January 1st, 2015
No time for punching cows this week at the Goodyear Silo here in Austin, too busy panting like a dog for the next iOS app to drop. The lone little man from the Apple reviewing office went home to see his mother in Wisconsin for Christmas; who knows what lovely digital truffles sit still waiting in his dusty cubby?
There’s been talk on the venerable Audiobus forum as regards the right name for those of us who wait slobbering for the bell to ring. Eyes closed, wallets open. Appaholics.
I prefer to think of us as Applicants, a variation of supplicant (not replicants Mister Deckard) which Webster defines as a ‘person who asks for something in a respectful way from a powerful person or God’. A beggar not a chooser.
A thousand years ago I lived in a cheap flat in West London. The place was dominated by an Allen + Heath 24 track desk about the size of eight coffins, faders for handles. In my bedroom I had a fireproof filing cabinet. For a while there whenever I typed anything on my IBM Golfball typewriter (state-of-the-art) I would rip out the paper and throw it in to one of the drawers without looking back.
Two or three nights a week after the pubs closed a handful of folks would come over to my place, fire up the desk, pick up a bass, a guitar, plug in a synth, and jam. My flatmate was a sound engineer at a local club and he’d sort out the sound for us as best he could. After a while I’d walk next door, open a drawer, pull out a sheet of paper at random and that would be the song for the night. Sing the words over and over until they became lyrics and we had something we could use. Hit record and the Fostex would simply run. Made a lot of songs that way. Things change.
They say if you shuffle a pack of cards properly it’ll be forever before you deal them out the same way twice. This is how a New Year always feels. Impossible to know how it’ll turn out. Good or bad. Plain or full to bursting.
Looking at it honestly I can’t ever seem to have goals for a year. Too long. Too big a parcel of time to pass along to The Other Guy (“he’ll get to that later…“). Goals for the month? Maybe. Just about. The week sounds more like it. Seven days is close enough for me to be motivated to do something now so I won’t have to do it later.
My plans for musical activity are very simple at this point: I’m a writer and a vocalist, but I rarely use the thing I’m best at; writing lyrics and getting them said or sung out loud. 310 apps, but I don’t seem to have a filing cabinet anymore.
So, one song outline completed each week in 2015.
Apps to master and integrate, to use, include: Sector, Samplr, Fabfilters, TC-11, FLUX:FX, Apesoft, Earhoof, Different Dummer, PPG Wavemapper, csSpectral, Egoist, Mitosynth, Fiddlewax and Zeta. And that doesn’t include all the ‘front page’ players from Thumbjam to Thor.
I’m going to give MTS Studio a chance to outrun Auria and Cubasis. Get to grips with downloading IRs for Convolution reverb. Wait (hungrily) on Beatmaker 3, Nano Studio 2, Midi in Auria, live tracks in Gadget, and Loopy Masterpiece. More than anything I’ll get the microphone out and go from verse to chorus. Busy year. 52 weeks in the deck.
Zora Neale Hurston said that there are years that ask questions and years that have answers, which one of these 2015 will be remains unclear for all of us. No cards have been dealt yet, but now that Apple have approved the Audioshare update I’m pretty sure we can make it from here. Despite how far there is still to go on iOS it feels that the development that came to market this year has reached some sort of critical mass, a tipping point. Fewer excuses. Stay tuned.
As mentioned, I started out writing lyrics (pretty simple stuff to begin with; punk bands in 1976 weren’t too interested in Zora). I’m going to leave you this week with a few lines that might be a starting point for a song you haven’t thought of writing yet. If you can turn any part of them into this year’s downloading sensation a) good luck to you and b) send me a lobster and a dozen Pemaquid oysters.
Land of the Free (some assembly required)
I’ve earned this good American life of
Rent your sister? Buy my wife!
Watch the way the corn gets shucked,
lease this car; it gets you fucked.
Eat more candy, fix your teeth,
find out which boy lies beneath
your teenage daughter. Spy-cams here!
Get them now, but pay next year.
Low percentage, no fine print,
free long distance (unlike Sprint).
Brand new, pre-owned, hardly used:
Download, upload, fast connection,
we can boost your next erection,
Co-eds, schoolgirls, she-males, boys,
watch them play with rubber toys.
Buy on margin, sign-up now.
Don’t miss out on this cash cow.
Get great abs, make new friends.
Buy one egg and get two hens.
Be the first with a Nazi Hummer.
Fat Camp means no kids this Summer.
Call toll-free to make a wish,
screw basic cable, get a dish.
Eat at Joe’s, we give free stamps,
trade them in for UV lamps.
Got skin cancer? We do peels.
Rollerskaters go down on wheels.
Liposuction, tummy tucks?
Try Pick Six; win a million bucks.
No purchase needed, enter now,
lose that weight, just ask me how.
Join our cult, we’ll sell your house.
Learn the truth about Mickey Mouse!
I was abducted! Read her story.
Worship God and feel the glory.
Don’t live poor, retire in style!
Anger first and then denial.
This 12 step program really works,
forget the rapture and those other jerks.
Scared of your colon? Wear our patches!
Smokey says, don’t play with matches.
Gay rights now! Ban all Fags!
Show your pride and buy more flags.
ERA and I don’t mean baseball,
meat-free hotdogs by the case-full.
Repent all sinners the end is nigh.
Legalize the natural high.
Use our cream for cellulite,
feel your buns snap high and tight
Happy with your personal hygiene?
End cold sores fast with our new Lysine.
Change the channel, don’t touch that dial.
Film at eleven. Bloating? Bile?
Our antacid soothes sore chests,
it also gives you firmer breasts
Buy this spray and lose those crabs.
Don’t buy union! Don’t use scabs!
Vote for Me I’m on the ticket.
Don’t buy grapes! Support the picket!
Learn to Channel; speak to Michael.
Invest, consume, destroy, recycle.
Get rich quick before you die.
Operators standing by….
Johnny Goodyear is a writer from London who moved to New York City in 1990.
He now lives in Austin, Texas when it’s cold and Mid-Coast Maine when it’s hot.