What’s Going On?

Hate Speech

What’s going on with “Hate Speech”? A sad host at a failed network asked a former crooked FBI director: “Do you, in retrospect, wish that people like yourself, the head of the FBI, the people in charge of law and order, had shut down that language, that it was dangerous potentially, that it could have created violence, that it’s kind of hate speech? Should that have been allowed?”

This host referred to the “Lock Her Up! (Hillary Clinton) chants at Trump rallies during the 2016 election campaign. The host believes that ONLY speech SHE believes in should be allowed. Anything else, to her, is “Hate Speech” and should be banned.

Let me be clear. There was NEVER violence started by Conservatives at these events. This “Hate Speech” label is NEVER given to anti-Semites, anti-Conservatives, anti-Christians, anti-Capitalists, anti-White, anti-American, etc. It doesn’t matter how much of this bile they spew from the television and social networks if it’s against the approved-by-the-mob crowd.

The fact is, the whole word is upside-down. I DO want a full investigation leading to the prosecution of MANY people. Of course, Hillary Clinton is just ONE of them. That’s MY opinion and I’m entitled to it by the First Amendment, something evidently not taught in our government schools.

Blind Justice

What’s going on with blind justice? Does it even exist? It doesn’t appear so. Celebrities and politicians (mostly Democrats) blatantly and gleefully break laws and suffer NO consequences. These same people trash President Trump and those of us who support him. I’ve taken this abuse long enough, so I’m speaking out while I still can. Remember: RESPECT IS A TWO WAY STREET.

Have you ever heard of the Cloward -Piven strategy? In 1966, Richard Cloward and Francis Fox Piven theorized that if you should overload the welfare system (which is what’s happening with ushering in the illegal aliens into the United States). You then cause a crisis that will collapse the system and be replaced by universal income for all and “end” poverty. Yeah, right… Do the math and get back to me.

This, of course, is unsustainable, which is whole idea. An authoritarian then swoops in, millions die, and those left will be left in the perpetual poverty that they claimed would be eliminated with no chance of personal freedom (unless, of course, you are one of “the ruling elite class”). That’ why civics and the Constitution aren’t taught in school any more. They want the students dumb and compliant-set for a dictator to rule.

As we are witnessing, free speech is being thwarted at every turn. If you are “progressive” (a fancy term for communist), you can pretty much say or do anything until you serve no further purpose for them (think “useful idiot”). Then they use social media (think social justice), political correctness, the many convenient laws they can subvert for their “cause” and “erase” you from the database. Like a Conservative, you’re shadow-banned and you can “freely” speak, just that it will be in the bottom of a sealed barrel-silenced.

What Does This Have to do With Music?

So, what does all this have to do with music? The Beatles (and their producer, George Martin) made unforgettable and truly unique pop music. The recordings still hold up 55 years later! They made recording a true art form. They quit touring and made recording their full time job. Their records were better because they took chances (and the time) to make them that way. They were the top influencers of the 60’s because they made people think.

Since they were so popular, they could afford to play and say what they wanted. They didn’t have to play the same music night after night. They were impossible to control by the recording business since they owned their own label, Apple Records- the ultimate freedom.

This could never be allowed to happen again in the music racket. (It is a racket.) Their plan- keep people on the road to do the same assembly line stuff, record, rinse, and repeat. Staying in the same genre is paramount to ensure predictability. There’s no time to really experiment, so after the first couple of albums, most become homogenized, formulaic, and lowest common denominator-boring, drivel. Lots of flash to say nothing. Free speech is not allowed. Too dangerous… People might THINK!

So goes the way of today’s “recording artist”-all cookie-cutter image, no substance. They are, instead, performance artists. Frank Zappa would be run out of business if he were still with us. They tried back in the day. The the fix and politically-correct mob are in.

Don’t get me wrong, there are recording artists out there, but very few can generate livable income from that because they are never promoted by a major entity.

I won’t play the one-sided game.

© 2019 J. Mark Witters Skyypilot.com

The “Recording Artist”

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The “Recording Artist”

It’s All About Semantics

Semantics  DO matter.  Most introductions for a live recording proclaim:       “(record label) recording artist (name)”.    What many don’t understand is that they are performance artists.   Outside the improvisation (artistic),  you’re hearing a copy of their original recording (maybe artistic, maybe not).  I’m not slighting the skills of the performer.  They have great skills to do what they do.  The question remains: who is a  “recording artist”?

It can be argued that the at present, creation of most recorded music is left to the producer.  This has not always been the case.  The Beatles were true recording artists and had an artistic producer (George Martin) as well.  Why?  They took chances on sounds never before put on record added to masterful songwriting.  There are but few instances of that now, mostly due to economic and political forces.

For the most part, in music today (I’m talking pop music),  we have recordings made largely by matching mediocre (or even rotten) homogenized “songs” with “cookie-cutter”  producers.    Safe, boring ground and because you can market anything to sell, sell it will.  Nothing like hearing that “Millennial Whoop” again!

A work of art must make the rules: rules do not make a work of art...I tell people I am not a musician; I work with rhythms, frequencies and intensities...tunes are merely the gossips of music. - Edgard Varese

Edgard Varese

I first heard of Edgard Varese  from Frank Zappa (one of my major influences).  Turns out, Varese was his biggest influence. This, of course, led me to his music.  It is difficult to listen to.  Varese said, “to stubbornly conditioned ears, anything new in music has always been called noise”.   He only had about three hours worth of music published in his lifetime.

