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A DRUMMING...

Well, got the new MPC X drum machine all wired up to the studio system after a problem with the power supply being only fitted with a European moulded mains plug. (Went to Gear4Music who supplied me with the adaptor which, apparently, should have been included with the package but wasn't.) And now the big beast switches on and all kinds of coloured lights and so on are glowing brightly in my studio.


The problem is that there is no manual to take you through the process of how to program drum patterns and chain them into songs. There's a quick start guide that basically explains where various buttons are but doesn't tell you how you might apply them in a more practical sense. I've looked up some MPC X tutorials on line but they rush through stuff and don't seem to acknowledge that some of us have never worked with such a machine before. And it's a very powerful, complex and sophisticated piece of kit, far more convoluted to use than my previous MPC's.


No doubt I'll slowly figure out the basics but, to be honest, my own approach to this stuff is more organic than just setting up 'clips' or loops of drum patterns, (as seems to be what most of the tutorials are set to deal with.)


Always deeply frustrating when having to take on board equipment that involves convoluted technological manipulation rather than straightforward, intuitive, musical inspiration. I get bored when  machines inadvertently slow down the musical flow of ideas...but, I guess that's the way many people make music now, just mixing patterns on a computer screen, assembling pre-made loops and phrases, rather than heartfelt, spontaneous visions and dreams from their heads to their hands.


I'm happy though that I can still actually play an instrument. And that isn't meant to denigrate technology or the use of pre-made loops, etc. These things can beneficially exist side by side, (and I'm more than pleased to use them,) but, somehow digging into an electric guitar's strings has a visceral, gut level thing going for it that, for me, hits the spot and connects me to the music without having to push buttons, mouse things about on a screen or stop to think about which buttons to push to get a warm result...It just feels more immediate and natural. Hey ho...I guess it's 'horses for courses.'



© Bill Nelson 2020

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