Friday, April 29, 2011

Oh, Midi...

As I mentioned previously, I recently went through all of my old tapes and discs to catalog and backup my very amateur, and sometimes hideously bad, recordings from way back when. One particular era that has been preserved was the period in which I composed a small library of midi pieces.

The setting was mid 90's, high school, a year or two after I had completed my short stint as a cornet player in the school band. It was the age of first person shooters like Doom, Hexen and Duke Nukem 3D. I was intrigued by the backing music from games like these, so I picked up a copy of WinJammer, a MIDI composing tool, and began experimenting.

Despite my years in band, my knowledge of written music was quite rudimentary. I didn't truly know how key signatures worked or how chords looked on a staff. I had been playing guitar and writing songs, so I knew how basic progressions were formed, but translating that to proper notation was a lengthy process of trial and error. This tedious routine didn't seem to phase me though, as my incredible ability to focus on music was unparalleled by anything else in my life.

Though the musical output of this time may not have been sensational, I believe that it was one of the most important stages in building my musical foundation. In my mind, learning to compose by one's ear is much more effective for creating unique works than simply utilizing the many theories documented in textbooks.

Now, with the help of a conversion tool from HamieNet, I am able to share one of these "masterpieces" with you. Can you hear the influence? (It's rather blatant.)

Game.MID (Magic Soundfont) by Nick Olman

Wednesday, April 20, 2011

Wrapping Things Up

It appears I spoke a bit too soon in my last posting, as we have since received snow and low temps here in West Michigan. The timing was okay though, as I've had plenty of mechanical items to finish up. The largest of these being transferring my collection of 4-track recordings into the digital realm. Tonight will mark the end of the transfer process as my last tape is running now. A tape full of orphaned guitar riffs.

Most of the items I've come across haven't been worthy of sharing with the masses, but they have succeeded in bringing me back to a simpler time. The main idea was to preserve history, so that someday I can look back and reminisce, much like I have been the last few weeks. I'm sure some clips will surface online in the near future, I just need to finish trimming and normalizing the files.

With a slightly longer weekend coming up, I hope to begin sharing a few pieces of this history, along with a new track recently finished for a film.

Thursday, April 14, 2011

Breaking the Silence

Despite how it may seem, there have been a number of things going on. From an artist standpoint, I've been doing fairly well. Tracks have been written, templates have been shaped, programs have been updated, my library has been condensed, the studio has been organized, my workstation has been upgraded, old projects are being properly archived and backed up...

Of course few of you would know this, as I have been doing a less than optimal job of keeping everyone informed.

There are reasons, of course, for holding off on announcements in my musical world. One important reason that comes to mind is non-disclosure agreements. I actually completed a project with one just last week. Another hold up revolves around the approval of compositions. I'm not much for sharing incomplete work, which basically is what I have before I receive approval. This isn't as relevant for solo work, but that too has it's own process of validation.

So what to do in the mean time? Though setting this blog aside was ultimately the chosen path, it should have never been a choice to begin with. There is always plenty going on, even when there isn't new music to share. This blog is, as the header states, about me and my musical endeavors.

The most logical answer is to share more about me, my process, my background, my inspirations; Anything which can be informative, interesting or cathartic. For this, I have a plan, which appropriately will be the subject of my next blog.