Thursday, December 04, 2003

The Stuff of Dreams

Even in my advanced state of maturity (okay, I'm only 36, but the mileage is starting to show) I still have some dreams left. The imminent fulfillment of one of these dreams has got me all introspective and such, so I thought I would blather it here and see what comes out.

I've been a musical fella since I started saxophone lessons at age 7, branching out to the guitar, piano, trombone, euphonium, tuba, and vocal training throughout my formative years. As a youth I toyed a little with songwriting, never taking it seriously.

After marriage I spent a few years trying to find my legs and learn to be a responsible adult, setting some of my musical aspirations on the back burner.

About 13 years ago, or so, when things started to settle a little bit, I regained some of my musical interests and began dreaming of making music of my own; writing, recording, performing, etc. At that time Jean Michel Jarre was one of the big synthesizer artists, making much better music than that wuss Yanni can ever dream up, Jan Hammer was doing the Miami Vice soundtracks in his little studio with a Jupiter 8 and a DX7 on 1" tape, Chick Corea was making beautiful Jazz on a shoulder-strapped KX5, Herbie Hancock was performing Axel Foley's theme song, and Thomas Dolby was doing amazing things with a $100K Fairlight. I began to dream of having my own little multitrack studio, 16, or even 8 tracks, where I could lay down my own songs, cut some demos, and have a little fun, if not actually sell a song or two to some very desperate artist.

Well, in those days, you needed a solid $40K to put together a decent studio capable of outputting a professional demo, or you had to hire musicians, an engineer, and a studio, and give up a significant portion of your year trying to get everyone in the same place as you often enough to complete your project, and still the money was big. Plus in those days my chops weren't what they are today, but I digress.

I never really let go of my dream, but the cost was always prohibitive. I read Keyboard, Electronic Musican, and Mix magazine the way other guys read Playboy and Penthouse, drooling over equipment that was gorgeous and just what I wanted, but was always out of reach.

The advent of the Digital Audio Workstation, really the general democritization of recording technology, has changed all of that. I find myself on the verge of purchasing my very own recording studio. It won't be much, but with a Roland Workstation synth and a Zoom 8(10) track DAW (and a couple of mics/stands/effects, etc.) I'll be able to cut demos and master and burn my own CD's right from the comfort of my bedroom.

I'm giddy with anticipation. I can hardly contain myself. 13+ years of dreaming and I'm about to experience this particular fulfillment that for years I doubted would ever happen.

So what? I really don't know. That's where the introspection comes in. The practical part of me says that while this is fun, that perhaps I can sell a song or two, here and there, maybe to pay for a better preamp, a new reverb, a new ROM card for the synth, or even another sound module. God forbid I think about a better DAW.

But the emotional part of me is brimming with the possibilities that have nothing to do with selling anything, but that have everything to do with making the music I hear in my head audible to others, laying it down on CD to share with friends, family, and anyone else I can talk/trick into listening. Maybe some of it will actually be decent music. Dare I hope for good?

I think I do.

I ask myself if I am putting too much into this dream, thinking too much about it. I don't think I am. Sometimes it's better to let go and enjoy every moment of seeing something you've longed to see come to fruition. It's better to give yourself permission to simply glory in the Christmas morning type of wonder of receiving the perfect gift that is more than just a plastic thing to be broken, that was chosen because of who you are, through which you can express your unique character (no comments from the peanut gallery) and personhood, and through which you can, hopefully, grow a little bit.

Sappy? Sure. Like I care. I've got a song to write.


It's about me, dummy!!!


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