The Loneliest of Creatures in the Universe
Jerry Lucky Commentary April 2012
Copyright Jerry Lucky © 2012 All Rights Reserved
First off I want to thank the band Klaatu for the line I used to title this month’s commentary.
It somehow seemed more than appropriate. Also you will see that I’m following up or adding an
addendum to a previous commentary where I mention that writing tends to be a solitary craft.
In other commentaries I’ve also pointed out how the musical art of composition, arrangement
and production has changed so much with the advent of the Internet.
The creation of the Worldwide Web has been touted as an invention that has made the world “smaller” and drawn us together; creating perhaps millions of shared-interest-communities around the world, and to some degree there’s no denying this has happened. And yet ironically while we proudly boast of all this communication or the fact that some people have thousands of Facebook “friends” more people than ever, are just sitting alone in a room staring at a screen.
Now, don’t get me wrong, I’m no Luddite. I like technology like the next guy. But I will say, I’m more about making the technology work for me, rather than me adapting to the needs of technology. Noted communications professor Marshal McLuhan once said, “We shape our tools, and then our tools shape us.” Never has this been more prevalent than in today’s information age where we’re all connected to each other with a smart-phone and yet I would suggest more alone than ever in history.
So what does this have to do with Progressive Rock you ask? Well I received an email a few days back from musician Robin Taylor commenting on my point of writing being a lonely art. And I was really struck by what he said. So much so I asked if I could reproduce his email here for all of us to read. Taylor has put into words a process of creation that I don’t think many of us realize takes place. It really points out how much technology has changed the landscape. Here’s what he said;
Just read your March commentary about writing as a lonely art. I fully understand what you're talking about, as I experience the same being a musician (!) I believe it is some kind of a myth, that musicians live a life with endless socializing. I speak for myself, but in my case it can be VERY lonely... I write my music alone at home, I go to the studio and record my own parts - just having company of the engineer, and then I get back home and make arrangements (via phone or email) with the musicians, I want to contribute. I send them the recordings I've done, after which they go to their own studios and record their parts after my instructions. I get it all back, listen to it and either approve it, or I ask them for some more takes. When it's all there, I return to the studio, where I will edit and mix the material. Then it's time for sending the files to a mastering studio (for the last couple of times I've chosen a studio in Israel), and when I get the mastered material back (still as files), I make arrangements (via phone/email) with the plant, that's going to manufacture the CDs. Before that I've already had the cover graphics done (the same way: phone/email), and after a few more weeks I'll get the stock delivered right to my door. Next step is to check, that everything is alright, pay the bills, pack and send the CDs to distributors and different media.
Now I ask: Who's got reasons to feel lonesome? Maybe my situation is a bit extreme, but I doubt I'm the only one working this way today... I'm not complaining; I've chosen to take advantage in modern technologies, but there are moments when I wish, technology hadn't come this far. Unlike many other artists I never meet with my audience, as I've stopped performing live. Now I can just sit here in front of my computer and hope, some (decent) reviews will turn up... Sales will depend on how the press will react to my work.
Waiting, waiting, waiting... is anybody out there?
Now I've shared my 'secret' with you, I hope you'll still be able to appreciate my music, as a piece of human art carried out by living persons - not machines!
Have no fear on that final point Robin, your new disc sounds great. Readers will see a review soon. There are benefits to the new technology, there’s no question about that, but I guess I always ask; “just because we can, should we?” Have we gone too far? Is the technology controlling us, only letting us think we’re in control? You think I’m being a little paranoid? Not sure how many of you remember the Y2K scare, where everything was going to come to a grinding halt because of a missing code in our computers? It didn’t happen, but it sure made the point that we are to some degree clearly at the mercy of the tools we’ve created. Maybe it’s time we thought about the consequences. At least that’s what I think?