Current Midnight Oil Band / 2020
(The below piece is dedicated to Memorial Day 2020, just a few days away as I write this tonight. This particular Memorial Day seems the most important one for remembering the past when the present and future have dominated the nation’s mindset so much over the past few months. Yet, if we can’t celebrate the past in our Memorial Day, we will ever be able to celebrate our present or our future.)
Just a little over a minute in length. No more than another idea for a song. On Track 1 is recorded the Korg Kross 2 in Combi Mode using the Synth Pad Program at 43 titled Kids From Space. Playing is real time on the high keys while a touch of bass and drums in the lower part of the keyboard. Split into two keyboards. with the Arpeggiator. On Track 2, the Korg Electribe Sampler using Advisory Program and the Arpeggiator on the pad with Part 4 and soiunds between various jungle animals and a laughing man. Recordedd on a Lumix FZ 1000 using a Rode VideoMic Plus. The title of the program was good – how couild anyone come up with a better title than Kids From Space. So, that’s what it is. The Kross curs out at about 50 seconds and the Electribe completes the piece at 1:06. A part of some larger piece or project. The melody is too pretty to pass up.
The Legendary Album / Rosetta Stone of Jazz Albums
Listening a lot to 1960 Miles Davis and his album Neferiti, Milestones, Kind of Blue and Sketches of Spain. They play constantly on a giant loop in the office for a few days as I write a few more blogs and think about something larger like a novel or screenplay in the back of my mine. The combination of writing and playing music is a good combination for the period of the lockdown my mind is at right now. Neither of my writing or music muses dominates right now. For the first time, they have been able to live together peacefully.Listening to Miles is listening to vast modes of music, great plateaus reached and stayed at for awhile. It is not the Charlie Parker explosions of sound. Rather, with Miles a slow movement of music with his muted horm exploring certain levels of sound for an entire song or record or lifetime as an artist. the colored oil in lava lamps.
Incredible electronic instruments like Korg allow the creation of music like never before. But more than the creation of music (with the three Korg machines I’ve moved back up to the office from the basement) it seems to really be a discovery of music already put into these machines. This makes for a very interesting artistic relationship with these instruments. What kind of relationship does a modern musician have with these amazing digital music making instruments with all of the sounds already in them?
How does one approach these incredible music tools? I’ve had Korg equipment since the late 80s and have been fooling around with a home recording studio off and on since then. I’m like my father in this way as he loved music also, had a jazz band in college at LSU and then when we were living in Dayton, Ohio, a top stereo system. He loved his recording equipment and had the finest of the day. But the studio I have is so much smaller and better than all the equipment he had. He would not believe what modern musical instruments can do.
The New Studio
The major change of music in the digital era is that life in the form of programs are allowed to be put into the machines. This is not the case with regular (non-digital) musical instruments. A muscian can disregard all of the music already in these machines and begin creating original music using none of the pre-made programs. But the real challenge for me has been exploring the incredible music that has been placed in these machines by a host of different modern musical programmers. In effect, much modern music moves towards sampling already created sounds rather than making one’s own sound. The fact is, there has to be some genre of modern electronic music involved with using programs already on the instruments rather than creation new programs.There is a universe to discover on these machines and exploring their Modes and Programs and music already put into these machines. One can use this music and yet edit it at the same time so some amazing new sounds can be reached.
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What am I saying? A lot of what I’m saying is posted to my blog Midnight Oil Studios website and blogging site combined. Much of my writing, photos, films, music posted on this site. Together with continuing blogs. 305 blogs to the site in late May 2020 for a five year old site. Perhaps the reason the big writing project has not been tackled over these years? Will be posting more ideas like this on our YouTube channel. But I hang out mostly with posts to the websire at https://midnightoilstudios.org. Find my email on the site on the About page.
Best to all in this crazy period of life.
PS … I’m thinking of changing the name from the Midnight Oil Band to Kids From Space. Any thoughts on this?
(John Fraim is the author of Spirit Cather: The Life & Art of John Coltrane, among other works)