Gone… A Loss of Fond Technology

It started a few nights ago. Someone in a music production forum on Facebook posted a synthesizer advertisement from back in the day…a vintage synth. Before long, members of the forum were chiming in about what they remember about those days – things like they used that synth at one point, how it compared to others of its timeframe, etc. Even I pulled out a set of old music production user group magazines and posted a pic of them.

This got me reminiscent of the first computer I was every able to purchase. The backstory (some of you may know) is when I started my professional career out of college, I was a young systems engineer working in a Naval satellite system program office. This office, surprisingly, had a mix of Macs and PCs. It was then, in 1988, when the Mac was only four years old, that my love affair with the platform began. Our business affairs guy was the keeper of the Macs in the office and it was through his enthusiasm and love for the platform that got me interested, not to mention (as I found out shortly thereafter), the magic of Apple. For the next two years, I dreamed of owning a Mac.

In 1990, I was settled into my own apartment (no more roommates) and was making enough to finally afford a brand spanking new Macintosh Classic. I purchased that computer for a whopping $1200 from a small computer shop in Silver Spring, MD. Until then, I was recording the music I was composing to a Tascam 424 multitrack tape recorder. Getting the Mac was way more exciting then most of you could ever imagine – it opened up the world of music sequencing and facilitated greatly how I composed music. It was also the first time I was able to connect to BBSs online via a blazing fast 2400 bps modem (LOL).

Since that Mac, I’ve had many more, some of which I still have in storage, some not, but it was that all in one Mac, the 9-inch B&W, the tiny sequencer, MasterTracks Pro, and a lot of other things during my early journey into using a computer for music production, that leave me with fond memories.

Two nights ago, I pulled it out of storage, set it up, turned it on, and set it in my studio. A little, but well know screensaver called Darkside, was installed. I set it to fade to the “Kitten” screensaver, a little spunky kittne that ran around the screen chasing a ball of yarn. A lot of memories came flooding back, especially those of what I could do with so little hard drive space and processing speed compared to what I have today. Having to load programs via 3.5-in floppy disks, and all the other charming things that only Apple could make you experience.

Last night, when it was appearing everything was fine with it, I decided to move it. I went to shut it down via the shutdown menu, but the mouse froze on the screen, along with the kitten. All I could do them is manually shut the power switch off. When I turned it back on, the video screen essentially malfunctioned. An awful looking pattern was now frozen in place. I repeatedly turned it off and on, trying to see if that issue would fix itself. I followed my a short shake, then firm pounding on both sides, as if I was trying to resuscitate it. All of that…amounted to nothing. It was no more.

Interesting how attached we can become to inanimate objects. While it wasnt necessary the object itself, it was more the memories attached to using it, the things I was able to accomplish during the beginnings of a journey that I’m still on. I admit that I miss it, despite the fact it was sitting in storage for years, despite the fact that the Macs I use for music production now are vastly superior to it. I just miss it…call it tech nostagia.

Today, after some research, I’ve decided to purchase another for posterity. For an original price of $1200 I paid 27 years ago, I’ve seen that computer in flea markets and classified ads selling for as little as $20. On eBay, one in good condition is well over $250. I won’t spend that much, but I’ll continue to research, continue to look around and just maybe, a sort of resurrection of sorts will occur one day in the hopefully near future.

oceans of rhythm…

Fresh!

New EP in progress ::: Day 3 ::: 19 Jun 17

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11:30pm EST

Greetings readers. Yeah, 11:30pm on a Monday night. I should have been zzzz an hour ago. In any event, just a quick post on the movement of this track. Finally got around to laying a guitar track on Day 2 of this officially documented journey. It may be the only guitar track, as I’m a few days behind schedule in getting the entire song mixed. At least I got a good, but minor idea, for the outro, which was also recorded tonight. Provided I don’t come up with any more “11th hour” ideas (LOL), I should be starting on the mix this week, since the arrangement is done. It’s push time. Speaking of which, I recently read a good article on the subject of “deep work” as it pertains to music production. As you may guess, it overall applies to focus in getting any task done. I’m going to post it, here and on FB, in a few days…Stay tuned.