Despite lack of  “commercial success”, Varese founded the International Composers’ Guild in 1921 and the Pan-American Association of Composers in 1926.  He has been referred to as the “father of electronic music” for his addition of newly invented electronic instruments such as the ondes Martenot and Theremin , even inventing them himself.

I will cover Frank Zappa at a later date because he deserves his own blog post.  Varese’s influence is all over  Zappa’s music.  They were both true artists and were not shy about blazing trails.

The Road Least Traveled

Being a true recording artist is definitely the road least traveled.  It’s very lonely.  Everyone yearns for acceptance, so it’s totally against the grain to go it alone.  But face it, you are on your own.  Hours and hours spent thrashing things out that you know will probably not even get listened to because it’s different from everything else.  You get to the point that, good or bad, you just want people to hear what you’re doing.

When growing up, I  wanted to be part of a band.  It didn’t work out for me, so I just  wrote and produced the music myself.  I  became a recording artist, spending  90% of my adult life toiling in blue-collar jobs so I would have the artistic license to do music my own way, warts and all.  I learned a lot from my mistakes (Lord knows I made a ton of them).  The fact I am an old white male Christian conservative who doesn’t mince words has certainly had an effect as well.  Reality can suck.  Oh well…

I don’t play live.  It’s not me.  The studio is my instrument.   I use whatever tools are available to get the sounds  to complete my current vision;  fresh every day.   That’s it.  No apologies.  I’m no better, and certainly no worse than anyone else.  I can live with what I’m doing.  How many can look in the mirror and say that?

My motto: “Live to record another day! ”

© 2018  J. Mark  Witters   Skyypilot.com

 

Music Adventures Now-Technology

Just Do It!

Starting Out

Technology can prepare anyone  to complete a journey.  You must take the first steps and the momentum will keep you going.  

While growing up, I discovered the joy of music and that it has only grown over the years.  I knew what I wanted to hear, but how do I create it? Technology is the answer.

Well, I knew yours truly was not the most gifted of musicians, so my task was to exploit my God-given talents.  I’ve always enjoyed writing, so I wrote poetry of all sorts  (mostly  drivel, but you have to start somewhere!).   I spent my early years learning trumpet, then music theory. Then, I started to learn guitar and put together a lot of stuff (Listened to James Taylor, Miles Davis, the Beatles,  Frank Zappa, and everything in between, so you can only imagine what I came up with!)  

In 1971, I went  to college when synthesizers were first coming out. There was a synthesizer room you actually had to schedule to use! I was able to figure out how to use patch cords (!) to get my acoustic pick-up-mounted guitar to play through an  ARP 2600 synthesizer, unheard-of in my limited sphere.  It was then I decided I wouldn’t become a music teacher, and left to pursue my adventure.  

This was 1973, and did not want to play in a cover band, nor could I find like-minded people, so worked night blue-collar jobs obtained a basic 4-track studio, instruments, and started writing and recording my original music.  It wasn’t pretty, but a start, nonetheless. A lot of isolation, but it was a learning experience for me.

Listen with Open Ears

Along the way, my ears were kept open to all music.  My natural limited-attention span would not let my chosen form of communication be boxed-in.  Rock, jazz, classical, Motown, blues, avant-garde, folk, and everything in between were all part of that gumbo.  Maybe  I didn’t know what I was doing, but kept at it anyway.

I studied “Music Business” in the mid-eighties and knew I wouldn’t fit into any of that mess, so kept my head down and learned Windows,  Finale music notation, VST, and midi-sequencing.  All this kept me busy through the nineties.  Technology is starting to work its magic!

Keeping my ears (and mind) open, I was asked by our daughter (Kerri Hirsch Upton)  to produce her drum/vocal band Spiral Rhythm’s first CD, so I did.  It was recorded right in our living room.  Ric Neyer and Kerri wanted to form an offshoot band from Spiral Rhythm, so  Skyypilot was born.  I joined Spiral Rhythm, and met Steve Collins (he literally built the stage we played on), who had a band named Moonstruck.  He needed a second guitarist, so I joined them for a time. Some nights, I would play three consecutive sets with three different groups!   Steve was a great guy who encouraged me to keep recording, so  I did!

What Technology Brings

Using an early Roland 16-track digital recorder, I recorded the first seven Spiral Rhythm albums, the first three Skyypilot albums, and “The Balance”, a fine album by Heather Jinmaku.  Since 2006, I have been recording all material “in the box” (on computer).  

Technology has been huge.  Now, I can use plugins for a tiny fraction of the cost (and space) of the original hardware.  I have software that replicates pretty much everything the Beatles used on their Abbey Road recordings.  I have software (Amplitude 4) that lets me record a guitar part with dry signal, then manipulate it in any way, then back to original if I don’t like the amp or effects. My music can be released online and streaming almost instantly.  

I decided to make my own Skyypilot music videos, so I subscribed to Videoblocks and began editing downloaded content using Windows Movie Maker.  I set up a website and just started blogging, so it is always a work-in-progress.  No longer doing the blue-collar thing, I am now diving into even more challenges.  One can try to prepare, but there’s nothing like going in there and thrashing it out.  You learn from your mistakes, believe me… Just do it!

Authors note: I received no compensation for any products mentioned above.

© 2018   J. Mark Witters        Skyypilot.com