A new chapter has begun in my life, folks. My music will be different, my projects less varied, my Futurama intake severely attenuated. It’s terrible and wonderful all at the same time; my macbook died.
He totally died. He’s been having issues for a while that seem to have finally caught up and taken his sweet innocent life. Bummer, right? Well anyway, it’s making me think a good bit about composition, focus, and productivity.
A fly hipster macbook not only gave me freedom in the form of the internet in bed, but it let me explore any musical idea I could imagine. Any weird, non-objective sound I wanted to make, I could. Any wacky rhythmic explorations or total sampling-deconstruction that I desired to make true, I could. But with all that opportunity, I rarely finished a damn thing. Too much freedom, too wide open. I ended up making music that was more about the process than about the product, which has got me thinking hard about trends in electronic hip hop. I think that a good bit of the call-and-response style volleys between producers come out of a search for direction. When you can do anything, it really is all on your shoulders to make something tight.
I’ve found that verrrry few musicians make Dilla, Lotus, Madlib style music without computers or at least sampling machines. When it’s all live instruments, you’re working hard to not fuck up. Real rhythmic exploration is something that comes after you’ve decided what to play. And for the most part, you usually are working on something that you would potentially reproduce. Not so easy when the rhythm takes a good 4 bars just to recognize.
So since my computer died, I’ve been makin music like I and everyone else used to. By playing it. I still am using electronics of course: synthesizers and midi connectivity. But what I’ve noticed is that the wonderful slanky style, that I report on every week and love so dearly, doesn’t show through hardly at all. At least in my process, it really is a product of the tools I’m using. Maybe everything is so easy to accomplish with a laptop that I (and certainly others) get bored easily and move on to daring sonic experiments. Having to really play every part and record them one at time on to a tape really has me focusing on melody and the early planning stages of songwriting, something I always felt was lacking in my attempts to reference my heroes.
So I wonder what will happen when my hero’s comps kick the bucket. They’ll prolly just buy a new one, so I feel lucky for the chance to explore myself without at. Better than wishing I wasn’t broke 😉