It would seem that multi-tasking is the way of the 21st century. While most of us multi-task to some degree or another, there is an unforeseen drawback to keeping everything moving at the same time. As I’ve learned from my study of martial arts, when multi-tasking one runs the risk of not doing everything at the same level of quality. The perception is that one is saving time…but at what cost? Simple mistakes are often made (e-mails, letters) and quality is often sacrificed. In fact, multi-tasking can result in readdressing some items that were not fully completed the first time. The adage “Haste makes waste” still rings true today…and for good reason. So what is an efficient alternative? Most of us have only become busier yet many seem to think we have endless time to complete tasks. Although it sounds like a slower alternative, the answer is to tackle each project one at a time with a completely focused effort. This means nothing else can occupy your mind (or your desk) except the task at hand. The reason why this may not have worked for many is that daily tasks are usually mixed with daydreaming, texts, phone calls, coffee breaks, etc. When you eliminate everything but the main event (so to speak), you will not only finish much quicker than when multi-tasking, but the quality of each effort will be considerably higher. I’ve adopted this approach from experiences at my karate dojo (Shoreikan), in which we’re taught to leave the world behind upon entering the dojo. This very act establishes the discipline needed to do one thing at a time with extreme efficiency and quality. I believe it has helped me to become a more focused student, artist and individual. Give it a try ;)
Friday, October 28, 2016
One of the most significant albums to influence my conception of what an album experience should be is the Beatles’ Sgt. Pepper’s Lonely Hearts Club Band. I was fortunate to have parents that introduced me to the Beatles at a young age (although I was too young to really know exactly what I was hearing…that appreciation came much later). Throughout my life, I always returned to this particular album with the same feeling….as if I were going to a show (in the theatrical sense). Each track has its own color and story to tell and no matter how varied the instrumentation, everything sounds like it belongs together. In general, the Beatles never hesitated to mix instrumentation (and styles) within the same album (especially during the later years). In contrast, there has been a trend for several decades now in which artists release albums that feature the same instrumentation, same production……same sound. While this has its merits from a marketing standpoint, I’m personally much more attracted to the Beatles’ approach – especially when applied to my own music. Bear in mind that there can be drawbacks to an album with such diversity in style and production; record labels might be reluctant to sign an artist whose music doesn’t fit neatly into a marketable category…this is a real issue which I’ve experienced myself! Be that as it may, I’ll continue to search for the right situation for a future record label as I want to stay true to the creative freedom that I’ve enjoyed so much in the work of the Beatles. If I can come even a little close to creating a stimulating listening journey as the Beatles did in their various albums (a Magical Mystery Tour, if you will ;), then I’ll be that much closer to returning the gift that was given to me by one of the best bands of the 20th / 21st century.
Monday, September 26, 2016
Composing with midi and sampled sounds has become an art in the 21st century. While some purists are opposed to the idea of using samples to represent an orchestra (or any acoustic setting), the current musical climate doesn’t always allow for other options. The opportunities to hear one’s music performed by a top level (or even moderately good) orchestra are frequently reserved for a select few – those who win highly competitive competitions as well as world-renowned composers and artists with personal ties to an orchestral committee. That said, if a composer really loves to write for the orchestra but doesn’t have the opportunity to do so, sample libraries offer a realistic alternative.
In some ways, the lack of outlets for orchestral readings has encouraged and inspired composers to become adept at using midi. Personally, I’ve had great success using Quantum Leap’s East West Symphonic orchestra (Gold) along with various string patches from Omnisphere. However, the sources used are not as important as the ability to manipulate and combine sounds to achieve the feeling of a live orchestra. Sometimes it may be necessary to add a few live instruments to make the recording more realistic…especially since most sample libraries have some deficiencies with certain instruments in the way the sound speaks. Although you may need extra funds to do this, it’s certainly more affordable than hiring an orchestra :)