Wednesday, May 16, 2012

How to Start?

Every now and again someone will write to me asking a simple question: How do I start making (electronic) music? And I am oft dumbfounded to respond. A better questions is Where and When - and the answer is Here and Immediately.

Honestly... Any synth or sound-altering device will do - hardware or software. Generally I would recommend something hardware-based inexpensive(!) simple to program, and FUN to play with. Check this out, for example. So fun and cheap... I'm gonna get one!

For me, half the fun of music is exploration. We must all find our own path(s) and musical language with these machines. It wasn't until I bought my first synth and actually played with it that I began to develop a real vocabulary. I learned most every basic thing I needed to from that relatively basic machine. Also... listen to bands you like that make sounds you like - then learn to mimic those sounds somehow on whatever gear you have. I guarantee you will learn a LOT in the process.

I would also recommend checking out Oliver Chesler's great blog: WireToTheEar - lots of fun and informative stuff there. Enjoy - and START NOW!

Monday, May 14, 2012

Things NOT to do at 1am.

Sometimes I gotta laugh at myself - and this time I've elected to write about it as well. It's now 1:33am... and when I should have been heading to sleep, I decided to review a track I was close to finishing. The first "real" track I'd done entirely on the iPad using a great app called NanoStudio.

The reason I'm still up is not because I'm so thrilled at my creation as I'm astonished at mine own idiocy. As I was looking through the various project files in the app's directory, instead of just listening to the intended track, I decided to do some 'housecleaning'. You see, I start lots of little 'tracklets' - and sometimes you gotta clean house.

Normally I'd open the track, then decide on deletion. This time I just frackin' deleted it. DON'T DO THAT.

Yup - I deleted the one track that was close to completion. And apparently, my pad had not done an iCloud backup in several days(?!). Fortunately, I'd already exported a rough mix of that version the other day... AND I have the sequence it was based on. I just have to alter some parts and improvise a few things. Not terrible - but this will take time I'd rather spend on better things.

Controller data, improvised solo, etc... all to be re-done. D'oh!

In summation: if one is at all tired, it's NOT the best time to start 'blindly' deleting things. Save that option for mid-afternoonish or so.

Thursday, May 3, 2012

Embracing Pandora

When Pandora first hit the net-waves I was skeptical. It lacked the breadth I was looking for. Honestly, aside from my pre-to-early High School days and then a college-radio stint post-facto, I had fallen mostly out of love with radio. Too many commercials, too little music of interest... and I was going out to clubs, parties, and friend's places - while also keeping quite busy working on my own material.

These days things are different. Working a full time job, and not socializing as I used to has somewhat limited my new music experiences. Most bars I find myself at play crap - with a capital "C" - and making music is something I'm reaching for in moments between exhaustion and being bombarded with pop music at work all day.

Somewhere in all this I have revisited Pandora - and found that their palette has expanded into bands and territories I enjoy more. It's... not so bad*.

As I don't really make time to watch TV these days - this seems like a nice alternative. I'm finally diggin' it. Good work, Pandora. Here's my ever-expanding stations/channel:

*one caveat: if I can just train Pandora from sneaking in so much "new age" pap I'd be ever so much happier with it!