In addition to writing, I have a second passion – audio. This is different from a love of music. A love of music is a love like a love of books – it’s consumption. Working with audio is working with the raw materials that make up music and shaping them into what we all love.
You’ll note that this is not the love of music in that I am a musician writing songs and playing for crowds. This is a love of what comes from musicians in the rawest form possible, the raw audio stream that they create in the separated parts that compose a song. You can think of it this way, each song is composed of many constituent parts created by musicians and while they compose the final product they do not constitute a song in and of themselves. The raw audio is flat and unformed and needs a mind that can see through the basic materials and find what should be the creative product. This shaping of the song from these raw audio streams comes from the mix engineer and the mastering engineer, and it is a highly creative endeavor.
For each guitar, bass, rhythm guitar, and vocal, there is more than just one way to piece them together. Bass can be high or low in the mix. Rhythm guitar can match the lead guitar or fade into the background. And once the rough mix is settled on, the fine tuning begins with single decibel changes. But that’s not everything. There’s also the shaping of the sound of the instruments themselves. The bass can be twangy and have a lot of string noise in it or it can be mellow and just provide a low harmony to the lead. Guitars can be harsh or smooth. Vocals can be nasal or throaty or somewhere in-between. One would think that these decisions are made by the band, but 9 times out of 10 the band doesn’t know enough outside of what they think they sound like to experiment and piece things together in novel forms. They’re used to the practice room and never truly hearing themselves except through a monitor mix. The engineer is like an editor that can rewrite a book.
A love of audio is a love of creating music using musicians as raw materials in the same way that musicians use their instruments and writers draw inspiration for writing styles from other authors. It is a love of using technical knowledge in a creative way that transforms decibels and frequencies into bending and shaping a final product by seeing music in both mathematical terms and acoustic forms. And like writing, teaching can only go so far in transforming the layman into a successful individual. Like writing, a layman can learn without formal training and become successful and the only true entrance fee is hours upon hours of practice and failure.
For the love of audio means a passion for the second form of musical expression. It’s the realization of what a band can be and showing them ways of forming their creation in ways that they never thought of. And it is a medium that shows the difference between someone who is passionate and someone who is cashing a check to the point that a highly tuned ear is not needed to hear the difference between a unique and perfect mix and one that is slapped together to approximate what the band desires. To spend the hours upon hours listening and relistening to the same instrument, shaping it, and placing it in the mix can only come from a passion and cannot be replaced with a check.
And the end result is a divination and realization of a thought.
A love of audio elevates and teases out what is desired and what is desirable from the raw audio streams. It is a dissection of what is and a realization of what could be. It takes the dreams and aspirations of what is given, the thoughts that stream through layers melodies and harmonies and produces the final thoughts embedded within. And through that two sets of minds come together to create something that can move emotions and sway minds. It is like writing in that the end result is the fruition of a thought.
I love audio.
I love writing.