That’s it for now….off to bed…

::: oceans of rhythm :::
Fresh!

New EP in progress ::: Day 1 ::: 16 Jun 17

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Greetings all….
As I customarily do, when I start a new project, I usually blog about for two reasons. First, to sort of document the journey so I can look back on it in the future (it helps when/if it gets down to interview time and I want to cite certain things about the creative/production process and related thoughts). Secondly, I do so for those who have a general interest on the “behind the scenes” stuff that goes along with an entire creative process such as this.

While I won’t drop the name of the project until it’s time to start pre-release marketing near the drop date, I will give you a little background along the way. That said, this project is a collection of tunes (a smaller collection than originally created) that was inspired by a business trip I took long ago, halfway across the world, ten years agi. The tunes (with the exception of one) was inspired by various aspect of daily life that I experienced on this first trip (I actually made two trips, two consecutive summers, to the same place, but the tracks were inspired by the first trip).

All the tracks, with the exception of the title track, are written, recorded and arranged by me. The stage I’m in now is track editing and mix preparation. Over the last three days, I’ve been in the studio doing just that. For example, tonight I demixed the drum track and began preparing to bus them to their respective auxiliary channels. This basic process allows for grouping those bus tracks to allow greater control over track automation and effects processing over essentially what is an entire drum kit. The next step will be adding a guitar track and essentially following that same process with respect to a single guitar track.

As for the overall concept, all the tracks tell a story, cohesively, but individually tell singular stories in and of themselves. For those of you who are on Instagram, you can get a sneak peek, if you will, to the creative journey by following the simple hashtag #bsun2017. Hope you come along for the ride.

It’s Friday….enjoy the weekend. Happy Father’s Day to all you fathers (biologically or not).

Oceans of rhythm….
Fresh!

film scoring – the journey – day 10: the final episode

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Greetings all…

Wednesday night , 11:01 PM EST. I’m sitting here in the studio, just finishing up scoring notes for the final episode of the webseries I’ve been scoring, At Risk. This last episode is definitely classic in that it is a CLIFFHANGER for sure. With that, I have to say that the scenes shot probably provide for more musical creativity and interpretation than most of the previous ones (although, or course, that is sujective, yes?). Tomorrow I plan to actually begin scoring them film for a weekend delivery of the music and associated cue sheet info, to the director (who I chatted with earlier tonight).

It’s been quite and experience, one that I’m glad I was given the opportunity. I learned a lot, not just from dealing directly with the director and writer, but by gaining knowledge for other professional and semi-professional film scorers in the industry. While I’ve always had a “love/hate” relationship with FB (to eadh his/her own, eh?), I’ve found a particular film scoring group on here that has been nothing but a great help to me. All and all, in the end, this has been a win-win situation for me. So much so, that I already know the next step I’d like to take in this music for film/TV journey, so stay tuned.

I’ll be posting one more blog to introduce my demo page and music publishing video site where you’ll be able to hear all the original music that did not make the final episodes for the series.

In the mean time, catch all the series from this season at the official site: At Risk Series. and past in studio shots of the scoring process on my SFTF Productions, by searching on the hashtags #arws2016, #skysongsmusicpublishing, and #skysongsmusicworldwide

To all, thanks for coming along for the ride and providing all the encouraging comments. Chat soon…

::: oceans of rhythm :::,

Doug

Summer, summer, summer time…music on my mind.

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Greetings readers….
Thursday at 8:04 am. Siting in the studio (I should be on my way to work), I’m thinking about where the summer has gone to so fast. I wish it could start over. Seems it was MUCH longer when I was much younger. There’s so much I want to do before it’s over and I’m constantly looking towards the weekend or some better after work time management to do some of these things. Oh well. c’est la vie…it’s not over yet.

