Shaping Up While Riding the Break
To start off I'd just like to send my best wishes to all of my friends, family, and readers both near and far. We're all going through a very strange time, and I just want you all to know that even if we haven't really talked in a while, or have never talked at all, I'm wishing you the best in hopes that we'll all make it through this unscathed, and emerge as stronger and more mindful individuals than we were before.
Surprisingly enough this past month has flown by. I guess that's what happens when every day is pretty much a continuation of the last. Hannah and I have been passing the time by knocking out household projects that we've let pile up on our to-do list. A lot of organizing, donating clothing and kitchenware, fixing minor plumbing issues in our bathroom, rearranging furniture, and more organizing. All of these projects kept us occupied for a good week or two, until, as if magically, they were all done. It's amazing how much you can get done when you really have nothing else to do. We've been spending a lot of time cooking and preparing our own meals. For once we're actually using all of our produce instead of letting it sit around for weeks only to let it end up in the trash bin. One huge silver-lining in all of this downtime is finally being on a normal sleep schedule. This break from working late nights has really done wonders for my circadian rhythm. Waking up with the sun and going to sleep at a decent hour has really helped with clearing my head and giving me a fresh mindset.
With all of this extra time on our hands we've both been doing our best in staying productive and working on developing our passions. Hannah's been working hard at getting her website up, along with constantly looking into various organizations and virtual events to find opportunities where she can offer her help. We've both been doing a good amount of reading, finally getting around to picking up some of the books that we somehow continue to accumulate on our shelves. Other than reading for pleasure i've been spending most of my time burying my head into the user manuals of my music equipment. I've finished reading the manual for the Moog Subsequent 37 which opened up a whole new world of components and functions that I previously had no idea existed. I look forward to further explore and experiment with these features once I finish the rest of the material on my plate. I'm currently reading through the Ableton 10 manual and taking notes. This read should take me a good while, I'm about a 7th of the way through, but have already learned and reaffirmed a lot of key concepts as well as shortcuts that will help speed up my work flow. I've also downloaded a handy music making guide for Ableton; it's more of a handbook to help spark ideas while going through the song writing process. I plan on reading through this once I finish reading the manual. I'm sure it'll be a nice change of pace from all of this technical reading.
Both Moog and Ableton have released some free materials to help everyone stay occupied during quarantine. Here's what I've found to be very useful for those who are interested.
Ableton is offering a FREE 90 Day Trail of the 10 Suite!
Also, That Music Making Guide for Ableton is currently FREE as PDF download on their website.
For anyone new to working with digital audio workstations or interested in crafting beats I would highly recommend checking this out. Ableton is great for recording live sounds, but what really makes this program stand out is how they also designed it to be a playable instrument. It's like a sampler on steroids.
Moog's Minimoog Model D app is FREE
If you want a great analog synth experience without forking over the money for a physical one, don't look any further. the sound quality is great, and its super easy to get lost for hours tweaking and experimenting with different sounds while also learning the fundamentals of modular synthesis.
I'm not sure when these promotions are going to end, but they're definitely worth taking advantage of if you'd like to learn more about music production and sound engineering.
I think it's very important that these companies are lending and even giving away these resources. I think that keeping a focus in learning something new during this time of stagnancy is really going to be beneficial. Not only to pass the time, but also to come out of this social distancing with a new set of skills and maybe even a new passion that wasn't feasible to explore before.
With all of this being said I'm happy to announce that I've begun putting together an EP with material that has been pieced together only using the instruments and samples offered in Ableton. So far I'm finding it a great practice exercise, I usually put together my material with live instruments and sounds that I record. So limiting myself to only using what's offered in Ableton is definitely helping to broaden my horizons and become more proficient in the software. I'm looking forward to sharing the outcomes of these experiments in the next few weeks!
Music aside I've made a few milestones in my art practices as well. Hannah and I have started working on a project of illustrating buildings throughout Richmond that hold some kind of importance to us. So far she has illustrated the apartment building in which we live in and I choose to illustrate a fish market in the neighborhood that was recently sold to a new owner. We plan on making prints of our work once the studio opens back up again.
In addition to this project I've also begun to dive into the world of Adobe illustrator. That's been a can of worms that I've been avoiding for a long while now. But It's nice to finally start getting the basic concepts how the program works. So far I've only drafted a sheet of logos for a friend, but I look forward to incorporate what I've learned with my future designs and projects. I can see it coming in handy especially with working on more playing cards and concert posters.
There's still plenty more to get done and discover as we continue to ride out this pandemic. More books to read and drawings to draw and songs to write. A good movie or TV show (have you seen Outlander?!) is also super nice every now and again. I hope y'all are doing well for yourselves, and that hopefully before too long we'll be able to get out once again and live our "normal" lives. Until then, take care, stay strong, and don't inject yourself with disinfectants!