I have been getting into music tech in a big way. We have bought cables and boxes and more cables and boxes! And a midi controller. And I have been studying Ableton, a great DAW for composition.
But today – a frosty day in January, none of the kit was working for my ears or my soul! The kit couldn’t capture the sound of my keyboard in my dining-room on a frosty day. It kept changing it and containing it and perfecting it. And I wasn’t going to have any of it!
So . . . I recorded myself playing the accompaniment on my good old keyboard and I then recorded myself playing the tune over the top on my good old camera! And now you can hear me playing my keyboard in my dining-room on a frosty day!
Musical doodles are important things. They help to punctuate your day with feeling. I don’t deliberately doodle – they just sort of happen – and then I realise that I am enjoying the feeling, the rhythm, the sound. And it is a moment.
So next time you find yourself musically doodling – go on, let go and see where it wants to take you.
Today I woke to the sort of cloud where you wonder what has happened to the colours. The tiles on the garage seemed blacker than usual; the bricks on the houses seemed paler than usual. I could feel this sense of imbalance right through me.
I tried to take solace in my computer screen and do a little internet shopping but the more I scrolled the worse I felt. I became quickly hot and agitated. I then thought of my kitchen cupboard sorting I had started the other day and thought it could be a good day to finish that but I took one look at the dull yellow of the pasta in its new jar and thought ‘No, that isn’t going to work either!’
Ruling activities out, I guessed it may be a day for music making. This way I don’t have to confront colour – only musical colour. Having rigged up my guitar, looper pedal and a massive network of cables (or so it felt!) I started to play a poignant chord progression. It felt right for the cloud. Once recorded, I started to play my tune over the top. It seemed too quiet so I fiddled with the volumes. I felt the volume was right but somehow now the resonance of the guitar had started to rattle me and so I had to turn it down again.
The loop I ended up with may not be the clearest most balanced loop but it is the loop that matches my feelings about the cloud so it was the only one I could create today!
My eleven year old son is even more light and colour sensitive than me. He has been saying that he ‘can’t do’ music for a few years now because of the pattern and the sound. I have continued on my own musical journey without my kindred spirit by my side for 3 years, hoping that he may feel my passion and change his mind.
When I bought my looper pedal, 3 months ago, he wan’t that impressed and said he didn’t want to try it out. I continued to make my loops and sing the praises of my looper pedal and yesterday he started to ask me about it. The more I told him the more interested he was! He started to talk about pitch and tone and sound quality And then today he was insistent that he helped me create some recordings. He is such an intelligent boy and could see potential that I couldn’t see in the pedal. He inspired me to explore the presets on my new amplifier and managed to identify the battery flat symbol which would have confounded me for hours had he not!
I could see the cogs in my son’s brain whirring as he helped. He doesn’t ‘get’ Blues like me. It feels too much clutter. I could see him trying to work out how he could access music in a way that feels right to him and I feel deeply touched to witness this.
I went on to create my loop that has the most feeling so far – ‘Lost in the Colours’. For a moment as i created it, I forgot about my issues with the colour and the light and was just lost in the layers and the colours!