Electro-acoustic Musical Stew


Music is an organic thing… it changes, and it changes you. As an ethnomusicologist I concentrate on traditional acoustic music primarily, but it does not mean that is the end of the story. For my early years I have played music in bands… rock, electric, loud, none acoustic… then I left it. It was a conscious decision, logical and it was right for the time… the way I was, and I had no intension of returning to it until recently. But to help a friend get over an illness I played music with him, one of his goals was to play in a rock band and I did my best to encourage him to play, to learn and develop musically. I think he would have achieved this by himself, but while I was encouraging him, he was encouraging me without intending it. I started to be interested again in the guitar, an electric guitar.

My ‘Antoria’ left handed guitar was in my room collecting dust for years. It still had the blood splattered heavy gauge strings I had on in the 80s. I dusted it off and plugged it into my friends mini practice amp and fed the lead into my zoom vocal effects box. It was very familiar, like riding a bike… you never forget, you only loose the finer techniques.

With playing this guitar and playing with friends, old feelings came back to me, some of which I had forgotten about. The reason why I had left electric/rock music was that the whole music making “process” was actually stopping me from making music! If you think about it a rock musician needs not only a guitar, leads, effects boxes, but also amplifiers… and because the amps are loud you need a practice room to play them loud. You need transport to carry these big loud amplifiers, and drum kits to practice rooms, which cost money, and then you carry all this stuff to gigs… then you need a P.A. for the sound to be any good, and you need a reliable sound engineer who will not corrupt your sound (intentionally or not) … all this for a few songs… all of this to make music.

I am pleased to say my interest does not include getting back into all of that again. But it does include writing songs again, recording again and possibly performing again. It may not need a van load of equipment to accomplish my sound; it may only need 1 instrument and a computer on stage!

And before you say it “it is his mid-life crises”… all I can say it that I do not have a crises with my life, I have played different types of music since I was 7 years old… what I am doing now it re-looking at a genre of music and adding new elements to it from my life now… ethnic, electro acoustic, studio techniques, acoustic instruments, poetry, travels, academic experiments, rock, folk, etc. all the experiences that I have adopted which have influenced me will be in the mix… a big melting pot of musical stew… mmmmmmmm

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