Saturday, August 30, 2008

Open source music?

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.

  1. 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.
  2. 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.
  3. 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.
  4. 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.
So with that in mind I dump here the work in progress mp3 of the tune that I am fiddling with and also the Garage Band file. Take it as released under a Creative Commons license for non-commercial use. I would love to get feedback, bear in mind before being too harsh though that it is very very much work in progress and really just accumulation of ideas at this point.


Kirk said...

Sounds like classic trance circa early 90s, before the genre evolved into its progressive/psychedelic/euphoric variants. I'm too rusty myself to pick it up or offer constructive criticism, but I'm glad you've managed to find the time to make some music again.

Rick said...

I admit it. I have never really progressed from 90's trance, it's still my favorite electronica. The whole thing sounds clumsy to me right now so I will be trying to shape and polish as time allows. Course being back at work won't help with that.