Lately, I’ve been blogging on this film music scoring journey I’ve been on. It’s been a good one thus far, learning a lot, connecting with folk who regularly do it on different levels, and looking forward to continuing this ride, making it better along the way. Currently, I’m waiting for the next draft episode to be sent. In the mean time, the excitement of working on my next personal EP is again here. This one is definitely personal because the songs are birthed out of, and influenced by, two trips (same place) to the other side of the world, that occurred almost ten years ago (yes, I’ve been sitting on these songs that long). I’m glad I was afforded the opportunity to spend the amount of time I did there, the memories are still fresh.

I’ll be sharing more about it as the months go by, as I plan to drop this release before Christmas, so stay tuned.

Have a good Thursday,

Peace,
Fresh!

film scoring – the journey – day 9 – Good vibes, next moves…

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Greetings readers…

Yet another Sunday night is upon us. I had a good weekend, despite this mad heat (which will remain in the upper 90’s throughout the week.). That said, it was productive on the scoring front. Episode 2 is done and submitted to the movie producer for review. So far, looks like she likes, so it looks like the title sequence, Episode 1, and Episode 2 are a wrap!

Talked to the film’s director this evening as well. Seeing as though his company is juggling multip;e projects at once, it was good to have a few minutes to chat with him on the process of music submission (at least from a clarification standpoint). The result of the conversation pretty much aligns with the result fo my research, so we’re definitely good to go.

I also got a chance (finally) to interact with two of the actors/actresses in the series, via social media (Instagram) this weekend. It was good exchanging comments with them after watching them so much via video…both had mad talent through and through. Looking forward to interacting with the rest of the cast.

Well, while awaiting the next episode to begin work on, it;ll be time to d a few things:

  • Start work on my next EP
  • Register my publishing entity, Sky Songs Music Publishing, with BMI
  • Continue work on me and partner’s next CD
  • Work on the guitar tracks for a cover of “Fever” by female vocalist in the UK
  • Work on guitar tracks from Todd Kelley’s next EP, Seasoned Veteran
  • Etc, etc…….
  • We’ll see how of THAT goes. 🙂

    ‘Til next time….

    peace,
    Fresh!

    film scoring – the journey – day 8 – First submission & feedback

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    11:00pm – Greetings readers…

    Another weekend gone… 🙁 In any event, it was short, but productive. I finally submitted the rough cue music embedded in the video for the director’s review. Had a short telecon and pleasingly got the thumbs up on the title sequence music AND the scene music in Episode 1. With a slight suggested change for the title sequence track and one for the episode, I’m happy with the results, being a newcomer to all of this.

    This evening was spent working on music for episode 2. As mentioned in the first post of this series, the closing scene is comprised of something I, well….never had to compose music for – let’s just leave it at 🙂 Good news is, I think I have something that fits it. I think I have one more scene I need music for and I should be ready to submit this episode as well…we’ll see.

    Anyway, this is a short update. I’m anticipating a long work week ahead, and to get into bed before midnight is probably best.

    Catch up soon…

    peace!
    Fresh

    film scoring – the journey – day 7 – At the scene/in the cloud of sound.

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    Greetings readers (I should say early good morning),

    After what has seemed to be some creative block, so to speak, I finally got back to working on music for the first episode of this webseries. At least I have two ideas (with a third pretty much thought of) for the title sequence music . All my conceptual notes for the scenes have been down on paper for awhile but to get from my head, what I’m conceiving, to what one can actually hear has been another issue altogether. I actually started backwards, so to speak, and composed the music for the final scene of Episode 2 already. Early this morning seemed to be the time where I was able to do it (although what I’m going with is a little different than the initial concept).

    So, I’ve been working with brand new ideas for the first bit of music you will hear in the first scene of the first episode. This piece of music is actually called a “cue”, as, from what I ynderstand, they are generally short pieces of music that cue a following scene. Though what I’m going to try is not conceptually the same as what I originally thought of, I think it will work nicely with some extra embellishments here and there…we;ll see.

    For now it is crazy way past my bedtime. Yes, I will be suffering tomorrow at work, but this is what sometimes happens when my muse decides to show up anytime she wants, with irregard to what I need…LOL (“women”….haha). JK!!

