Monday, May 28, 2012

Getting Back to an Old Hobby - Part 1 (Background)

Music has been a part of my life for a long time. For those just tuning in, let's recap what all I've been listening to. Early on my exposure was whatever my dad would put on after dinner with which to relax, probably with a beer or glass of wine. Eric Clapton, Bob Marley, John Coltrane, and Miles Davis all stand out in my recollection. 

Through school I played a variety of instruments. First I started off with some Alto and Tenor Sax (which my dad had played - the latter being a mint condition Selmer Mark VI from the mid 50's or 60's if I recall correctly. Legit.) Later on I focused on Bb Trumpet in some concert and jazz bands. Did pretty damn well too if I say so myself. Toward the end of middle school and beginning of high school I had on a pretty typical array of stuff - The Deftones, Sevendust, Korn, Static X, Staind, Powerman 5000, Black Sabbath, Godsmack, that kinda thing. Pretty fucking narrow in scope. Thankfully as I got into guitar, my teacher in Red Bank picked up on what little Sabbath, Hendrix, and Clapton I mentioned and opened my tastes up a bit. I got into some Pat Martino, Joe Satriani, Steve Vai, Wes Montgomery and such. Also had the opportunity to see Les Paul play in NYC before he passed away. 

That's when I got into music writing and recording, and that's the shit I really want to get back into. At the time I was using some version of Cool Edit (now bought out and has become Adobe Audition) and Hammerhead (now available as a touch app I see) and a pretty hack mic setup in my room with a single guitar and Marshall 2x12 solid state combo amp. I'll have to see if I can dig up some recorded bits of stuff from then. Admittedly, it was mostly pretty weak. 

With my new house, I'm dedicating a room to all things audio related:

It's a work in progress. There's a power amp on the way for that rack space to power the reference speakers, and I need to get my mom to ship out the rest of my old guitars and effects out here and get them set up. I also sprung for a legit copy of Pro Tools, which was actually relatively affordable when included with the I/O box there. For sampling and sequencing I stepped up to an Akai MPC1000. I'll have a guitar amp set up, but for most recording I might just go direct through the Line 6 POD there on the far left. Now that I think about it, maybe it would be worth getting the POD plug-in for Pro Tools. I think that would allow me to record a guitar track "dry" and dick around with settings, effects, etc downstream. 

As an aside, it was only when I was at the end of high school and got into college that I started listening to a lot more of my current music selection. That includes a selection of electronica - Hybrid, BT, Moby, Deadmau5, Zero 7, Daft Punk, Exodus Quartet - mostly on account of Greg introducing me to all of it. Moreover though, tons of hip hop. I love the sound of a lot of the music and production out of the NY area in the early 90's - A Tribe Called Quest, the Beastie Boys, Camp Lo, and anything produced by Pete Rock or DJ Premier. Most recently I'm really enjoying the sounds coming out of the Raleigh area with 9th Wonder, Little Brother and others on Jamla Records... and some west coast sounds as well. People Under the Stairs comes to mind.

Still haven't gotten into the whole country scene.

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