I have had a bit of time on my hands over the last couple of days (the joys of being on holiday) and this coupled with the trance laden radio station Global FM Mallorca that is permanently tuned on the car radio has led to me fiddling with music again.
I don't think I have actually tried to put together a composition for nearly eight years now. Not properly anyway. Needless to say I am seriously out of practice and my clumsy attempts at the easiest of build-break-build-drop formula are rather disappointing. Still the exercise has taught me a couple of things.
- Macs are cool.
Garage Band, whilst limited, is a very very cool bit of pack in software. Simple loop and sample arranging and editing is a breeze. There are a load of pretty decent virtual instruments and the effects selection and customisation is broad. Now this could of course just be the effect of eight years of progress since I picked up a bit of music software as when-I-were-lad you just couldn't do this kind of thing on a mid level consumer laptop.
- Creativity is a muscle.
It is definitely a case of "use it or lose it". Although I can listen to a tune and de-construct it's component parts and appreciate the work that has gone in to it I have lost the ability to easily put together the building blocks myself. I should practice more and to do so I need to make time for it.
- Music needs space to grow.
Because I have just been fiddling on and off in the evenings I have not been doing the eight hour plus all-nighters I used to do when writing tunes. I think this is a good thing. Being so close to a track makes me lose focus on what it needs and coming back to it after a break I can hear it's strengths and weaknesses a lot easier.
- Collaboration helps.
I need second opinions, critique and compliment. However what is needed is a way of easily passing work back and forth so that collaborators can work on it. Furthermore it would be great if there were some kind of version control, a subversion for music. In the old days passing stuff between collaborators was tricky unless there was a shared set-up or studio. Now with advances in software as they are it should be relatively simple so long as all parties are using the same software.