Electronic music production doesn't have to be needlessly complex, as music production YouTubers and some online articles would like you to think.
Look at old school tracker music, such as this lovely track by Radix. The .MOD format allows static sound (samples) to be used as instruments and it's got utilities to control pitch, amplitude and panning, along with sample manipulation in the sequencer. That's practically it.
You're given 4 channels, meaning you can only play 4 sounds simultaneously. You don't have effects like compressors, reverb, delay, limiters, filters, EQs or anything of the sort.
The limitations and simplicity of the format require you to focus on the music itself (melody, harmony, progression and so on), instead of the technical bits (frequencies, dynamics, bitrate etc).
Now, I'm not saying you should remove effects and audio processors or even advanced techniques from your workflow. What I'm trying to say here is that when it all comes down to it, technical stuff doesn't matter half as much as you think it does. The whole point of this is making music.
I'd rather listen to a great song produced by a bedroom producer using a few limited tools, than a great-sounding, but really shitty song produced by a highly technical producer with very expensive tools and needlessly complex techniques.
That said, truly great work unifies both aspects; the technical should reinforce the creative.# september 16th 2021
Gaining access to the Internet was probably the best thing that ever happened to me. My friends in the digital realm, along with my two remaining childhood friends and my siblings, have saved my life on multiple occasions. Without you, there would be nothing left of me.
That's why I was greatly saddened learning one of you passed away.
Orion, I will never forget you.
Back when I started making music as Shiftdelete, my philosophy was very simple:
"All I need is a Digital Audio Workstation, a few drum samples and a sound generator."
And that is (almost) exactly the way I worked for 7 years, before going insane.
Once I started adding more instruments and tools to my setup, it resulted in me making less music. I spent more time tinkering and getting nowhere. I even caught a made-up disease called "Gear Acquisition Syndrome."
I kept getting more and more synthesizers, plugins and junk I never needed in the first place. I ended up with a mountain of instruments, but I still went back to using the one synthesizer I knew and loved when I actually wanted to get music made.
My mindset went to shit. I was getting caught up in extremely technical ways of thinking, focusing on all the wrong things. It's good to have a foundational understanding of the nature of your craft, but letting technical thinking overshadow creative thinking only leads to losing yourself in details that don't really matter in the long run. In art, all that matters is creating.
I find it liberating to only use a single synthesizer. The alternative is abundance of choice, which I now know won't make my music any better, nor give me that edge everyone is looking for. I am that edge.
I've been finding my way back to my roots lately. I get more done and I feel much better, because I've got my partner in crime right in front of me, always ready to kick ass.
Here are a few reasons you should stick to using one synthesizer when making electronic music:
Only when you've exhausted your options and feel stuck and/or uninspired should you consider getting another synth (or replace the one you have.)
Try limiting yourself. Get rid of everything you don't use. Remember: creating is all that matters.# july 20th 2021
Every time I start a new blog I want to shut it down instantly. I don't know why that is. I'm gonna fight against the urge to do so this time.
As you can see I've updated the design. Removed all redundant < table > tags and made more room for the text, which is the main focus of this place.
Lately I've had to make some pretty big life choices. I believe my current course is set somewhere good. I have a tendency to quickly change my mind if a better alternative comes up. Funnily enough the first idea usually ends up being the best one (in my experience.)
I don't know if one can say "Time is on my side" at any point in life. Time is definitely not on my side. It never stops doing its thing, while dragging everybody and everything with it. Time is merciless and it is not your friend.
Even so, you have to accept the reality of Time and constantly fight for what you want, otherwise it's over in a split-second and you've been transformed into waste, along with everything you didn't do.
Never dwell.# july 15th 2021
Maximum appreciation go out to all of you who's supported me ever since I started this project. From what I can tell, a lot of you are very loyal. For that, I love you.
Thank you for being with me on this musical journey and for fanning the flames of creativity.
There's way more to come.
P.S. Do reach out. I love hearing from my supporters, especially if you're a creator. Show me what you've made!# june 4th 2021
Thank you for putting up with my seemingly impulsive decisions, my overly serious character and my difficulties expressing emotions.
Know this: You are extremely important to me. I don't make friends easily. If I consider you a friend, you are the best person in the world to me.
Never say yes to things that suffocate you.
Always remain true to yourselves.
Contrary to extra-wisdom, some people don't find pleasure in being part of a group. I think I've finally come to accept that, after years of wondering why I never felt like I belonged anywhere. Always searching for something I now know doesn't exist.
Most of my friendships can be explained as independent nodes; me being the node of origin. The connection between my node and other nodes don't usually crosslink, meaning, I don't usually befriend friends of friends (but as with anything, exceptions occur.)
One upside to this is that I get unique viewpoints that aren't shaped by any form of group mentality.
...At least, no group I'm part of.
In my view, the best ideas grow independently. They require focus to be realized. Untainted by outside influence. Crystalline clarity.
To the point: I have gone underground.
Look for the rings on the surface.# may 27th 2021
At first, you know nothing. Everything's exciting. You learn rapidly and have fun doing it.
You become decent at what you're doing. You're starting to understand your tools and become fluent in their "language".
You then hit the intermediate stage. You're starting to properly understand the underlying fundamentals of your craft.
You get to the advanced stage, where you find ways of using your tools in a manner unique to you. You see and hear nuance invisible to most people.
Then you become bored. You understand so much about your craft that very few things excite you.
In my case, I don't find much inspiration in music anymore. Almost all of it comes from disciplines I don't fully understand. Take illustration for example:
⋅ You have a completely blank canvas, a pencil or brush.
⋅ Every single detail is put there by hand.
⋅ The toolset is usually limited (that will be the subject of a future blog entry.)
Why not do the same with music and sound? Why should I use other people's sounds when I can make my own?
And, in fact, that's what I've been doing lately.
To me, there's no better feeling than being able to say "I made this. All of it."
I'm Shiftdelete. Known offline as Emil Nord. I make music.
This is my blog, or journal. Content will be focused on music, creativity and sound design, with the occasional moments of self-reflection.
To the few of you reading this: I welcome you. I hope you find my future writings useful and applicable to your own work in some manner.# may 2nd 2021