The Birkeland Currents

from by Midnight's Ocean

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Although I use many forms of musical instrument, I'd like to take a minute to talk about personal experience on analog "faggotry".

Analog, in this day and age is usually a pain in the ass, unless you have the advantage of vast experience and a decently deep wallet.

Consolidate all that digital.

I prefer to keep "in the box" in just ONE box. Because digital gear is just a program in a box, the box is superficial. The most efficient thing would be to have it all in one box as a plug in. For this reason, I don’t see a point, nor do I buy outboard digital equipment, unless it does something not available in a plug in (which is rare). As such, most all my outboard gear is analog. Analog is the one thing you can’t do in the box no matter how hard technology tries. A circle made of hard right angle lines, isn’t a circle, no matter how small said lines get. Analog is infinitely variable, digital is not.

After 15+ years both in and outside the box, I finally produced a mostly analog album, yes, yes analog does sound different but not in an overtly obvious way. It’s differences are more heard in emotional connection to the analog animals who listen. The humans.

Work flow.

Unless you are recording/editing/controlling your analog music digitally, work flow suffers, in some instances greatly. This has an interesting effect. Analog creation is one that gives incentive to polishing your skills, as apposed to fixing your mistakes later. More planing is needed and greater finalization is made once you wipe the board. Order of operation demands a more thought out and methodical approach to composition. This can be frustrating but promotes growth of skills that ordinarily would atrophy in the box.

What kinds of analog?

I have toyed with synths, eurorack, pedals, boxes, racks, acoustics and most anything I could get my hands on. I think I will speak on Euro rack for this article. From a studio engineering prospective, eurorack is simply ridiculous. It's over priced and has the slowest workflow I have ever experience. I think it would be faster to teach your cat to play the paino, while wearing boxing gloves, blindfolded. So why did I make an entire album using primarily eurorack? The mountain. Why climb it? Because it's there I guess. The rig I had was 95% analog and gave the projects it was used in a distinct sound. It forced a slow and simple kind of music and that's what my aim was. Would I do it again? No. Probably not.

Sound difference.

Emotional impact with analog is bigger and much more positive thanks to additive harmonics and micro variations. The conscious mind may not fully appreciate it but the subconscious with it's much greater processing speeds, does. Every take recorded has it’s own micro uniqueness. No compiling digital noise (less harshness on high track count productions). Compiling desirable harmonics (more sweetness). As well as less thought of indirect factors. Such as less eye strain, less computer “zoning” (sensory fog or mild confusion resulting from long unbroken time at a computer screen) and lastly, a tactile sense of composition, ownership and accomplishment that impact the creative process.

Most of these things effect both the listener and the composer on a subconscious level as much if not more than a conscious one. This is why I estimate, so many dismiss analog as "faggotry" for bragging rights. Although, for the sake of efficiency, I sold my eurorack, replacing it with much more efficient analog gear. Analog instruments can, of course, always be used as a superficial wow factor but there is a real sonic difference when musical composition is the priority.

My eurorig never got larger than what was able to be easily fit on a small night stand. This is a good accomplishment in my eyes. I believe less can be more. The analog gear that has replaced it is similar in it's small foot print but at a much lower price tag. Ultimately money saved is money earned is money that can help others, whether it be myself, a brother or a stranger.

Peace.

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from Quest Of The Birkeland Currents, released February 13, 2018

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Midnight's Ocean New Jersey

The artist known as “Midnight”. Engineer from a long line of artists. This is the ocean of my creativity. A resource for listeners & multimedia project creators. A wide variety of sonic material, which will hopefully be of great usefulness. Albums are roughly newest to oldest reading down left to right. I am always updating productions as I have time. Please purchase to support the art. Peace ... more

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