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My recording equipment was flipping out (or maybe It was me). Which may seem like a hindrance to artistic expression but then I realized that the flipping out was part of the flipping art!

I’m trying out a new audio interface—the device that takes sounds from the supposedly real analog word and converts them into the virtual world of my computer—and nothing seems to be working.

Yes, it’s another episode in the ongoing battle between me and my technology tools—computers, recording software, virtual instruments, FX plug-ins, mics, MIDI keyboards (that send out random pitch bend data), etc. Just when you think you’ve got the collective beast of advanced music technology working for as opposed to against you, something goes terribly wrong. It stops you in your tracks—literally prevents you from recording your tracks.

But here’s the thing I’ve learned over the course of several decades of recording: the taming, the mastering, the fighting with technology is very much part of the artistic process. The tools are not merely a means to an end, they are fully integrated into the end. You can’t, in the end, separate the tools from the finished product. And that includes all of the technology mishaps, the beta versions, the random quantum fluctuations.

All of these things are part of the art.

Episode #11 Transcription

[Sung with music]

Technology: everything changes from moment to moment. What was working yesterday won’t work today at all.

[Spoken with music]

Actually five minutes ago: The headphone bus was fine. Now it’s not. I don’t know what I did.

[Sung with music]

Technology. I don’t even know if this is recording properly, properly.

[Spoken with music]

It’s partly my fault. I did try out a new presonus interface audio interface and it’s been kind of a nightmare getting everything to work. Cables don’t work, but it sounds a lot better. The interface is fast. Fast!

[Sung with music]

Technology: it’s a double edge,so that’s built for the hordes, with many broken chords…

[Spoken with and without music]

Well, that is another take. Why not sing, talk and play at the same time? Hadn’t thought of that. But technology: for the past two weeks I’ve been dealing with various computer issues: ports, not working on my iMac, 2017. Maxed out imac. I might add. Not to show off, but to say that even when you get the highest level, it doesn’t necessarily work all the time.

In fact, my experience of tech is that in my studio here, every day something works slightly differently or doesn’t work—differently. Part of that reason may be that I’m not truly an engineer. I’ve learned to be one, but I’m not a dedicated engineer like you would have if you went into a studio where that’s all they do all day and they notice things that I may not notice, are on top of things that I may be on the bottom of. And this leads to this ongoing battle between me and the tech. Who’s gonna win?

The nice thing about this piano: I have a Yamaha six foot five grand from 1984. 1984! It still works. Now of course the strings have been replaced, the hammers have been replaced, but the basic technology—ow tech—lasts a lot longer. You don’t have to upgrade it every three years. Like your phone or your computer or your audio interface.

Still not sure if my episode here is being recorded properly cause my headphone bus, which was working seven minutes ago is not, not really working right now. So how do you write music about that …or improvise music? I guess this is the nonworking headphone bus theme.

I still need to work on my left hand doing things like that. Talking about technology, playing the piano is a technology.

I guess if you’re listening to this podcast, the technology worked.

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