Archive for November, 2012

Can Computers Make Music?

Posted by on November 30th, 2012

I’ve been taking classes in music production from Berklee College of Music Online recently, and one thing that has really struck home with me lately is how much computers have changed the nature of music production. Having done computer-based production for quite some time, it was not exactly news to me that computers have made making music easier and more affordable. It’s great that I can produce professional-quality music in my basement. However, it’s also now feasible, even easy, to make music without even being a musician. You don’t have to be able to play an instrument or sing on key anymore. You can easily string together clips of other people playing their instruments and make a new song out of it. You can use software to correct all the sour notes that come out of your mouth or via your fingers. You don’t have to be able to play in time, either. The software will correct your timing and even easily change your playing to have a more natural-sounding feel. It’s kind of frightening, really.

I won’t deny having taken advantage of various studio trickery in my time, but I will say that I value real people playing real instruments in real time over constructing the illusion of such with software. I hear the glossy, over-the-top productions on the radio these days, and see the Photoshopped photos on the covers of magazines and get angry, frankly. In “We Can Love” I wrote, “I’m so tired of plastic faces on every screen/The real world is marked with scars, the sacred and obscene”. I really feel like we’ve lost something, that the surface appearance of things is valued more that the substance. The illusion of crystalline perfection can’t truly mask the emptiness underneath, though. I have to believe that the countless hours I spent learning to play and improve my technique, and all the time I’ve performed for an audience, lend my music something that can’t be truly simulated by computer software. Otherwise, what was the point?

New Video – “What’s This Music For?

Posted by on November 26th, 2012

Just uploaded a new video for “What’s This Music For?”.  The theme song for this blog, as it were.

Genre Roulette

Posted by on November 9th, 2012

In diving into the murky world of marketing, I discovered that I needed to identify what genre of music Chameleon Red falls under.  I quickly ran smack dab into the modern phenomenon of genre proliferation.  Take a look at this list and you’ll see how ridiculous things have gotten:

Look, I understand the need to differentiate between different flavors of music to some degree.  But genre distinctions are only useful if they’re reasonably well-known by a significant portion of the population.  If you say “Sadcore”, “Shoegaze”, or “Slowcore”, that means nothing to me and a whole lot of other people.  In fact, those genres are hotly disputed even among people who do know what they’re supposed to be, so there’s no real agreement on what they really are.  It all seems a bit cliquish and elitist to me, this painstaking categorization of bands into these tiny little categories and fighting to say who belongs in and who is out.

It’s this kind of narrow division between different kinds of music that (along with near monopolistic corporate control) has stagnated broadcast radio and satellite radio.  As a listener, I am quickly bored by hearing the same old thing all the time.  I want to be challenged.  I want a wide variety of things to listen to, and it doesn’t matter if I don’t like it all.  I’m being exposed to things outside of my comfort zone, which is a good thing.  And as a musician, I don’t like to be restricted on what I can and can’t play in order to fit a rigidly defined microgenre.

Inclusion rather than exclusivity.  Broad community vs. cliques.  Looking for commonality rather than differentiation.  In my opinion, that’s what it’s all about.  So what’s our genre?  Maybe you can put each individual song in a particular category, like folk-rock, hair metal, funk, country-rock, etc., but to me, it all falls under the heading of Rock.  And that’s as specific as I want to be.

What’s Happening?

Posted by on November 2nd, 2012

In case you were wondering what we’re up to these days, here’s a little update.  We’re hard at work on recording the basic tracks for our next album.  We have close to twenty songs we’re planning on recording, including unrecorded songs from the backlog and newer tunes; not all of them will be on the next album but they will be heard sooner or later.  We’re excited about the material; there’s straight-ahead rock but also more jazz and soul influences, country, and even raga-funk.  I feel the new album will be a worthy successor to Transposition.

Speaking of which, we are still producing new videos for songs from Transposition; the latest one is “Vibrations”.  Additionally, we’re exploring the possibility of presenting the whole opera, in some form or fashion, in a series of twenty-eight videos.  Yes, it’s ambitious, but why not dream big?  If you want to keep up with us more closely, make sure you sign up on our mailing list.  TTFN.