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Technology has kept up a rabid pace moving ever forward as it should be. New tools have been released that are keeping the crest of the ‘future-wave’ dizzying and exciting. You can now enjoy musical instruments, high-end amplifiers, effects processors, speaker-simulators, and even recording studios right in the palm of your hand, so to speak, on a cell-phone. The fruits of these new toys are still not fully realized but that bandwagon is quickly gaining its load.

The computers of today are still shrinking and getting faster. The array of software available for artists is multiplying exponentially. One of the many catalogues I often receive now has a larger section dedicated to PCs and Macs, software, and hardware, than any other product line. Software add-ons are an enormous field all to themselves from which you can get programs that mimic hardware that the majority of artists could never afford.

The power of all these new gadgets goes well beyond the adjective clichés of ‘bells and whistles’. The possibilities are comparable to a progressive shockwave propagating outward and into the future. Time, money, and learning curves are the staples of hindrance as always, but even those are fluctuating wildly with each passing day.

In this technologically boisterous time you could plop down in the middle of the Sahara with a cell-phone and nothing else, record an album of songs, and release it around the world. If you rode the learning curve in style you could probably do it all in a day. Well, you’d at least need an umbrella, a lot of water, and a solar recharger.

The ease of ‘getting it done’ has spawned a new breed of artist that ‘hot-dog’ at the crest of the wave of new sights, sounds, and the proverbial freedom of expression. The only boundaries to these creative entrepreneurs are the limits of their own imaginations and maybe just a few political or religious organizations somewhere in the world. The only thing that can knock them off any given wave they’ve caught is the ever evolving beast that is ‘popular opinion’. What’s novel this morning may become old-hat before sunset, or the next sunrise.

I’m currently recording directly to a hard drive but it is not PC or Mac based. I have a few great ‘gadgets’ that I use in the signal path that I am always learning new things about and that keeps it a fun experience. My setup is far from the ‘dinosaurs of yesteryear’ but there are a lot of cables and modules involved. I don’t use too many set guidelines and that makes for great spontaneity.

The first rule of recording for me is a clear and clean capture of the sound I want. The last rule is that there are really no rules after the first rule. With four outboard pre-amps and several small guitar amps, several different sounding microphones, several guitars, and a few other eccentrically awesome pieces of gear I’m on a mission of enjoyment! That’s a trip I’ve been on since I first heard Hendrix.

I might have an infinitesimally small amount of desire for a state-of-the-art studio, or an app laden cell phone, but just because it’s the new wave of creativity doesn’t mean I’ll rush out this moment to snatch it up. Common sense and my bank account would never forgive me.

What I’ve seen and heard so far is more than just promising of the future of music creation and distribution. Still, timing is everything. If a proper swell comes along, if a proper set builds, or if I take a lucky step in the right direction, I might tuck into the pipeline and reach that musical nirvana hanging ten on the best board technology has to offer. The true world of music is a place where everyone and then some are fighting fiercely for their place in the ‘set’.

2010 gave us many new ‘toys’ to play with. It also took away many old favorites from days gone by. Top of my list is one gifted set of vocal chords. Ronnie James Dio. The man had a voice that could sift out anything from a feathery lullaby to the grind of a moving mountain. The complete list of passing legends is long and painful to read. Not a single corner of entertainment was missed, I think. Many icons joined the legends in the ether in 2010.

In closing, I have no doubt whatsoever that present day creators of music will find their way thru the night and into the new dawn of 2011 with vigorous imaginations, fresh ideas, and the sleek roar of powerful new technological tools. The beach is crowded. The wind is picking up. In other words, “You most certainly ain’t seen nothin’ yet!”

HAPPY NEW YEAR EVERYBODY!