How Now, Ableton?

I have spent the last 6 weeks woodshedding on Ableton. It’s a recording software program, what they call a DAW- a digital audio workstation. Just writing those words kinda gives me hives, just so you know where I’m coming from. My background is as a musician, as a singer, no less. The connection with an audience is important to me. So sitting here inputting digits, creating content….well, I have nothing against creating content, per se. If I call it a song and you call it content, it’s all good. As long as you are paying.

But I do believe I have strengths, that we all have strengths, each one of us, and mine don’t particularly include audio engineering. So why am I sitting behind a desk pretending to be an audio engineer?

Well, this is one of the questions I’ll be attempting to answer as I continue writing this blog. Others include What is Music? Why is it important? How does it function in our lives now? you know, all the silly stuff that passes through a musician’s mind on any given day. The fact is that I am primarily a writer and singer, and I would like nothing more than to hand over all engineering duties to someone who actually knows and cares about this stuff. I am not laboring under the delusion that it is unimportant. Quite the contrary– production value and production decisions are often the most important part of how a song sounds or if it gets any play. Which is why I’d like to hand it over to a real pro as soon as possible.

But I can’t. The short answer is, I can’t afford to. I’m not making enough to afford an engineer. But there’s a longer view which appreciates the musicality of the art of audio engineering, that is curious to play in that part of the pond. I suppose some of it has to do with not wanting to feel entirely out of step with modern music. I don’t cede music to the button-pushers, oh no, and the kind of music I like and listen to will never be absent the human touch, but there is a human touch to engineering too. As well as whimsy, curiousity, experimentation. And if I can’t become an expert in the field (which at this late date, I certainly can’t), I can get to the point where I know what I’m playing with. I know what the parameters are, to use the argot of the day. To know what the hell I’m doing. Is that too much to ask? We’ll see. Or rather, hear. So…listen up. Tuesdays and Fridays. Stay tuned.