Monday, July 15, 2013

A Ridiculous Level of Patience?

I wish I could apply the same level of balance to my life as I can to my music. I spent the past week prepping some tracks for recording. The first task is to get the drum tracks down by using a sketch track to follow; after that, I can go back and add the other instruments one at a time: bass, piano, keys, guitar, etc. Well, what I did, originally, didn't work; not well enough. No need to get into why -- it all needs to be redone.

And I'm okay with that. Perfectly content. Not the slightest bit of anger.

I've erased those numerous hours of work, already -- one push of the button. I'm okay with it because I can see it for what it is: a learning experience. What I did wasn't going to fit the bill. What I did was going to give me a substandard result.

The time was not wasted; it was used to figure out, for sure, what would not work. That's valuable. Back, as they say, to the old drawing board.

Maybe it is a result of a lifetime of watching this indefatigable old chap bounce back (often literally) time after time (this really is a must-watch):

Or, maybe it is a sense of the goal. When I am done recording music, I will have music. That music will be a permanent record of what I am capable of. It has to be right, regardless of tedium and repetition, because the audience will only hear a five minute piece and not the months of writing, arranging and recording that went into it.

While I have accepted the fact that I am not likely to ever be famous (and, really, I don't want to be) I still feel a strong drive to leave something behind when I turn in for the old dirt-nap; primarily, my music. I want my sons and, hopefully their sons and/or daughters to know who I was. I can't think of a better representation of the soul than one's music. So, I say again: it has to be right.

I imagine I shouldn't blame myself too much for not being able to be as patient with daily life. There's less spiritual satisfaction involved in painting the proverbial fence. If I have to repaint a fence, I'm going to be angry, because, in the end, I really don't care how that fence represents my painting abilities. While I might derive some pleasure from a job well done with the brush, when I am done painting it, I would regard doing it again as a complete waste of time. I think I am okay with that.

Well, armed with a new approach, I will start to record the sketch tracks again, one at a time instead of all-at-once. But before I record the drums (I haven't done live drums in my little studio yet) it's hours and days of setting up a microphone and hitting each drum, over and over, and recording and then moving the microphone an inch to see how it affects the sound, recording again, moving another inch, recording again and then doing the whole process for eight different microphones on six different drums and on the cymbals.

Then, I can go on to record the drums, in numerous takes and then listen to those numerous takes, over and over, to decide which one to use...

And I am excited about this. Call it a sickness. Or call it balance. Or, call it "pathetic" like I called the soccer ball juggler in my last post pathetic. Or, whatever.

(One thing I don't do by the way, is to digitally alter performances. What I record is what I record and, while I might pick an optimal take, everything one hears on one of my pieces is real performance -- which, I suppose, adds a little to the recording "tedium" but I hope it adds a lot to the honesty of the production.)

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