On Small Joys Of Making Electronic Music


One small joy for me with electronic music is the sounds. Oh the crazy interesting sounds! It’s easy to find sounds that excite me in ways that acoustic sounds don’t always do.

Electronic sounds seem infinitely open and malleable, responsive to my limitations and even my (brief) moments of control. Electronic sounds are also mysterious and always slightly beyond my comprehension. They often describe things I didn’t even know existed. (Think of a complex synthesizer patch.)

I make my own electronic sounds, and that begins a process that takes me deeper into making music to something that feels more architectural–scientific even. So I embrace every opportunity to design and shape my own sounds.

Sometimes I stumble upon exciting sounds while browsing through my sound banks, and I make note of them. I feel an instant connection to the sounds. Even though I just met them, they seem like old friends.

Some of these sounds I stumble upon are exciting, and I feel connected to them because in addition to them feeling like old friends, they resonate with me–they sound like me. Only upon admitting this do I realize how closely musicians can identify with their sound sources, the timbre of their instruments felt to be a reflection and extension of their own voices. It doesn’t matter whether or not a sound is acoustic or electronic. What matters is the relationship we feel ourselves to have with a sound.

When I sample an acoustic sound–like a favorite drum, say–I have set the sound free. I can play with the sound–re-pitch it, say–and this energizes me as I realize some of the sound’s hitherto latent potential. My sample is a copy that releases the original acoustic sound from its time and place.

My small joy with the sounds of electronic music then, is also an excitement that I am finally free as a musician when working with electronics. The interface is just right and I am learning how to adapt to a new musical system.

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