toonertik wrote: ↑
Sun Feb 10, 2019 6:10 pm
I think it is always a personal journey..(even when collaborating with others) that is life. Fun has to be a factor, I think.. even if it's a kinda angst fun.. you gotta enjoy the process. For composing, the people I have worked with in the past (and also for myself) had something to say, or sing about.. whether it be love, protest, political etc .. something drove them to express their feelings, or construct melodies/ compositions that related to their emotion [...]
I struggle with the expression part. I crave an ability to express deep & intense feelings. It wants to spew out in an uncontrolled mess. None of the stuff I work with is “spew unfiltered feelings”-safe. Years back, there were cases of rage spewing forth (thanks to unwanted pharmaceutical intervention), and it didn’t result in much art (it did result in damage).
I prefer subtlety and structure, and I don’t have the physical skills for angry metal guitar anyway (developing such skills takes patience I lack, training I can’t afford, and teachers always wanted me to learn notation, which I cannot do). I suspect a lot of the end result is the processing and studio anyway, so it still involves a ton of control.
Expressing with vocals and lyrics: I have a lot to say (FFS, look at how verbose I am), but can’t simplify thoughts into shorter phrases & artful vocabulary to sit in a rhythm / meter. Er, without sounding juvenile.
“Art” doesn’t happen on command; it’s all down to accidents. Like, oops, I accidentally wrote a song with vocals & lyrics that aren’t that bad.
I’m okay with keys and, sure, throwing distortion on a synth maybe sounds angry and aggressive, but it needs variation/expression and there are few expression options with my setup. Well, without spending time figuring out where to route MIDI CC for each and every patch or setting.
I have expression pedals plugged into FX units and MIDI control surfaces... pads, knobs, and even a Roland VG-99 with a short ribbon and a D-Beam to wave the hand over for parameter control (I don’t see how this was ever meant to be useful to a guitarist because it doesn’t respond to my guitar headstock and the range is really short)...
...but nothing is ready to just power-on and PLAY. Aside from playing a nicely modeled or sampled piano, it’s all about configuration first. Once I get a parameter mapped somewhere interesting, I’ve spent all my mental power on that and don’t feel like playing with it. I’m in a tech mental space, not an expression mental space. Odds are, that configuration will disappear when things get changed for something else later. I have no preset palette of sounds and controls ready to just play something expressive. It all feels disparate and disconnected. Not like an instrument.
Between software bugs, clumsy workspace, spending time routing & configuring things, and a lack of hands-on, immediate control over parameters, my mood and what I want to express can swing wildly.
While trying to do something ambient, I might find distracting zipper noise in a filter cutoff adjustment, or a software bug strikes, or a device isn’t communicating with another device for some arcane reason, or the effective range of the expression isn’t right (or it’s inverted), etc... irritation sets in with the tools I’m supposed to be using to express myself. There goes the desire to keep things ambient. Instead it becomes rage at the tech and I suck at making angry music, especially when angry
It’s one thing to go “oh, that should be plugged in there instead of here”. It’s something else entirely to have a black box of parameters buried under a GUI (and bugs). I have hostility toward computers in general, after spending my life wrangling them for employment and hobby.
That’s the thing I wish for most: control over my equipment enough that I can express myself without being forced to funnel all expression through the bottleneck of technical nonsense.
I’m clearly not happy (and not having fun) with equipment that is buried under bootups, menus, shared controls, and digital parameters. When I see people playing with semi-modular analog synths connected to a pile of analog effects pedals with one-knob-per-function behaviors, I feel like I’m missing out.