Technology as an enabler for creativity

Discussion in 'Member Video and Sound Clips' started by decay-o-caster, Feb 7, 2008.


  1. decay-o-caster

    decay-o-caster Member

    Messages:
    7,415
    Joined:
    Jan 4, 2002
    Location:
    The Greater San Jose Metroplex
    So with apologies for the length of this post -

    I like writing songs, I enjoy playing a well-structured piece, sometimes I can remember the chords and the words, and on certain magic occasions I don't even trip over the guitar solos. So call me an enthusiastic amateur.

    Anyhow, a couple of nights ago my eyes were opened by possibilities that I knew of but had never had a chance to play with myself before. I picked up a bass and started noodling on it, found a riff I kind of liked, thought maybe I should remember it for future use. Then I realized I was sitting in the third bedroom - er, my recording studio - right next to the computer, so why the F' not just record it? Um, right.

    So I fired up the board and the DAW software and the AdrenalinnIII, found an only-minimally-annoying drum pattern, tapped in the tempo, and recorded the bass part.

    Then I thought it might support a minor, mysterious, atmospheric keyboard part, nothing too tricky, so I switched on the little midi keyboard and dropped my default B3 emulator inline because it's easier than actually coming up with unique but useful keyboard sounds. I noodled out a part, hit 'record', and bollixed it up something fierce because I am absolutely not a keyboard player. But a couple of the mistakes were cooler than the part I'd figured out, so I rerecorded the track using the mistakes instead of the "written" part. And thank god for midi that lets you eliminate the fat fingered notes and move the other surprises back to the pitches they were meant to be.

    And hell, I am sort of a guitarist, so I couldn't leave out a rhythm guitar part. Not exactly counterpoint, but I tried not to play the same thing as any of the other parts. Nothing brilliant, but with a lot more distortion than I normally use since it seemed to fit. One bad timing moment, so I just dragged the offending chunk forward a few milliseconds with the mouse and hopefully no one'll be the wiser.

    And at this point, a couple of hours after first picking up the bass to kill time, I realized I had a song where none existed before. And further, it was a song I never would have "written", since it emerged from layers of sound instead of being created on a rhythm guitar as a platform for lyrics. My GF heard it and asked who it was because it's completely different from how I normally write and play.

    Last night I plugged in the ol' oil can delay, ran the amp to one track and the wet signal to its own track, and recorded my first ever recorded slide part through it. It should be readily apparent why I don't play slde in public, so, um, thank god for unlimited 'undo record' menu items...

    So the upshot is, I didn't consciously try to write a song, but one just kind of evolved. It won't win any grammies, I'll probably never even try to perform it live, but in the course of an hour or two, just playing with sounds and tracks, I ended up with something I thought was kind of neat. It needs work, probably needs to be completely rerecorded actually (lot of 60Hz hum throughout), but as a sketch of something, it makes me happy. Lyrics for it are accumulating in my head, but haven't fully established themselves yet.

    I'm not posting it for critiques (especially not the iron sharpens iron kind!), and not as a hey-aren't-I-cool back self-patting, but just as an illustration of what inexpensive and easy gear can do for you. I mostly use my recording setup to create demos to help my hypothetical next band learn the tunes, but as a creative tool it's really amazing what it opens up. I dunno, maybe you guys write this way all the time, but for me it's new and exciting.

    So anyway, here's the outcome (so far) -
    http://tempusfugitives.articulateimages.com/DHKSongDemos/Unravelling20080206.mp3

    I think what camcorders have done for visual self-expression, cheap or medium-priced DAWs are doing for non-pro musicians. And I like it a lot.
     
  2. Leucadian

    Leucadian Guest

    ...I liked it a lot and I am glad you put in the effort...very creative and has an unusual vibe to it that I was attracted to...sort of a swampy, new-wave flavor to it...post more!
     
  3. Lucidology

    Lucidology Member

    Messages:
    25,449
    Joined:
    Aug 14, 2006
    Location:
    Monterey, CA
    Agree with what Greg & Leucadian said above ..
    REally enjoyed the vibe you created ...

    It's not always about writing a song with a melody per se ..
    Throughout history music has always been, first & formost, about creating moods ..
    Thus the modes or scales, ... thus chord progressions (harmonies) ...
    thus beats, rhythms and/or grooves (which proceed everything, including harmony & melody ..)

    Now days it doesn't matter what tool is used ..(it never did really)
    Music can be made with a stick hitting a drum, or with mega amounts of technology ..
     
  4. Leucadian

    Leucadian Guest

    ...I'm listening again...it's really a nice sketch...the drums, as they are, give it that cool dancy-feel...that's what I like against the slide and keys...even the hum at the beginning...leave it...I like it...I love the opening guitar riffs...the bass sounds good...this is excellent music-making!
     
  5. Groovey Records

    Groovey Records Member

    Messages:
    3,146
    Joined:
    Nov 19, 2007
    Location:
    Jackson Heights Birthplace of Johnny Thunders
    Feels very good like your having a great time and totally engrossed in the process. I got into tascam about 25 years ago with 4 track cassette and did a lot just with mikes and rooms. Midi was just coming out and CD was maybe a year old. It sound like your putting your heart in it.

