Friday, October 14, 2011

Blows Against The (Expensive) Empire

I’ve spent a lot of time recently thinking about music workstations.

I’ve written about the Korg Kronos and the Jupiter-80. And I’ve posted about the differences between arranger workstations and synthesizer workstations.

On Not Playing A Synth Workstation #1

On Not Playing A Synth Workstation #2

But at some point it is worth stepping back from all these machines and thinking about music in general, and the technology available today.

Music workstations—even arranger workstations—can cost thousands of dollars. Even inexpensive workstations typically depend on expensive computer packages to complete the music-making environment.

But how much of that is really necessary? How much of that, really, maybe, might even get in the way?

I posted last month in A Flute Landscape that I’ve been interested lately in music played through tiny, inexpensive speakers.

Today is a sample of that.

Everything today is battery operated. I could have been sitting in a parking lot playing and recording today’s little song. (I thought about doing that, but, to be honest, as I get older, people looking at me like I’m nuts becomes less and less fun.) It’s just my notebook computer, my Tascam GT-R1 and my Boss DB-90.

This song is my own big note/easy play arrangement of Jefferson Airplane’s “Have You Seen The Stars Tonight?” off their “Blows Against The Empire” album. (I don’t like the album, but I love this song.) I’ve posted the lyrics of this song three times, that’s how much I love this song, here and here and then here. (The album version is available on iTunes, off an album called, “Jefferson Airplane Love songs.” I’m not sure the Airplane was a ‘love song’ kind of group.) Down below, at the bottom of the post, there is a youTube embed of Paul Kantner himself doing a full-on hippie version of “Have You Seen The Stars Tonight” but without Grace Slick.

Here’s my version, played through a tiny little speaker:

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And here’s Paul Kantner with a real San Francisco version. And being Paul Kantner, he gets to have a real hippie girl sing with him. (This is actually "Have You Seen the Stars Tonite", "X-M", and "Starship" but cuts off at 7:20 for some tech youTube reason):

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