    Incidentally, my soundcloud account is set up. On the site, you’ll eventually hear demo tracks of music I’ve composed for film. When there are a few tracks up, I’ll post the link in a future blog post, Facebook, Twitter, etc….so stay tuned.

    Have a great day, or afternoon, or…well, u get what I mean….

    peace!
    Fresh!

    film scoring – the journey – day 6 – It’s Official (generally speaking)

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    Greetings readers…

    For the past two days, I’ve been in studio but have dont more learning and experimenting then actually getting this ideas I hear in my head out to be recorded. In the meantime, I know that when I submit initial tracks to the director and music supervisor for review, they’ll be going with what’s called a cue sheet. Part of the cue sheet has information regarding my publishing company name. Wait, I don’t have a publishing company name, until today (well, kinda). Today, after soliciting some suggestions from folk along the way, as well some considering some names I had already, I finally decided on one. The initial decision came from a friend, Tyvian Corry. Every time he hits me up on FB, he’ll usually start out by saying “‘Sup Sky Man?” So, he suggested that name after I did a post on my page about needing a name.

    I thought it was really cool, so I did a Google search on it earlier today to see what results it would bring up.Ironically a few came up. I still like it a lot, but wanted something more original that would bring up the least amount of search results (at best, none at all). I thought of SkyTunes, but that was taken. After a short time, it hit me, so I did a domain search to see if this name was taken as a dotcom. Surprisingly enough, it wasn’t, so that sealed the decision. I came home from work and registered the domain for two years. I also have a logo concept which I will flesh out and post soon. In any event, ladies and gentlemen, I present to you, my music publishing entity: SkySongs Music Publishing. The website will be at skysongsmusic.com, so stay tuned in the coming months. The business structure will be a sole proprietorship in the state I live in. Under state law I don’t have to file for taxes, but will be registering the name at some point (I think). Next stop is to register the name with my PRO (performing rights organization), BMI.

    Incidentally, you may be wondering where Tyvian got the name “Sky Man”….hit me up and I’ll fill you in.

    peace,
    Fresh!

    Film Scoring – The Journey – Day 5 – The Break/The Block

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    Greetings readers.
    6:35am, Monday Morning. I’ve been up since 4:30 am, trying to (re) effect this early morning, “get at the day” routine by getting into bed every night at a decent time. So far, it’s a good way to kick the week off.

    I’ve been in the studio for the last hour, getting some to-do tasks checked off. One of them was trying to get the right drum track feel for this third and last idea for the title sequence (theme music) for the web series I’m scoring too. I’ve done a fair amount of my own drum programming since the days of drum machines (of course, for my own tracks), but taking that approach here seems a bit daunting. I’m hearing something similar in feel to Crockett’s Theme (Miami Vice) but can’t get it out of my head to the recording part of it. My sample library is fairly large and I think I have something that may kickstart the idea quicker…we’ll see.

    I spent the last few days driving back and forth to Savannah, GA (including an overnight hotel stay). Left Thursday at noon, return Friday night at 8pm – a total of 20 hours or so of driving. Needless to say, it caught up with me by Saturday afternoon. By Saturday night, I was back at it for a little while – my son sat in on one of my sessions and asked me about the totality of the project. Being not one afraid to voice his suggestions, he listened to one of the ideas and suggested I try to mute a portion of a specific track until a certain part of what the video was showing. I’d not thought of that, but tried his suggestion and it didn’t sound to bad at all. It goes to show you that one never knows that another suggestion from someone removed from what you are doing, can turn out pretty good.

    As for the theme music, it’s time to concentrate translating this scene notes into actual audio ideas. Last week I finally created the cue sheets that I’ll be sending to the director once I get some initial cue and hit music for the scenes. She spied a session pic of me working on it in studio and replied “I know it’ll sound good, take your time”. You know my steelo is to stay ahead of the game, so…..

    Anyway, time to hit the road….have a a good one.

    Peace,
    Fresh!