Tuesday, 15 July 2008
So much has changed in the past 15 years.
Back in the day, £10k would get you little more than an entry-level studio set-up - good for demos, but lacking any real polish except in the hands of 'the rare genius'. There was a profound disconnection between the artist & the idea, and the end-user (that being the clubbed up drug monkey), to such an extent that the joining of the dots from creation to delivery relied on a series of conjoined professions, from engineers to producers to the cutting room, from the pressing plant to the postie to the dubplate.
It all cost money, it cost time (lots of it) and in many ways, the resources to genuinely express the inner workings of the creative mind, were not yet available. At each stage of the process, there were third parties sticking in their oar. Some might argue that this reliance on dedicated professionals led to a more finely honed end product; others might put the opposing view that their involvement diluted the creative process, but there's no disputing the simple fact that we now live in an era where instant gratification is seen as an unimpeachable right!
This is no bad thing, but as producers and DJs we need to adapt and we need to change. Would Mozart be scrawling his ideas on manuscript paper if he were alive today, or would he be exploring the outer reaches of modern sound production with his pioneering spirit at the fore? The fact is that the 'halcyon' years we grew up with were not the utopian, rose-tinted times we like to credit them for, they were simply the times that had the most impact on us during our formative years.
The days of staggering around America with a big steel box full of dubplates I'd got freshly cut for the trip at Abbey Road are, thankfully, a distant memory (although my spine still needles me about it from time to time). Nowadays, we are about file management, re-editing tracks on the fly, programming radio mixes on long hauls, networking through myspace, facebook, bebo, chatting in realtime ... blogging on the fly. Anywhere that has an internet connection means that my 'office' is operational, and it's the first thing I do whenever I arrive at a hotel, or an airport.....
..... which really brings me to this new blog of mine. Here's a concept that encapsulates the new aesthetic, the demand for instant gratification, the 'out-of-the-box' culture that we're now so subsumed in. All too often download sites can become like sifting through a musty library, randomly categorized and full of unreadable, incomprehensible tomes, far from the instant gratification they purport to offer.
I've been discussing this with people on my forum [ http://www.strongarmsessions.co.uk/techfunk ] for some time now, and there's a consensus evolving that is demanding more 'personal' input from artists, journalists, fans, to de-mystify the library, and to give the whole experience more of a human face. So here's that human face :)
I'm not setting out with these slabs of blah to do anything other than filter some of the flotsam & jetsam of my own experiences and thoughts right back at you; filtered, processed and imbued with a humanity that I hope some of you can relate to. These will be regular 'blogs' from the front line, ranging from travelogues to musings on the state of the industry, from the current crop of tech-funk tuneage to insights behind the studio door in sound, and vision.
More to follow ...