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sax.co.uk

Technology and Music Advancement

Veggie Dave

Bisaxual
Subscriber
Messages
2,125
Location
Hutton, Essex
#1
Anyone who's more in the middle-aged and above bracket will probably remember what it was like recording music in a studio in the 'old days'; when you recorded to tape, 24 tracks was luxury, adding effects was done via a patch board, editing a track involved a razor blade and flying faders was something you only saw in documentaries about the very biggest stars in the world. Recording in a studio wasn't cheap. Having your own was simply unthinkable unless mummy and/or daddy were millionaires.

Now, however, half of this is completely redundant, while the other half is so common as to be taken completely for granted - and it's all available for free. Legally for free. Throw in illegally shared stuff and almost everything conceivable can be found and claimed within seconds. For a modern musician, especially younger ones who haven't 'learned' what you're not supposed to do, it really is a time where the only thing to limit your creativity is you. Everything from the simplest melody to the most complex compositions using entire orchestras or brand new sounds created by you mere seconds ago can be created on a basic laptop by anyone.

And thanks to the Internet even record companies are becoming obsolete. Complete artistic freedom, that so many musical geniuses in the past would have killed for, is now available to all. It is possible to become a global music star, to play to packed houses around the world, all without a record deal.

So, where are the new musical innovators? Why was the last real musical revolution the global explosion of Hip Hop at the beginning of the nineties? If anything, music - from jazz to punk and everything inbetween - has become increasingly bland, formulaic and inoffensive. Could it be that absolute freedom resulted in nothing musical to rebel against? It's not as if musicians don't still obsess over technique and knowledge, so it's not a problem with ability. Could it be that 'they'' have won? That music, which Fela once described as 'the weapon', has finally been assimilated once and for all into the 'establishment'. It has succumbed to market forces. Is just a sales vehicle for business men to sell plastic rebellion to a client base for whom clicking 'Like' on a joke news site's Facebook post criticising the Queen or Trump is as close to defiance or revolution as they'll ever get.

What the hell happened?
 

Colin the Bear

Well-Known Member
Messages
10,580
Location
Burnley bb9 9dn
#2
While the latest new thing was happening, in the media, and the last new thing was fading from, the media, the good old thing was going strong in bedrooms, living rooms and all sorts of venues.

Nostalgia seems to be the latest new thing. Tribute bands and reformed bands and genre societies. There's so much old stuff available, the new gets overlooked.
 

Alice

Psychedelic
Subscriber
Messages
4,291
Location
Kent, the Garden of England
#3
I know. I watched a documentary on the making of Sgt Pepper and the commentator said that all of that innovative stuff that took so long to produce could be done on a smartphone now.
I’m one of those oldies who has used the sound studio as part of the Time based media course I took for a BA. You had to book that room and fight the previous occupants to leave it!
 
Messages
302
Location
Hampshire
#4
Maybe we're just incredibly spoilt in that we're living in an era that has seen such a giant progression in contemporary music in such a relatively short period of time.

I'm also not so sure that there aren't musical innovators out there right here, right now. Maybe not in the Commercial sense, but if Commercial sense is Ed Sheeran, then I'm happy to leave that to the bigwigs and dig a bit deeper to find the quiet revolution! And I can use Technology to explore countless fields of music that just weren't readily available a short time ago, as well as enjoy the vast back catalogue of music going back 100's of Years, at the press of a few keys on my laptop.
 

jbtsax

old and opinionated
Subscriber
Messages
5,717
Location
Beautiful Springville, Utah USA
#5
At age 70 I don't much care what music is at the "cutting edge". I prefer music l like and can relate to. Besides that which is new is rarely accepted by the masses until the cutting edge stuff has moved on to something else, and sometimes it just fades away. Young musicians today don't have a clue how lucky they are. They take for granted things like desktop recording software, Finale, Smart Music, Band in a Box, Transcribe, etc., etc,

In my day all we had was a pencil, manuscript paper, a record player, a wind up metronome, and a tuning fork (or a vacuum tube tuner the size of a bread box).
 

altissimo

Well-Known Member
Messages
2,690
Location
leicester
#6
there are a lot of new musical genres out there if you look - math rock, djent, future bass, grime, dubstep, live coding, algorave, ambient electronica, harsh noise, witchhouse, vapourwave, trap, bhangra, gitchhop, jazzstep, sound art... some of it so underground it doesn't even have a name - the 'no audience underground' is a word of mouth scene where everyone seems to be involved at some level and there are bedroom producers who put stuff online for a few weeks and then replace it with their latest creations....
there are things going on in basements and festivals all over the world whether it's dance music or avant garde, there are innumerable small labels releasing new music via Bandcamp, Soundcloud and other outlets.. it's out there, but finding it may be difficult unless you know what to google...
The Guardian recently ran a series of articles asking where is the underground music of today and the answers were diverse and intriguing
Underground music in 2017 | Music | The Guardian
 
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Caz

Member
Messages
110
#7
Intersting perspective, i feel its the complete opposite for me (at least). I cant remember a decade where i have discovered so much new music and have been aware of so many musical trends.

