Dream Of The Singing Machines
The Experiment (4-6-2015 thru 4-6-2016)
My challenge is to build a fully functional Electronic Music production studio for $2300.00. The Rack has to contain no fewer than three physical synthesizers and at least one home-made (DIY) electronic musical device. It must have the capacity to independently create and produce consumer quality recordings, be flexible enough to accommodate multiple live performance situations, while remaining compact enough to completely fit into a standard 28-inch luggage case.
Nearly all the gear has been acquired through Internet purchases with no hands-on demos and no “test drives.” I’m putting trust in my thorough research, honest user reviews, and the assumption of truthful marketing.
The chaotic unknown is a vital part of this experiment, so not only is this an experiment of figuring out what gear and instruments to purchase, but also an adventure of learning how to use them.
The concept of this studio has been built up over time, and until recently only existed on little scraps of paper. Now that most of the gear has arrived and I’m connecting it all together, I’ve begun to realize how difficult and complicated of a challenge this might actually be. It’s an uneasy yet exciting sort of feeling.
For the next year, I’m going to document working with this $2300.00 electronic music production studio and share what happens here on this website. I’m excited to see how I’ll adapt to a completely new approach to creating electronic music and eager to experience the adventure I’m sure it’ll become.
Some Back Story
Not long ago, I was living on the streets of Seattle Washington. I was homeless, sleeping in my Jeep, and completely broke. My stubbornness had caused me to lose nearly everything.
When you find yourself in a situation like that, you get a great deal of perspective about what’s really important in life and what’s just background noise. You also find allot of time on your hands to reflect about what you’ve given up along the way.
I wasn’t too heartbroken about losing “stuff.” Those are just unimportant things you acquire. My personal sorrow was losing friends, damaging relationships, and nearly destroying myself completely on a couple of occasions.
I hear people say, “I have no regrets.” I think to myself, “Well then, you probably haven’t been around long enough.”
Understanding the decisions you’ve made and being at peace with those choices is one thing – that’s wisdom.
When I think of regret, I feel a wringing knot of wasted opportunity and missed potential twisting in my gut.
Regardless of belief system, I think most of use can agree that we all have a limited amount of time in this life. And if that’s the case, why spend a minute more doing anything that doesn’t make you happy?
I know that idea sounds ignorantly over-simplified in a world as complex as this. But, even if it is, it’s sad and frustrating how few people I meet in this life aren’t even willing to attempt to be happy – people who believe happiness isn’t even an option.
While at the lowest time of my life, the question became; if I took the distraction and need for acquiring money or possessions out of the equation, who or what in this world would I really want to be? What would make me happy?
If I could erase the need for a “Job,” and choose a “Vocation,” the distinction being as Alan Watts aptly points out, something I must do versus something I love to do, what would that Vocation be?
For me, the answer was obvious. I am a Musician. Creating music is my happiness.
With these thoughts occupying my mind, a mental game that kept me going through the most unpleasant parts of my homeless experience was dreaming about rebuilding the music studio I had lost.
During those times, it was like indulging the fantasy of, “What would you do if you won the lottery?”
I would spend hours sketching out the rebirth of my electronic music studio. I filled it with a synthesizer collection that might make Vince Clark blush with envy – and designed a studio control room that to cause Spike Stint to squee with delight.
Then I realized, I was once again getting completely caught up in the idea of money and possessions.
Cash wasn’t going to make me a better Musician. And besides, who has the time to learn how to use all of that gear? I’m a Musician, not a Studio Engineer or dedicated Producer.
I had an epiphany.
What kind of studio could I build with $2,300? What would a studio look like built within those limits, and what could realistically be accomplished with it? I pushed the illusion of winning the lottery aside, and instead embraced this new challenge.
Part of appreciating what you have, I reasoned, is learning how to utilize those gifts to their maximum potential.
This is the distilled and finest essence of the often-abused phrase, “Learn to do more with less.” It’s not a matter of doing without; it’s the excitement of finding creative solutions to complex problems.
Some propose that if you’re going to dream, then dream big. It’s become clearer to me in recent times that I’d rather dream small, and nurture that fragile construct into a vibrant and clear reality. Then I want to share that dream with others.
I want to be the elegant turbulence of organizing matter – to witness the alignment of intent and the fulfillment of purpose. This is my “Dream Of The Singing Machines.”
April 6, 2015 @ 23:00pm
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