David Frank

music production

Am I Alone


Last night I was laying there sleepless thinking about the affairs of the day. I had called my music publisher in search of a copy of a System song Mic Murphy and I had done called “Why you Wanna Hurt Me”. It was a B side of a single from our album Rhythm and Romance. In the process, Peter, who is curator of the music library at Sony/ATV/EMI publishing, told me that he had just been listening to “Juicy Fruit” a song I had done quite bit of synthesizer arranging and playing on. Juicy Fruit’s track had also become “Juicy” by Notorious BIG a few years later.
That got me thinking about musical devices. In Juicy Fruit I had come up with an out of tempo arpeggio-like ascending pattern that, now that I think of it, was very thematic with the subject matter of the original song. Slowing the tempo of the DSX sequencer down and starting very slowly I played the pattern without quantization and gradually sped up as I approached the top of the keyboard and then repeated the pattern in the top octave a number of times thinking we would fade it out each time while recording to tape. Then I sped the tempo up. There were no delay FXs used.
I started thinking about the chord scale texture within the the arpeggiated pattern and how it related to the chords in “Juicy Fruit” and then my mind wandered to the last chord of Chopin’s Prelude in F major sometimes called the ‘Butterfly’ and the way it’s last chord is an F dominant 7 which makes it almost like the ending to a Blues/Rock song (written circa 1824 !!) and then the end of Chopin’s revolutionary etude rang in my head…My mind wandered around thinking of other musical perfections and anomolies that I celebrate the existence of….and then I suddenly felt very alone. Was I the only one left who thought about this stuff? In a world filled with time stretched ascending portamento-izes buildups to drops that impact with sub bass, are the subtleties and the possibilities of intricate beauty and meaning in harmonic motion being left behind in favor of simplistic manipulation of kinda cool features of software programs??
I am definitely in favor of computer related technical virtuosity and rhythmic urgency and feel. I believe in using technical possibilities even if they involve no skill or playing technique. If it sounds good who cares! I have spent many an hour trying to get the perfect sweep or noise crash into or out of a chorus or verse or alternatively have found it in an instant in a library or a turn of a knob or slight mouse movement. I know that pure excitement has its place and some songs or musical entities are meant to be just that. But am I alone in my appreciation of an emotionally stirring musical chord/melodic progression or simple yet profound harmonically derived musical device. If you feel as I feel (anyone see V for Vendetta? 😉 )
than it’s time to write more music!! We can move it all forward with just one hit song.

Playing technique, harmonic knowledge and fluency combined with a thorough understanding and fluidity on your software instruments and DAW will win the day.

Hope I’m not alone.