I know that my freinds listen to the same stuff they did 20 years ago. But in the same time i have discovered smooth jazz, bebop, Jazz-rock, Acid Jazz, Funk, Techno, trance, Horror rap, Electronica, "World music", New age, Electro polka (yes it's thing and it's frigging awesome!), And a few more styles i have forgotten. All stuff that you dont hear on the radio, but still pick up on if you are curious about music in general. I have never been for musical trends - i grew up in a home where my dad played frank zappa, Jean luc ponty and weather reaport - so weird music was kind of the norm in my childhood which is prob why i dont settle for the popular music industry (tho must say that Bruno mars, D'angelo and Sia are awesome)

Its all out there at the click of a button. Last years great discovery for me was the band "Knower", "Snarky puppy", "steven wilson", "wintergaten" and "vulfpeck" - all through youtube. I think it's about digging through the layer of dirt so you can find your own precious gems. But that's prob how it always were - i bet most of us here spend most of the days in small record stores going through cd's and requesting a listen before purchase.

I have no illusion about the big mainstream suddenly awakening and discovering new and strange music.
 

nigeld

festina andante
Subscriber
Messages
2,882
Location
Bristol
#13
That's really impressive, and shows what can be done with the technology available today. But it seems rather a shame that the way he uses the technology means that he he can do it all on his own and he doesn't have to play with anyone else. For me, much of the joy of playing music is doing it with other people.
 

MikeMorrell

Netherlands
Subscriber
Messages
754
Location
Breda, Netherlands
#17
It's not my style of music either, Kev. Like @nigeld, I prefer to listen to musicians playing together rather than doing one-man shows using multiple loopers. Still, I think that Collier's a good example of someone who creatively uses technology. First to record, arrange and produce his solo album 'In my room' entirely from home. The album won 2 grammy's and attracted attention. He went on to collaborate with an MIT Phd student on a project to transport 'my room' from a recording/arrangement/production environment to a 'live performance' environment. He's since performed 150 live 'In my room' shows in 26 countries. It'll be interesting to see how he develops. Both as a solo performer and as a a collaborating musician..
Mike
Thanks, but no thanks. ...
 

kevgermany

ex Landrover Nut
Cafe Moderator
Messages
20,554
Location
Just north of Munich
#18
Funny, not usually keen on these conversions of classics, but I could listen to Tokio Myers. Lot's of originality and understanding in his interpretations. Without getting locked into aggressive loops.
 

altissimo

Well-Known Member
Messages
2,690
Location
leicester
#19
it's interesting to note that multitrack recording started off with Les Paul overdubbing in his home studio and there have been other examples over the years like Louis and Bebe Barron's soundtrack for the 1956 film 'Forbidden Planet' recorded in their home studio using home made electronic circuits to generate the otherworldly sounds. Composer Raymond Scott built his own studio in the 50's and recorded music on instruments of his own invention, including the world's first polyphonic sequencer. Scott licensed some of his compositions for cartoon soundtracks.
Rudy Van Gelder started off recording jazz for Blue Note at his parent's house in Hackensack until he moved to a purpose built studio in Englewood Cliffs in 1959...
While there have been artists like Stevie Wonder and Prince overdubbing all the instruments on their albums, they had to use proper recording studios, I think Paul McCartney's first album was recorded in his home studio set up in a barn, but he could afford to buy all the gear.. The advent of the cassette portastudio in the 80's made it affordable to overdub at home - Bruce Springsteen's Nebraska, Ween's The Pod, Elliott Smith's Roman Candle, Guided By Voices' Bee Thousand and Iron & Wine's The Creek Drank The Cradle were all recorded on 4 track portastudios as were some of Beck's earlier recordings.
The advent of cheap drum machines, home computers and midi software launched the house music and techno revolution of the late 80's and bedroom producers proliferated, Aphex Twin records all his stuff at home, Kieran Hebden of Fourtet records his music on a laptop, Original Pirate Material by The Streets was recorded at home on an IBM Thinkpad, Bon Iver's ‘For Emma, Forever Ago’. was recorded in a cabin in the woods on a laptop, Damon Albarn recorded a Gorillaz album on his ipad while on tour... there are plenty of other examples of artists recording albums on their laptop using nothing more than Garageband and a couple of mics - some have even managed to make albums using the built in mics - An Iowa artist recorded an entire album ... using his iPad
here's a bloke who recorded his music on a laptop in an Apple store - No studio? No problem. Meet Prince Harvey, the man who secretly recorded an album at the Apple store

I'd better get back to mixing the piano and sax improvisations recorded in my mates front room with 3 mics and a laptop.....