22
Oct
07

The Basement Studio Book: An introduction…part 3

Those of you who know me personally or professionally may be ready to burn this text and call me a hypocrite. Believe me, I’m getting much better. I learned a lot of things the hard way, and one of them is the cycle of creativity. I learned that this is a natural cycle that just happens, but it just looks like everybody does it different because they all start at a different point. The elements of the cycle are as follows (in no particular order):

EXPRESS                          CATEGORIZE                             DISCRIMINATE                                REST

We can also see that these concepts root in two very much so “black and white” categories (another dichotomy) which are Creative and Technical. The creative aspects which we directly relate to our humanity and our physiological need to create are Expression and Rest. You will either do, or not do. Trying doesn’t count. The technical side of the coin deals only with production. You need pieces to choose from and something’s got to go. If we did not categorize or discriminate; our creative efforts would just be the beginnings of a production. They would remain intimate and integral without the influence of logic, and create personal nostalgia every time we read or perform them. In contrast, without production, these things would rarely reach a large audience or influence more creativity. There is no solid middle ground on which side of the fence you sit. Sometimes you may be extremely creative, and sometimes you may be technical. If you have nothing to work with, you might be very cynical and opinionated. If you have no editing process, you r ideas will never expand. Even the most creative people have something or someone to bounce ideas off of. Conversely, producers need something to produce (or in some cases over-produce). Whichever type you are at the moment will determine who you will likely butt heads with and your ability to calibrate your perspective will determine the amount of compromise needed in any situation. If none is given, the creative process halts or moves to another environment with more positive influence. This is the reason most projects fail. The devil is in the details. It can also explain why the production environment can resemble politics.

Atcham’s Razor dictates that the shortest distance between two points is a straight line. Atcham was not a producer, but an engineer. Sturgis’s law state’s that 90% of everything is crap. I like to think he would have made a great record producer. Putting Sturgis and Atcham into practice at the same time doesn’t work so well, but if we implement one of them at a time, we can dissect ideas, and then discriminate them to get the good bits knowing how many and what kind of bits they are. Once again, it’s all about perspective.

The canonical Roman poet Ovid tells us that what is without periods of rest will not endure, and Marie Antoinette (former Queen of France, formally schooled in the essence of humanity) said “There is nothing new except what has been forgotten.” When we create, we often try to edit at the same time. This will just give us what’s left of the creative cycle. The stuff we throw away is sometimes the stuff we should use, but we don’t recognize it for what it is because of our perspective. We as people tend to thrive on stress and anxiety. They create a sense anxious of urgency that is great for motivation, but the afterglow can be the killer. Most of the time, we need to “sleep on it” and take a step back so that we can have some time to know what to add before we go and label everything and start the cycle again. Our ability to let something happen and discriminate later completes the cycle of production and relieves the stress of feeling you have to do everything yourself.

22
Oct
07

New Link For Guitarists!

Guitar zone’s article on the Pac Man guitar made by Specimen:

wakawakawaka

19
Oct
07

The Basement Studio Book: An introduction…part 2

We can fool ourselves into thinking that it will slow down and eventually, it will go back to the way it was, but like it or not, we haven’t seen the half of it. Moore’s law states that our hard drives will get bigger, our ipods will get more powerful and our internet will become faster. With this in mind I think we will see more consumption, and as our taste becomes more distinguished, the music will get better, and worse. More choices mean more advertising to guide the public at-large and more guerrillas marketing to the seemingly classless underground that demands progress and integrity of the newborn styles awakening from the ashes.

Over the years, I have amassed a modest microphone cabinet, a ton of software and hardware(half of which is no longer useable for my purposes), and a growing, almost fungal closed network of computers that do different tasks like processing effects, editing, sequencing, recording, and mastering digital audio. I also received numerous upgrades to my methods, practices, and personal philosophy from my experiences making independent music. I will now attempt to pass this down to whoever will take the time to train their ears, eyes and mind for the purpose of expressing their ideas and the ideas of others in this medium.

