Glimpses At Retro Future.

There’s a lot to say on the subject of recording. I haven’t released any in a long time, have I? The irony is amazing to me; I thought I could only realistically progress as a Recording Artist; live music was so inaccessible. Now, my life has been about playing live for so long, I can barely remember what recording is like.

The process has, for me, got wrapped up in a lot of nonsense. I’m a songwriter. Wrestling with which brand of compressor to buy won’t make me a better songwriter, but I’ve put a lot of time into that anyway. That’s a subtle, sneaky kind of procrastination. Tools are shiny. It’s very tempting to think you always need the shiniest. I’m learning to know my space; shiny toys are best left to technical types that can find joy in that. I actually don’t, but I have a lazy procrastinating streak that thinks the job is all about the tools.

The clue here isn’t to avoid/minimise technology. Technology can be emotive, and emotive is where we must head. You have to be truly in love with something to do it well.

And through a vortex of musical discovery with my Better Half, we find ourselves listening to the synthesizer.

Synths interest me, but I don’t *love* them. But through my Better Half’s love of Synthwave, the genre of EDM that time travels itself to the mid-80s, I’m reminded that I *did* love them dearly. As a kid, I listened to Vangelis a lot, thanks to my dad giving me a cassette of the album China. I loved the big, spooky noises, the dramatic chord changes, the delicate melodies.

Being a child in the 80s was all about movies. Of course it was. And movies had soundtracks. Perhaps alarmingly, may brother and I were allowed to watch Terminator at a *really* young age. Brad Fiedel’s synth score was forever uploaded to memory.

And from there, it’s easy to get emotionally invested in technology. It’s super emotive to me, Synthwave makes me feel like a kid again. And of course, that’s it’s purpose for a certain age group. The defaultness of this is fascinating to me. It’s simply to do with age; I’d get a similar feeling from different music if I’d born in a different decade, surely?

But there is an emotional playground. It doesn’t make me crave a nostalgia fix in my work, though. I’m still looking to the future. I used to pride myself on always trying to push forward, oblivious to the necessity of looking back for clues. I can’t reinvent music. To quote Steve Via: I’m not original, and nor is anyone else. Except The Shaggs.

But still, in this old sounds, I hear the future. I hear what I imagined my life would be like now. And yes, my lack of hoverboard is so painfully obvious. And cars still have wheels. I feel cheated.

Childhood is imagination. Mine wasn’t good. It was painful. It was hard. My body didn’t work. My imagination was my escape. But at some point, recording music stopped being my imagination, and started being my career choice. It stopped being something I needed, and became something I had to do to play some game imagined by the music industry I felt alienated from anyway…

Yawn. How unimaginative.

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