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Blog: MIDI Mayhem

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I'm currently busily working on a SOLO ALBUM, gathering up a bunch of songs from the past few years that haven't been recorded due to a) THE WORLD b) me being busy with the PhD c) OTHER. I've so far got six in a Rough Mix state (which I'll probably go back to in a while and FIDDLE with), five others in various stages of DOING, one other that I need to sort some drums out for as a starting point, then a few others that I MIGHT have a go at if levels of Being Bothered rise slightly.

So far I'm having quite a lot of FUN, but it's taking quite a bit longer to DO than previous solo albums. There are various reasons for this, but the main one is that I am doing loads of it in MIDI. For instance, where previously I would get my bass guitar out and lay down some HOT LICKS on a track in about 10 minutes, this time around I'm doing it all on MIDI. This specific change is for several reasons, notably that my bass playing is a lot less EXACT than it used to be so doing it on the computer means I have a better chance of getting it in time! For other instruments, like KEYBOARDS or PIANO, I'm doing it this way because I don't actually OWN keyboards or pianos, and so I can THUS piddle about to my heart's content creating things without having to go into an Actual Studio.

Some stuff I'm still doing LIVE - guitars, ukelele and vocals mostly - but the upshot is that everything's taking a bit longer as I have to THINK about it a lot more. I used to be able to pick up an AXE and pretty much have a song worked out in a couple of goes, but with MIDI I'm spending HOURS staring at the piano keyboard graphic and trying to make imaginary chord shapes with my hands, thinking "What note is THAT meant to be?"

It is NOT EFFICIENT at all, but the nice thing is that not having a clue what I'm doing is leading to all SORT of new and (hopefully) INTERESTING sounds. Whenever I listen to some of my very early recordings, especially the VOON back catalogue, they're full of all sorts of SOUNDS and THINGS that I have no idea how they were made. OBVS this is partly because it wasn't just me doing them, but still, there are things there that have no right to be when they were made by two or three YOUTHS manhandling a four-track recorder and a drum machine. The NOISES I'm getting now from the MIDI thingy are not quite as RUM and UNUSUAL as those, sadly (very little is), but there's blips and bloops and all sorts that I wouldn't normally do.

Having said all that there is still a lot of SHOUTING and UKES and CLANGY GUITARS, so it is not an entirely New Direction or anything, and when it's mixed properly I imagine most of it will be noticeably different only to me. I've even found a way to make MIDI speed up as it goes along, so it will still have that aspect too!

As I say, I'm about half way through recording it now, so it'll be a while before we're looking at release dates or anything, but as soon as they're available I shall be letting you know!

posted 14/4/2022 by MJ Hibbett

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