Old people, huh? They just don’t get electronic music (there are exceptions of course… but it would be terribly rude of me to exemplify them as being old. Perhaps you guys would like to do it in the comments!).
Right up until the point where she completely gave up feigning interest, my grandma would ask me lots of difficult questions about the music I make…
“Is it like swing, then?”
“Well, no, not really gran. Tell you what – take a listen!”
“What am I listening to?”
“The music I made.”
“But what bit did you do?”
“All of it! Perhaps think of it like a composition.”
“I don’t think I understand, Christopher. It’s just… it’s not really music, is it?”
You can’t blame her, of course; the sounds we’re used to hearing are sometimes so far removed from the acoustic sounds of the youth of our elders that it sometimes just grates in the way that different genres can be difficult for us to get into because they’re different to what we’re used to.
That’s precisely my point for this week’s assignment: a good song is a good song regardless of the instruments it’s played on, so perhaps the blame laid with me after all. Maybe we do rely too much on ‘cool’ sounds and not enough on making our instruments say something. Listen to this track by Lowell Fulson – really listen to it – and see if you can’t imagine it being replayed in so many ways, with so many instruments, in so many styles.
All this from a track from 1950 (that’s 62 years ago for the arithmetically lazy), using a brush drum kit, double bass, piano and sax.
So, go forth, break out a piano patch and write a song instead of a bunch of sounds. Don’t worry about a beat, go for a groove. Good luck, and post your results in the forums!