 years later.

Some pieces really work for what I intended; some don't, and some are great little experiments that I might never try again, but at the time were real reaches (for me).

Anyway, after listening to this album a few times over the last couple of weeks, I've decided I'm confidently in the "less is more" camp, and will be purchasing the minimum number of virtual instruments necessary to create another album of music that I have boinging (and fizzing and banging and thumping) around my noggin'. And, since 2004, I've sold or given away a crapton of music gear, so I'm left with four different real synthesizers ranging from vintage to modern.

You can hear this old music for yourself, at this link. (You can also download the music, for free, which I encourage if you find you like it enough to add it to your collection).

What will the new music sound like? Heck if I know. I'm all over the place, with ideas for loud rock tumbling around with separate ideas for textures & beats you'd find in a Chillout session.  I will probably end up with a non-genre-specific project (and since genres are arbitrary rubrics anyway why the hell not?),  which is frankly more fun for me anyway. I get to be rust-never-sleeps loud when it suits me, and Tosca-like chilled when it suits me otherwise.