Jamming Along... Come Join Me

28 Sep 2019

The Busy-ness of Life

Blink and there goes another month. I was hoping to squeeze a blog post in before 30 days, but, on the bright side, at least I’m able to update once a month. Lots of stuff going on all fronts. Life powers forward with the steady, unbowed pace that we all know.

EP Update

This project is also moving along well, and so far, I’m pleased with the results. It’s not going to win any Grammys, but I’m having fun and learning things along the way. I now have three of the four tracks completed, with minimal hiccups moving to the new laptop from the old. I suppose that’s one of the benefits of working “outside-the-box”, as they say. I’m in a zone where I do most of my work on standalone (i.e. no computer required) gear, and I have found it to be a rewarding workflow. However, I used to work completely in the box, and lately, I’ve been reading about and seeing examples of artists who work mostly in the box, and I’m starting to see the benefits of the computer-based workflow. That’s not to say that I’m shifting that way myself. Way too much joy and inspiration is derived from the tactile / haptic feedback of using hardware synths for making electronic music. I’m more productive than I’ve ever been. However, I think to truly make the next quantum leap in the quality of my output, I need to get more comfortable working in the box. There are a number of advantages to that workflow, so I shouldn’t shun it.

Another Gear Rabbit Hole

Going along with bringing software back into the mix (haha, get it?), some more equipment is needed. I sold off a line mixer and audio interface while in the middle of downsizing and streamlining my setup. I always knew I’d replace the audio interface at some point, but had a surprisingly hard time sorting out which interface to get, whether to get just a mixer, or some combination of the two. That debate raged on for the better part of 2019 until Friday. First, a little aside. I recently watched a video where the artist Telefon Tel Aviv discussed his point of view and workflow, including some of the gear he uses. One of the things he mentioned was a small 500 series rack with a few mic preamps and a compressor. This little rack really caught my eye. First for the compact size, but later for what “magic” it could do to my sound, given the right combination of components. Not only that, but there’s a healthy DIY community surrounding 500 series gear, and the modular design allows you to change the setup as you see fit for various applications. What really sealed the deal for me was finding a product that really checked all the boxes for me. I found the APHEX USB 500 – a USB audio interface that is housed in a 4-unit 500 series rack, with routing options that allow a great deal of flexibility for moving your music into the digital domain, or for processing through the analog chain to add that special sauce that people seem to talk about. I haven’t yet received the interface / rack yet, but I’m hoping to have an update with my opinion in a couple weeks’ time. I won’t have any modules installed at first, as that’s the next hurdle. Using the aforementioned DIY resources, I need to narrow down my choice for the first pair of modules. At the moment, I’m debating between a mic pre kit vs. a module that is more of a post-processing coloring effect. There’s a lot to learn, but that’s part of the fun for me. I just need to make sure that learning doesn’t distract me from the main goal – make more music!