Right now in this wonderful moment there is a iPad screen. The top is flashing red, indicating an absorption, not unlike the human mind, of the sound of thoughts, had and allowed to be had at any moment, or any place. Just a few years ago, that same process was an improbability in the order of the average state lottery game, it just wasn’t available to the average musician, let alone average person. Yet, that iPad screen, with multiple audio inputs, and serviceable microphone, is beloved by parents for its generous screen size. It’s probably the most powerful tool no one’s said you could make a concerto with.
In 2005, an artist now known for his ability to work within a broad range of genres, gave an interview on a site filled with so much pretension, even then, that it makes sense that he found true mainstream success, in the last few years. He expounded upon the exploration of sound that took him all over the globe, to places where day-to-day life entailed making life or death choices just trying to walk down the street. In these places, he described making music, no matter the conditions, with bootleg software and a drive to want to make a sound to express himself. The sounds might not have originated with him but he made them their own. That’s how Diplo saved my life.
Music, the interview taught me, was something that would happen with the tools available to the artist.
Those tools are no longer, lifetimes of practice from the moments we were seen as fit, nor enormous investments in physical objects meant to handle specific tasks, though a place for both certainly exists. Those tools are now the everyday devices we tend to relinquish as mundane necessities in the day to day consumption of life.
Our computers enabled us for sometime to manage and organize our digital lives, but now we can manage entire studio work flows; having previously cost tens of thousands in equipment, or hourly rental times, now live in the place we pay our bills. While our phones and tablets, though limited by interface limitations, allow us to harness ideas and sounds, previously so elaborate they would be considered other worldly. And Lest we forget about web browsers alone, the power of algorithms enabling creation without any investment at but the time we wish to spend.
Music has forever been the expression we choose to envision, personally as well as professionally. We learn to express emotions, and allow others to swim in the wonder of the spaces between sounds. To spread that wonder, however, used to come with an air of compromise, as the gatekeepers of its flowering usually had something else in mind. No more is that worry with portals to share with (almost) every corner of this pale blue dot.
Technology today has allowed music to flow constantly, as the creator sits on train rides during rush hour commutes, playing with synthesized sounds, previously completely tied to boxes the size of your average walk in closet.
The freedom of information gives us clues as to how we can use those sounds to evolve our own possible sounds, while pulling the rug out from under the thought that those who make are those who have been taught how.
That iPad screens is still red at the top, still recording the unbalanced sounds of whatever the mind could translate onto its screen. Democratizing the entire notion of what it means to be a musician, no longer beholden to the traditional path. Letting the user forge a new path, allowed to the “go” diverge constantly, and bloom into personal divinity.