Sunday, March 27, 2011

Where there's a will, there's a dead guy

...or at least someone who's going to be dead. Or maybe there's a lawyer? Hmmmm. This is not working out too well so far.

Some music has a purpose: emotional, political, or religious. Some music serves as a catalyst to lend power to other art forms, as movie sound tracks do. Other music just keeps me awake when I'm driving a van full of sleeping kids back from some adventure out of town. Each week people gather in churches around the world and sing hymns, some hundreds of years old. Each weekend trios in play new music in bars and cafes, while people look for other people who look better in the dark. National anthems are sung at sporting events for fans who came to see something else instead.

In almost every case music seems to be an over-elaborate waste. Not to say that the music is bad, but why have any at all? Other arts make sense. Literature can be used as a tool to record history, to analyze arguments, or to explore situations not fit for real-world application. Some aspects of visual arts allow for recording and expressing things that may be cumbersome to capture with language alone. Even engineers use drawings to specify mechanical parts. The culinary arts leverage our need to sustain ourselves physically. But what does music do? What does it help us do that we couldn't do otherwise? How does it help us to more effectively live or reproduce?

I have no idea. Moreover, I have no idea why I put time into it. In a life already packed with responsibilities, I still feel a need to carve out part of my time, our living space, and our finances to make music. The cost can be measured, but not the benefit. At the same time, I don't feel cheated. I don't want more from music than it has provided me. Perhaps it is the part of me that will keep engineering from making me completely inhuman. It will remind me that there are unquantifiables that are worthwhile. As long as music gives me goosebumps when there's no good reason to feel anything, I'll know that there's some magic to be sought and found.

So, with that, here's a short piece. Enjoy.

Rumble & Bounce by are.kay.more

Sunday, March 13, 2011

Pop goes the synthesizer

Sorry guys. Things got pretty crazy there for a couple of months. For some reason, Sarah's body thinks that turning itself inside out is an important part of making a baby, and it always take a while to convince it otherwise. She's doing much, much better now, though. Thank you, everyone, for your help and well wishes.

I'm still not finding time to play music much, but here's one that I wrote and recorded last year but never posted. So much of what I end up noodling around with ends up as minor key instrumental stuff, that I thought it would be fun to write kind of a bouncy carefree song. I also wanted to see if I could shoe-horn a bassoon line and some recorder (y'know, the little flute things) in the mix somewhere.

Please disregard the 30 seconds of silence at the end. I was having issues rendering from the recording software...

Eskimos by are.kay.more

P.S. I mixed it on my $20 headphones, which means that it sounds great on THEM, but it seems to be growly and distorted on most other speakers I've tried. Maybe I'll spring for some proper studio reference monitor speakers one day .