Please bear with me as I am not the best teacher. I will try my best to explain things slowly and in a way that one can understand. I will not introduce terms or concepts that are used only in a certain software environment, nor will I endorse any particular software or hardware. I am not paid by a company to write a how-to, so I will explain methods in concept, not specific executions or implementations. Don’t get me wrong, making music gets very expensive.

There will be things you need to have, and things you will want to make your work easier. You will need an array of Gadgets and cables, power supplies and storage, microphones and speakers, headphones and adapters. To accommodate this, you will also require either a large amount of expendable income, or a drive and determination, mental illness, or something else that makes you think, live, breathe, eat, and sleep in the world we are about to walk through. The only thing it will cost you is your ego.

People are going to tell you that what you are doing is “playing”. This is true and the furthest thing from the truth there is at the same time. This is the first dichotomy, or duality you will experience in our journey together. These dualities are things you will either accept or deny. The closer you come to accepting them, the more you will appreciate them for what they are. They are simply differences in perspective. If you can deal with multiple perspectives at the same moment and not search for the truth in them, they will give you valuable information. How we work with people, how we approach our work, how we react to situations whether they are critical or inconsequential depend on our ability to interpret and sometimes appreciate a different perspective. It makes creativity more creative, and brings a multi-layered effect to any project.

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19
Oct
07

Guerrilla Marketing link!

DIY marketing and promotion site. The link goes to a tutorial on how to market to myspace.

19
Oct
07

New link for guitarists

The Mad Stratter! This guy has way too much time to play guitar, but he knows all the names of Stevie’s Axes…Check out the article entitled “Why guitars are better than women!”

18
Oct
07

The Basement Studio Book:An introduction…part 1

When I started engineering, I was a frustrated musician that wanted to make music, but no one around me either understood, or was interested in making the kind of music that I was thinking about. Times were quite different, and the gap between consumer and professional grade hardware was huge. Eventually, the gap became smaller and smaller until the differences between what can be heard on the radio and what I heard coming out of my studio and others like it was only a subtlety few could recognize. I saw the analog equipment I was used to make way for progress, and the digital revolution (as any good revolution will do) changed the way people write, perform, produce, and listen to music. The things I used became less and less important, and the practice of simple math, and methods became crucial to keeping up with this new world of music.

Before 1999, most of the known universe was oblivious to the possibilities of digital audio. They might have listened to a digital file on their computer, or played cds in their car or home stereo, but they never saw the ipod, podcasts, or mp3 ready dvd players coming. We got blind-sided by the wave of content that was about to be produced by regular people with regular jobs talking, singing, playing, listening, and sharing all the music that has ever been recorded(at the same time). It was a dream come true and the proverbial bad dream that the music and film industry knew was coming since the release of the Beatle’s “Sgt. Pepper’s lonely heart’s club band”. The album jacket contained the lyrics, which was heresy at the time, as the sheet music business depended on the fact that some of the words in any given rock song were unintelligible. However, as the years went on, and governments passed more copyright laws, and the industry started watchdog companies, the sheet music business still makes money, (just not as much money as they used to). The same fate appears to lay before the record companies today.

It’s a known fact that most music is going to be pirated by somebody (sometimes before the proper release date). Now, it’s distributed to millions before it hits the shelves and to make things more complicated, it’s almost always possible to find it in a format that is indistinguishable from the original. We are now living in a disposable culture. All of the pictures, music, TV shows, movies and video games we like can be ripped to our portable devices so we can have them whenever we want, and they all fit in the palm of our hands. The wheel keeps turning and with each revolution, a new culture and an opposite but equal counter-culture is born. The rock stars of old with the insane wardrobes and crazy hair are few and far between, and the new breed of heroes that could walk in a crowded mall unnoticed are now the norm.

Another thing that has changed is the respect for the written form of music. It is a rarity to see in this modern day, a musician that pulls out sheet music or scales from a gig bag. Most modern musicians rarely tune anymore. It seems it is now the engineer/producer’s job to ensure that what is recorded is in tune, and proper key or mode. The concept of dynamic and cadence is now much more important and It’s almost as if we have travelled back to a time when music was an integral part of modern culture that few understood, yet everybody participated in throughout the day. I see more people singing to themselves, and appreciating music for what it is. The super lubricant that can grease the slowly turning wheels of life.

 

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