Thursday
Dec022004

« Hog Purgatory »

I have been trying to jumpstart my musical creativity for 4 years now, none of it really taking hold and giving me the creative flood I have been anticipating. I've changed studio rooms to a bigger configuration and then back to a smaller arrangement more like I had before. I've bought and sold a lot of instruments, hoping one would just excite me to play to the exclusion of all else in life. I've changed studio gear over and over, having used two whole recording platforms since the CD I made in 2000, while producing hardly anything of worth in the process. I've tried to form bands, and have tried to work solo. I've tried staying away from music, and tried to immerse myself in it.

So I don't know why, but I got the urge recently to buy (but so far have not done so) expensive effects plugins for Pro Tools and like many times before, supposedly these things would be a little impetus that would make recording fun again. My philosophy for the last few years has been to eschew the use of extraneous effects and sonic gimmicks, but traditionally, those have always been the things that I employed at least as a way to jumpstart things. I was sort of using them and some of their unpredictable results as if they were another player suggesting my next part. I was not the purist who would use effects only as a mix down device. I would try to get something exciting off of the interaction with effects, and then record that, and in the recording process to follow, might further mess with stuff. It was more sound design than pure music. Not all of my stuff was done this way, but sometimes, a wacky echo on drums will imply a feel, or a flange on a bass will imply playing with a pick to exploit that sound (and my picked bass and fingered bass approaches are a little different), or maybe making a guitar or keyboard bubble or pan or whatever would suggest an atmosphere.

I've got about as much effects processing as I once had back in 2000, but it isn't wired up the same way, and I don't really get the same excitement out of it. I used to make a bunch of presets, and I have since erased all of them in another effort to start with a blank slate. Hmph. So now I am wondering about the Pro Tools plugins. They have a vastly more impressive amount of control over all the parameters, and some of the things I could dream of in the days of knob turning and switch flipping can be done easily using onscreen actions and automation. That's a good thing. And things can be tried and undone if need be. That's good too. I could use this stuff in bold ways and create things that only I could create, blah, blah, blah. But I still find it hard to force myself to go into the studio, even after a year of trying once I got back on my feet after the very worst days of this dilemma. So I really don't know. The problem with plugins though is that once I open the package, it's mine. No returns on software. It's not that I wouldn't like them; it's that I may never use them because they (or the lack of them) were never the real cause for creativity and drive to create. And I'm still afraid I don't know what the problem is behind that!

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