Wednesday, May 03, 2006

max/msp and the end of burnout

i've been burned out for 2 years. not that all encompassing, depressed all the time, suicidal burnout...no...more of a slow burn, like damp grass; just smoking but no fire. thats been me; smoking but no fire.

I've managed totrace back to when it may have started. when i lived in San Francisco, i was a street performer and i was pretty good. i was my own boss, made my own rules, made enough money to live on and party a bit...nice. but i wanted to make a lmark so i went europe and ended up in london playing with Soul II Soul, among others, in night clubs. i basically used my powers to make DJs look dope by designing sounds that would intensify th vibe of the evening. my thought was that i would become an indespensible part of the dance music landscape, and i did, to a degree, but i was more novelty than respected artist, BUT i was making decent money and playing in big clubs.

somewhere along the way, i startd getting bored. i started sabotaging my fledgling career, and i stopped designing sounds and overusd the ones i had, ad nauseum. then i started turning down gigs and stayed at home alot, although i did do enough to pay bills [somewhat]. i thought i was just home sick, but...

upon arriving back in the US, i hit the ground running. going from club to club the spread the beatjazz gospel, but it was not as well recieved or understood as it was in europe, so i moved to NYC and found an audience that was reasonably receptive. and then came a 4 night a week gig at a club called The Pink Elephant, which should have made me very happy, but i still wasnt writing, and i was usually really drunk by the end of a gig. alcohol helped me delay the analysis phase for quite a few months and it wasnt until i was playing a particular gig and realized that, once again, iwas no more than a novelty and no one wanted that to change. at that point i quit the NY club scene. and started my life as a nomadic digital artist.

in the last 2 weeks i've gained a sense of clarity that i have not felt in years. i realized that i had allowed my skills and talents to be subjugated out of fear that i couldnt do it by myself. and one of the fantastic things about controlled homelessness is that i can go to events and other places without regard to time. and the other night iwent to an event called SHARE, which is a laptop based jam session for more sound art based music and this is where i discovered Max/Msp.

Max/Msp is an electronic musicians toolkit to create and control any and everything that he/she can imagine. i had seen and heard of it before, but dismissd it as too academic for my funky/jazz based sensibilities., but soon discovered, from talking to one of the artists, that this system is exactly what i have been searching for for over 3 years!!

i've been trying to create a way to play, control and improvise ALL elements of a song, from my wx5 wind midi controller. i though i would be able to do it in ableton live or in FL studio, but have not generated anything that i would call clever, in the least, then, after my chat at SHARE, i discovered that i can, thru a graphical programming laguage interface, similar to a flow chart, create the system i designed,very easily. all of a sudden, the clouds are gone, the birds are chirping, children are dancing in the streets and all is right in the world in a way that it hasnt been in a very long time. i feel like an artist again, thanks to Max/Msp.

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