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Monthly Archives: October 2018

Pop Classical Music Fusion

People have gotten too overly significant in their thinking about these two genres they have made-up; ‘pop’ and ‘classical.’ There are far more arguments in favor of their similarity than their differences. One need only point out that the two most similar periods of music, in terms of musical practice are Baroque and Jazz; in both musical practices, musicians read from chord charts and improvised.

A composer like Beethoven, who had the need to reinvent himself to the degree that music historians had to put his musical output into three periods, tended to foreshadow future musical periods. One of my favorite things to do in music school was to play a very late Beethoven piano sonata for a fellow music student and ask them who was the composer. They didn’t know but Count Basie came up quite a bit.

I used to horrify fellow musicians in the symphony by pointing out how similar to Gershwin certain parts of The Rite Of Spring by Igor Stravinsky were. These comments were treated as utter sacrilege but it turns out, in interviews, Stravinsky confessed to being quite fond of American Jazz and worked the ‘primitive sounds’ into his compositions.

So pop classical music fusion might simply be the ultimate opening up of a broader palette of sounds for the composer or songwriter to work with. Perhaps it was meant to work out this way. What we think of as ‘pop’ music may only be a further tweak in the tapestry we call music.

Jazz Guitar Improvising

Pat Martino was exposed to the guitar at a very early age due to the fact that his dad was a vocalist who also happened to play the guitar. He listened to recordings from his father’s record collection including albums by jazz guitar players Eddie Lang, Django Reinhardt, and Johnny Smith. Pat received some lessons from a cousin of his and then studied with a famous regional guitar player by the name of Dennis Sandhole.

By the time he was fifteen years old Pat was playing in concert with the rhythm and blues bands of Lloyd Price, Willis Jackson, and others. In the early 1960s Martino played in combos led by different organists including the likes of Jimmy Smith, Jimmy McGriff, Jack McDuff, and Richard ‘Groove’ Holmes. He then worked as a side man with numerous other jazz groups such as those of saxophonists Sonny Stitt and John Handy.

In 1967 Pat Martino made the first of numerous recordings on the Prestige record label as leader of his own group. Within one year his extraordinary guitar technique and complex yet melodic improvisations brought excellent praise from jazz critics and fans alike. In the beginning, Martino’s playing approach was significantly affected by jazz guitar legend Wes Montgomery. He then started seriously exploring Eastern music and slowly, over a duration of years, established his own distinct jazz/ rock fusion approach.

Pat Martino also experimented and played with guitar synthesizers as well as an electric 12 string guitar. In 1980 Pat suffered an aneurism on his brain. A difficult operation was responsible for saving his life but he was unable to play guitar anymore for nearly a year. It was another three years until he was able to return to playing live concerts. His current recordings reveal that Martino definitely remains a significant force in the jazz guitar world.

By 1987, Pat was tape-recording once again and it wasn’t long before he restored his earlier prominence. He took a few years off to help out with his ill parents, but from 1994 on he has resumed being a regular part of the mainstream jazz scene continuing to develop as a guitarist and an improviser. Almost 50 years after his initial debut and 30 years after he forgot everything he knew about playing music, Pat Martino is still one of the top mainstream jazz guitarists around!

Make Your Music Recording Successful at Home

A great alternative to recording a song in a studio is to do the same at home. You could hire recording equipment or probably set up one all by yourself with the basic amenities that would aid in recording a music track. Here are a few tips that could help you gain perfection to the recording at home and not spend money in professional recording studios.

• Remove noisy elements – Appliances and gadgets like fans and air-conditioners tend to create sound in the background while you record. If may not be audible to the human ear but the recorder grasps the noise. These elements make the track noisy and, therefore, disturbing the process.

• Arrange for good acoustic conditions in the room – Wooden floors, tiled walls, counter tops, etc. are known to be highly reflective and allow your recording to echo. Glass windows too become a spoilt sport and affect the recording. Covering the floor with carpets, windows with curtains, etc. can make the room warm and cosy for the voice to get captured well in the recording.

• Keep the recording microphone away from the computer – The computer screen that lets you control the recording should be maintained at a distance from the microphone that captures your recording. The computer too has a sound of its own that at times gets captured by the recorder.

• Use professional software – While you hire recording equipment, you can also hire professional recording software that allows to see the dynamics of the voice and that lets you know about the changes that you can make to your voice.

• The distance from the microphone – While you record your song, it is necessary to keep your mouth, at least, six inches away from the recording device. It lets the voice come out well without having to let the recorder capture the sound of your breath. You can always experiment with the kind of sound that is recorded by increasing or decreasing the distance. Settle for the one that sounds impeccable with the right sound and that would make the best soundtrack.

About Techno Artists & Music

Detroit Techno

Detroit Techno is a subdivision of the techno genre which generally includes some of the earliest techno productions from Detroit. Detroit techno had its largest audience in the Atlantic. Some of the most common techno music artists include Underground Resistance, Mike Banks, Blake Baxter, Kevin Saunderson, Jeff Mills, Derrick May, Eddie Fowlkes and Juan Atkins. Some of these artists used whatever technology they had in their reach and initiated music with epic synth sounds and engaging driving grooves. I could never list a top ten of tracks from this genre as it changes all the time, but a personal favourite label was always the Red Planet series. This label seen some fantastic releases in the mid-90s. I witnessed both Ghostdancer and Stardancer in particular causing some serious mayhem when played out in clubs.

Dub Techno

Another famous sub category of the techno genre, dub techno is quite distinctively un-show-y, doesn’t try to wow or stun and is never overreaching. I could probably put the dub techno sound alone being the reason I wanted to produce techno music. Nothing more do enjoy still to this day is generating those lush minor chords on a synth then washing them with reverb and delay. I could spend hours applying the filters and tweaking the sound to death. The fact that this style of techno is able to stun and wow the listeners, is a testament to the strength of its subtlety. Dub techno is a work of structural, architectural and musical genius in my opinion. It is unquestioning, placid and deeply soothing. My favourite dub techno artists without a doubt goes is Moritz Von Oswald and Mark Ernestus, sometimes known as Basic Channel. My all-time favourite dub techno track has to be Maurizo – Domina which holds special memories from Glasgow’s famous Arches, sadly no more, where I heard it at the regular Friday night event held by Slam.

Scottish Techno

So where did I discover this music? Right on my door step. As previously mentioned through the early to mid-90s I had the pleasure of being a regular attender of Glasgow’s famous night club “The Arches”. Hosted on a Friday night for many moons by legendary Techno duo Slam. They would serve up a mixture of these varieties of techno to welcoming, knowledgeable crowd every week. They too influenced by the sounds of Detroit and dub techno, among others, introduced me to these styles and I was hooked for life. As a lifelong fan of their label, Soma Records, I followed their releases and many of the artists they have. Funk D’Void has also been another firm favourite with his ability to turn has hand to many different styles of techno, more often than not bringing more melodic and emotional elements to a track. Check his aptly named Emotional Content track and you will get the picture.