The Age of Machines

I’ve been looking for a good blog post to open the blog back up with and I think this is a good one. I’ve been noticeably absent for the last few years, as I just went through a separation and divorce that went final nearly four years later; the time in between was understandably filled with all sorts of adjustments to my new life.

My music simply became a causality of that interstitial space. For me to write music, I need to be of a relaxed and open mindset more or less and I found it difficult to sit down and focus on it when I had so many other things to worry about. I know many people find music to be an outlet and even therapeutic and I admit I enjoyed listening to it quite a bit during this period, but for me, I was missing the child like fascination with sounds I needed to be able to explore and look at them from the twisted, objective view point I tend to use a lot when I write music.

I work almost exclusively with samples and recorded audio and I suppose in this day and age it’s an antiquated workflow, but to me, sounds are galaxies in their own right, waiting to be explored; with a little persuasion, a passing flock of sea gulls can become the sound of shimmering starlight. As captured audio, any sound can be liberated from its origin and become anything you dream up and most of the time, the sound inspires visions inside of me and the end product is much more different from what I had intended at the start of the process.

For that, you need be able to free yourself; to be free to chase the rabbit down the hole and see where it leads, to jump on the raft and set sail for mysterious and dangerous islands far away. And quite unfortunately, it’s something I found I can’t do when my mind is shackled to something else.

So why this post and why this track? I guess because all things after a time must end and then all that’s left to do is get up, dust yourself off and to go on living, if you’re one of the lucky few that made it that far. In that sense, endings are also about new beginnings and where else a better place to start my first, new blog post at the end of my purgatory, back at the beginning?

The Age of Machines was the first ambient track I ever set out to write as program music. I’m borrowing from classical music here, as the term means that the piece of music is written with the intent of the imagery it conjures up and the story it tells, rather than simply the way it sounds; the most obvious examples that come to mind are Vivaldi’s The Four Seasons and Stravinsky’s The Rite of Spring.

I recall at the time I was browsing pictures of WW1 online and being a student of social sciences, I’ve always been fascinated with how our interactions with the Earth, technology, culture and so many other things are intertwined. At the time, rapid industrialization was bringing the world into the modern age and for the most part, it was terrifying to many people who were seeing their lives, lifestyles and livelihoods transformed forever. On those twisted and misshapen battlefields, I wondered if perhaps people weren’t simply food and fodder for their new mechanical masters in a sort of nightmare become reality that manifested itself as an existential horror.

I think I worked in this close to ten or so years ago and I actually thought I lost it, but I recently recovered it when I hooked up and old HDD to go through my old samples and sounds and I was really glad to have found it again. I think it’s a good idea to save everything you work on as it represents a journey in one way or another and I think listening to it again can take us right back to those long forgotten places.

So as of now, I’ve gotten my sound moved over to my laptop, some VSTs reinstalled and I worked out an tangled knot with why my Launch Pad and Control XL wouldn’t work with the Live 9 they shipped with. I think it was because they sat on the shelf so long, Live had moved on to the 10 and they simply became incompatible with 9. Side note, I bought those for myself as a pick me up after I became separated and getting them up and running now became a bit of a victory over that point in time.

Anyway, I’m making strides towards being up and running again. I hope to have a new desk and gear purchases soon as well. I hope you enjoyed the track and my first real blog post!