Anyone who knows me well enough knows I have an ongoing Skunk Works filled with creative projects. Sometimes it slows down, sometimes it fills up, sometimes a project gets out of the door in record time, sometimes it takes years, and sometimes it dies of neglect.
The sheer number of these projects coupled with the wee-manpower involved means that very few projects see the light of day. I once started writing a piece called The Boy Who Could Not Finish. I never finished that piece. The irony was unintentional.
However, I’ve got a new pot on the stove: Project 73. And, so help me Snuffiluficus, I’m gonna get it done. This time, other people are involved and I don’t want to let them down. So, in order to raise the threat of more pie on my face, here’s an excerpt of Project 73. If it never sees the light of day, then I’ll be more the fool.
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In 1973 the face of music – the sound of it, to be specific – was different.
It’s an obvious statement once you read it but it is also quite surprising when you really think about it. Musicians didn’t have the benefit of advanced sound engineering, digital track assembly, modern recording equipment, or that wretched AutoTune software.
A sound engineer or a producer (or in many cases the artists themselves) had to make tweaks and adjustments based on what they heard, not a digital readout of what they saw on a screen. And while you could spend ours upon hours recording and accumulate days of studio time, if you didn’t have the chops you just didn’t have the chops.
And sometimes, if you weren’t gifted with the vocal skills of Freddie Mercury you could still pour such soul, verve, paean, or sorrow that you still touched people and swayed audiences. A ditty could top a chart as easily as a ballad or a groove. People didn’t just make music or hear music, they felt it.
The MTV generation is over. We’re in the iPod generation.
And for all its whizbang advances it is often observed there is something missing. We blame pop culture, big business industry, confectionary plastic-wrapped acts, digitally induced attention deficiency, modern sensibilities, and host of other villains which have robbed us of the purity of a guy with a guitar or a girl with an angel’s voice. What is wrong? What is missing? I have my own answer. I can’t say for certain I’m right.
It’s just … a feeling.