Looking back at 2021

Digital Larry

Friend of Leo's
May 30, 2017
Silicon Valley, CA
Yes, I know it's not over yet, but in the past year I put myself to the test and learned some important things. Many of my posts on the forum talk about my personal creative roadblocks and lamenting my ability to finish anything. So far, this year I have finished 9 tracks, which is beyond belief for me.

- 1 was a tune I composed 30 years ago, finally getting recorded.

- 1 was something I programmed into the Arturia Beatstep Pro soon after I bought it, maybe 3 years ago, but never recorded.

- 3 were experiments on my modular synth setup

- A couple were me more or less noodling on the guitar over a repetitive riff background, so light on the compositional aspect and heavier on the spontaneous aspect.

- A couple more took a few more steps into actual composition, i.e. with more than one part.

- I put lap steel parts on a couple of these. This is an instrument I can barely play, so what I did was to come up with just a couple licks and got those sounding OK, and then that's just what I used rather than trying to make it more elaborate. If you asked me to play those parts again right now, I'd have to sit down and tediously work them out again.

So here are my reflections on all this, also as regards recording all of it myself.

- My real creative burst for music usually comes in springtime. As we head into late summer I'm not working on recording so much. I got involved with writing audio plugins and have been putting a lot of my creative energy into that instead. I do play every day though.

- I get the most enjoyment out of coming up with the ideas (duh).

- I find recording and editing in the DAW relatively tedious and I can only do it in short bursts. I wish I had someone to do it for me. So that's why some of these tunes were so simple... to allow me to finish them and move on.

- Past a certain point of complexity, I tend to paint myself into a corner and wind up with half completed things. It's better for me to keep it simple. Although I'm not so sure how many more "1-riff" tunes I will actually bother to record. Maybe if I come up with some super riff to dominate all riffs for all time I will do it. So my real groove is 1 level up from that, I think.

- I came up with more interesting ideas if I composed the melody first and then figured out the chords to go with it.

- Some of the equipment I own, such as the modular synth setup, actually makes creation more difficult. At the same time, the results are less predictable and can take me into uncharted realms. When I listen to the unstructured pieces (i.e. that were not triggered by a sequencer), I could not even begin to tell you now which modules I used or how I did it. Which is kind of a trip! Also, the Arturia Beatstep Pro, while flexible and nifty and all that, has not turned out to be a big inspirational tool for me. IMO its drum machine type interface is great for techno and 1-riff tunes (I guess) but makes it fairly hard to put together pieces with longer sections, odd time signatures, or chord changes. The basic working unit is 16 to 64 steps and then you can chain these together etc. but that is starting to get too complicated to be useful. The machine in this case really does strongly dictate the form of the output. I barely use it any more.

- Even though I have worked with computers and technology fairly intimately for 50 years (I really did take my first BASIC programming class 50 years ago), I have to admit that the act of recording and editing music may not be my strong suit. If I can keep the goal within the realm of my capabilities I get a lot further.

The end.

24 track

Doctor of Teleocity
Ad Free Member
Nov 6, 2014
kamloops bc
You are not alone with any of this , especially with when it comes to having a modicum of an idea and developing it into a final product , I do find if you've recorded something you like, Ilearned to walk away for a while and come back with fresh ears before I burn out completely.

I have about 15 originals that I have not found the time to record yet ( I've done 5 repairs since friday ) and still have a yamaha piano on the coffee table with dirty contacts ,

I'm a little easier because my synths are semi modular with a few modular processors added in, I have 2 keysteps that I wanted as they are digital sequencers that are prefect for that purpose

you may need to step back for a bit and come back fresh

I'm glad you shared , becuse some times I feel the same
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