    I really like the whole one man band studio process. I don't know if its your cup of tea but listen to the first Prince album and what he did with no budget and limited tech options.

    I am still an analog guy and can't get behind using the best tube equipment (like you have) and then compressing the signal in pro tools and then again as a mp3 file.

    I need to feel the inaudible subfrequencies in my bones, blood and guts. One's and zero's are too sterile. You've got some great equipment go analog.

    Groovey Records
     
  6. decay-o-caster

    decay-o-caster Member

    Messages:
    7,415
    Joined:
    Jan 4, 2002
    Location:
    The Greater San Jose Metroplex
    Thank you so much, guys - it means a huge amount to me that folks I respect dig the outcome of a follow-it-to-the-next-place process. I'm very honored and humbled by it. Greg and Joseph - your opinions matter to me a lot. And Leucadian - I wasn't expecting ANYONE to listen twice!

    What I normally do musically is write lyrics against a rhythm guitar part - it could be done with an acoustic and a sheet of paper - so this is totally uncharted territory for me. But the real point of all this is, it's so easy now and the toys are so flexible and powerful, you can really do things you could have only dreamed of a couple of short years ago.
     
  7. decay-o-caster

    decay-o-caster Member

    Messages:
    7,415
    Joined:
    Jan 4, 2002
    Location:
    The Greater San Jose Metroplex
    I love Prince - one of the best concerts I've ever been to was Prince in San Jose a couple of years ago. I'll give a listen to the first album. I'd kill to have written "Let's Get Crazy"...

    And it looks like Cliff has sold us essentially the same gear. So yeah, analog is the way to go! The guitar parts were a Fargen into an AxeTrak, the only effect was an early 70s oil-can delay. Bass direct into the board. But drums and keys are beyond my ability to do real time without help.
     
  8. KCWM

    KCWM Member

    Messages:
    4,658
    Joined:
    Oct 12, 2007
    Location:
    N Richland Hills, TX
    There's so much stuff going on at some points that my brain is moving in so many different directions to try and listen to them all. That's not a knock...I love that because it does come across in a cohesive manner...despite not being so cohesive. Does that make sense? It's late, no?
     
  9. decay-o-caster

    decay-o-caster Member

    Messages:
    7,415
    Joined:
    Jan 4, 2002
    Location:
    The Greater San Jose Metroplex
    Indeed it is, for you even more than me.

    A listen in the cold clear light of day might convince you that, no, it's more incoherent and in-cohesive than you're giving it credit for!
     
  10. yZe

    yZe Senior Member

    Messages:
    3,239
    Joined:
    Jul 29, 2006
    Location:
    Tampa, on the Territory of Florida (D.C. Free Zone
    Enjoyable listen

    Cool texturing wit the instruments
     
  11. decay-o-caster

    decay-o-caster Member

    Messages:
    7,415
    Joined:
    Jan 4, 2002
    Location:
    The Greater San Jose Metroplex
    yZe - c'mon, how am I supposed to grow as a musician from that?? ;)

    Seriously, though - thank you very much for listening.
     
  12. yZe

    yZe Senior Member

    Messages:
    3,239
    Joined:
    Jul 29, 2006
    Location:
    Tampa, on the Territory of Florida (D.C. Free Zone
    O.K it sounded like Dave Brubeck with his scrotum caught in a rat trap
     
  13. KCWM

    KCWM Member

    Messages:
    4,658
    Joined:
    Oct 12, 2007
    Location:
    N Richland Hills, TX
    I have no idea who Dave brubeck is, but that was effin hilarious.
     
  14. decay-o-caster

    decay-o-caster Member

    Messages:
    7,415
    Joined:
    Jan 4, 2002
    Location:
    The Greater San Jose Metroplex
    DAMMIT!! What I was TRYING for was Bertrand Russell falling backwards into a chain saw. I have so much more work to do...
     
  15. John Czajkowski

    John Czajkowski Member

    Messages:
    1,123
    Joined:
    Jan 3, 2006
    Location:
    San Diego, CA, USA
    hey decay-o-caster,

    I really appreciate the overall concept here first and foremost. I really am digging the this vibe these days. This takes me back to the late 70s music that seemed important to me as a little kid growing up in the 80s that already came packed with a cool combination of nostalgia and freshness to my ears. I'm really looking forward to checking out one of the Brown Tone amps for this very thing myself. If I were to produce this track, I would try to encourage you to relx more on the lead take and let it become more loose and lyrical a la Ry Cooder meets Berlin. I really feel you have an very authentic sound going on here.
     
  16. decay-o-caster

    decay-o-caster Member

    Messages:
    7,415
    Joined:
    Jan 4, 2002
    Location:
    The Greater San Jose Metroplex
    John - I'm honored - thank you. The late-70s vibe is real, given that's sort of when my mind got stuck musically. Everything I've gotten into since then has been sort of overlaid on top of the basic vocabulary of guitar-based rock from the time.

    Which is one reason why your band makes me smile - a lot!
     

Share This Page