Friday, August 23, 2019

More Random Thoughs

I know that I have shared a bit of this with some of you individually so to you I apologize but it is just easier this way.

2. My renewed interest in music and music production has caused me to drag my laptop out of semi-storage and plug it back in after about a 6 month hiatus. Fortunately the marina has a decent high speed internet connection in the restaurant. The downside is that I have to lug the computer and all the other stuff up from the boat (where the internet is slow and flaky) to the restaurant. It took about three 6 hour days for all of the software updates to download. Then another day to download all the stuff not on auto download. Then a week to download all my game updates from Steam. Wow.

3. Having resisted buying a smart phone for years I finally took the plunge when my flip phone died about 8 months ago. It is amazing how all my other interfaces - computer, tablet, etc. were no longer necessary. At least except for very specific tasks: gaming and music.

4. For gaming I still of course use Steam. It is great because I frequently run into Trevor or Spencer for an impromptu conversation.

5. Before I left the US (I think the last time was actually about 5 years ago) I bought a keyboard. It is a pretty amazing instrument but the downside is it is big for the boat. Not to mention that I have to take lots of care that it doesn't get wet. But it is great fun.

It is a Yamaha PSR-S970 to be exact.

6. Being both a super geek and and type "A" personality I decided that I needed appropriate computer software to link to my keyboard (which is actually a synthesizer.) I downloaded and installed "fruity loops" which has since become the fabled :FL Studio release 20.( Little did I understand that learning the combination of hardware and software was equivalent to creating life while simultaneously inventing faster than light travel (all the above in an elevated state of inebriation.)

7. With some gentle help from a couple of local audio engineers/music producers and many hours on YouTube watching tutorials produced by people 40 years younger I am finally getting a bit of a handle on the technical side. Unlike my previous experience the issue is that the software can do too much. One could spend several lifetimes trying to create the "perfect" synth render of an instrument. At some point one has to just say enough and move on.

8. When people would ask me "can you teach me to program?" I would always ask "what do you want to write a program to do?" It was my point of view that in order to learn one needs an objective. My audio engineering coaches agreed. One can download just about anything from the internet - in particular all sorts of instrument sounds, music scores, loops, processors, etc. The one thing that can't be found is unprocessed audio. In other words what a performer sounds like when they step up to a microphone with no fancy electronics and just sing. And breathe. And change tempo, attack, volume, etc. That actually requires delving into the "meat world" - the only place where vocalists are found. Fortunately my trips to Bangla created some candidates. Meet Kass and Lovely, my vocalists.

Yes. Both Filipinos and as tiny as they look. But great voices. Over the next few weeks they will be contributing their voices to my audio education. At some point I will send you an audio clip.

So, long update from here. But at least I don't do it often.

Fair winds and following seas

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