Muzak Paddywhack

Everyone’s an artist. Everyone’s, also, a designer, thanks to computers. And, everyone’s a musician. Again, a respectful nod to computers (especially Macs), loops, quantizing, keyboards, GarageBand and any number of plugins, filters and interfaces. Although I’m a working graphic designer (having started almost 40 years ago within the analog world of Rubilith and Xacto knives), I’m not a true musician. Like everyone in my generation, I play guitar (to a certain level), and I know a few basic concepts like key, chord, tempo, etc. But, that doesn’t qualify me for that term I personally respect and admire: musician. I know too many real musicians to be able to administer that term to my aural experiments. So, I call myself a ‘sound designer.’ I find it more accurate. As with a humber of disciplines in my life, I approach audio (sometimes even ‘musical’ audio) conceptually. It’s the idea that matters most to me. It’s why I enjoy placing pre-recorded voices and sounds within my recordings. I assemble. The result is audible beats, notes, voices and sounds received through one’s ears, but that’s where the comparison ends. I’m not suggesting I couldn’t fake it at any given (short) moment. Likely, I could. But, I know the truth, and so would actual musicians should they be there with me at the time. A musical term one might apply to how I approach audible output is composer. Yet, I don’t compose with ‘notes’ and historically traditional musical theory. I compose with audible components—components I’ve created from scratch, taken from loop libraries, or sourced from recorded voice archives. That’s not a musician. That’s, well, a sound designer.

For those technically inclined, I work on a Macintosh using Apple’s Logic Pro, almost exclusively. Occasionally, I’ll diddle around in Ableton Live. And, I’ve done some things in Reason, but have all but set that one aside. I use a simple M-Audio Keystation 61es for triggering and chording. An Apogee Duet is my analog-to-digital interface.

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