Friday, July 23, 2010

down to the wire

Okay, so why didn't anybody ever tell me about Wire? I'm sure I had heard of them or read about them in other contexts but no one ever said to me: all the people that you like to listen to, listen to Wire and Wire is rad so you have to stop and give them a listen now.

So, apparently, Wire is the most under-recognized serious influence on punk, post-punk and new wave that I currently have finally found out about.

I am exploring their work and enjoying it. What I love about Wire is what I love about so much post-punk and early new wave: no fear of recording a short pop-song with both wild guitars and heavy and obvious synthesizer use.

I love Eno (like any synthesist should) -- but I love his early solo rock stuff as much as his ambient. I love a good synth-based song every now and then: but who ever said that being a synthesist meant that you had to be obsessed with music primarily driven by the synthesizer. I am not aware of there being any bass-rock out there. Or ambient bass music. (I know it is not a very good analogy, but just give this one to me, okay?)

I saw a documentary recently where the Edge talked about being the kind of guitarist who understood his role as being accompaniment to a pop-singer. I remember reading an interview of Nick Rhodes once where he talked about not being interested in novelty sounds, synth-solos, and bringing the synth to the fore of the music. He saw himself as created background atmospheres with strings, etc., and rhythmic interest through sequences and arpeggios. So the order is: singer, then guitar, then synth. I must admit that I am an odd kind of (amateur) synthesist: I basically like pop and rock music that is unafraid of bold and obvious synthesis but that still privileges rock's first two main instruments up front: the voice and the guitar.

Having finally figured this out about myself and becoming able to name it has allowed me to realize that it is hard to do the kind of synthesis and synthesizer accompaniment I really enjoy most listening to and contributing to because a.) modern DAWs hand you the capacity to make synth-rock on a platinum platter and b.) I do not actually have a band around me and I am what I would call BARELY proficient on the guitar. That being said, when I recently added an electric guitar to my project studio I was happy to discover how much easier it was to record a line-in distorted and/or heavily effected electric guitar and sound okay than trying to microphone record a nice take of acoustic guitar.

Oh, well. My bare proficiency at the guitar is a limitation that gives structure to my creativity. Besides, isn't barely proficient guitar what (post) punk music was and is all about anyway?

With that said, I have about three unfinished tracks that I am still working on but too self-conscious to share. I should have at least one of these up on Soundcloud and discussed here before summer is out.

Thanks for following. Peace.