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The Early Years of Disco



As regular readers know, we’ve been fooling around in the Midnight Oil Studios labs, late at night, creating new songs with a number of leading digital instruments outside the software world of DAW. The hardware that might be used to program music today.

There’s the new member to the Midnight Oil Band (MOB) with the Korg Electribe Sampler, Music Production Work Station (to give you the headline copy and the sub-head copy written on the metallic pink machine that is the size of a sheet of legal sized paper, 8 inches by fourteen inches. Perhaps one of the most sophisticated modern Samplers out there.

I’ve been into Korg stuff since the late 80s when I bought Korg M1. It was a love affair with a brand of musical equipment I pursued over the years. The current MOB is composed of a Korg Kaossilator Prol Plus, A Korg Kross 88-Keyboard, a Korg MilniLouge Polyphonic Synthesizer, a Aleisis SR18 Drum System as well as Ableton Live software on our Mac and a number of IOS Apps on our iPad and iHone. Most are Korg Apps like the iWavestation. (Which one of our blogs are about).

Using samples called Patterns, I sequence a number of Patterns on the new Electribe Sampler. My sequencial programming is made by sequencing patterns in the Electribe. The authors of these patterns are of course the authors of these patterns. But then, how much of their patterns did they in fact Sample themselves?

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The song is inspired by those overly optimistic early years of disco when I was living and working in San Francisco. The mid 70s through the late 80s. The positivity and hope I saw at this time. Although I wasn’t a big part of the disco scene at the time, for me, its music permeated the times more than any other music. A strong beat into an unknown future. Traveling fast in a direction no one really knows much about. Those early years of this music and my early years in San Francisco. Three patterns are played in a sequence that expresses this period of time for me. Strangely, like some film playing itself out. And me, trying to figure out if I was an actor or director of the film. Or cinematographer. Or set designer.

It’s created from three patterns on the Electribe in a sequence that has relationship to drama. A statement of the theme in Pattern One, the confrontation in Pattern Two. Finally, a resolution in Pattern Three. We know from our screenwriting experience and use a dramatic sequence confrontation of various patterns, somewhat like a clash between Act One, Act Two and Act Three.

Can I take any credit for finding and putting these patterns of music together in a sequence?

What is the definition of a contemporary artist?

Who are these artists?

Does an artist of today create? Or does this artist assemble creations of others?

Is a modern artist one who samples the art of others and assembles it with others in a new way?

Browsing through the patterns on the Electribe, I discovered a trio of patterns written to be played together in some way. Like pieces in a suite. Written by one of the commissioned artists by Korg. I thought the patterns were unique and suggestive,. The piece below has that Paul McCartney feel of Having A Wonderful Time. A delayed sound in the music.

I strung the patterns together in a sequence and am using this for Tract One on for a new Song from our studio. The beginning of a new song. Using three programmed patterns for Tract One.




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