Hello again lovely people! Well its closing in on the end of the year and we've got a few moments to look back and see whats happened. Things f...
A year in review
December 24, 2014
Nothing but the process is infinte.
November 18, 2014
As humans we are gifted with the ability to create. Be it art, a physical object that serves a purpose or not, and, among many other things, music. This process comes naturally at times, though as any artist knows this isn't always the case. But where does the battle begin and end? To break this down to its most basic form that would be "Ex Nihilo", to make something out of nothing. To see in your mind what the finished product will look like, what the meal will taste like, what feeling the art conveys, or what the song will sound like begins the “battle”, if you will.
The path you take to get to your ending... that is the hard part. Well, it used to be. Nowadays it really looks like an “in the box” method of recording music and it has the option to make things far more complicated than they really need to be. Like having too many options. And when you only have one chance to get it right, more often than not the pressure makes you preform at your best. When a sound engineer can only work with what was recorded, he better have the best take of that song.
With the Common DAW, Digital Audio Workstation, there's never a "no turning back point". Which in most cases, is progress and it's amazing not to have to worry about running out of tape. However, knowing you can go back and tweak anything tends to lead one to lose the original vision. I am guilty of this at times, especially with my vocals. I'm not the best vocalist in any form, and most of the time when I need to get vocals it's more or less, “let me just get a take I can make sound better and move on with it.” Yeah, that's lame on my part, but that's the only place I really cut corners.
The other problem that is given to us with “in the box” working is trying to decide when it's done. What I mean by that is, when you're working on a song you have to be able to tell with your ears when you've made what you thought of. When the song you envisioned is the song you created. Here's an example, when I came up with the song Ghost Town I heard it in my head one day when I was on a smoke break at a job, but it wasn't the full song, it was the feeling it conveyed. I didn't know what instruments I would end up using, what effects would be used, or the mastering process, all I cared about was making this song say what it needed to when I heard it in my head. The thing that made that song good to me was knowing when to say “it's done.” And yeah, If I ever go back and listen to it I hear mistakes or things I didn't catch cause I was either rushing, was mixing for to long, not using monitors, or any other reason, but there is something to said about “mistakes” that can add character to the world of making music digitally.
That brings us to another point, the lack of mistakes or humanization that digitally made music works to scrub out of it. No person can make no mistakes 100% of the time. The human nature of lacking perfection is what can make music magical. If you were to take the masters and scrub out the mistakes of albums by Sleep, Isis and Neurosis it would immediately become shit. Albums in the doom, slug, and post-rock genera have more to do with feeling than perfection. This is what I mean by mistakes mean character. This is much more difficult to do with digitally produced music, especially when you don’t have any physical instruments. I guess what I'm really trying to say to fellow musicians is stop second guessing your instinctive decisions! If your recording an acoustic piece with vocals and you nail the vocals with so much feeling but you buzz a note, fuck it!
Am I saying feeling in music is more important than being technically proficient? Well, I believe Zappa was the most important and most amazing musician of the last hundred years, but do I think he was able to pass on more emotion than let's say Baroness? I guess thats something for you to decide.
Balance, go with your gut, know when to stop, and walk away and say... IT'S DONE!
Take away from this what you will but until the next time, Mister Scrambles Over and Out!!!