Karma Is a Bitch

So with the studio re-established I've been shaking the rust off my guitar and keyboard chops and trying to play some music.  I've lost my callouses and I've forgotten a lot of songs and licks, but it all comes back if you just keep hammering away at it.  I sat down at the M3 to start fiddling around with Karma.  If you don't know, Karma is an algorithmic (i.e. computer generated) music generation technology.  It's really difficult to explain because 1), there are no good comparable technologies, and 2), it's pretty propellerheaded stuff candidly.  But put simply, Karma enables the synth to generate music in response to your playing and manipulation of controls.  Unlike a lot of auto-accompaniment technologies, it's way more sophisticated and controllable, and it's optimized for experimentation and improvisation.  (Here's a good example of the sort of thing you can do with it.)  But it's also just difficult to get your head wrapped around because it's vast in scope and full of new concepts.

I recognized quickly that it was the perfect enabling technology for this idea that had been rattling around in my head for combing electronic music with live looping.  I spent a few weeks learning it when I got my M3 and I got to the point where I understood the concepts pretty well and I knew how it worked.  But I didn't get to the point where I could really play it well.  I didn't develop enough familiarity so that I could stop thinking so much and just play it instinctively and intuitively, which you have to get to in order to master it and make compelling music.  Then I decided to backburner the whole thing because I really needed to spend my limited music time learning songs and programming sounds for my band at the time, rather than learning Karma.  But I knew I wanted to return to it.  Then I moved to Houston and most of my music gear just didn't played much because with no studio, it was inconvenient.

To make a long story slightly less long, when I tried to play with Karma this last weekend I discovered that I'd forgotten most of what I had learned! I fumbled through the menus hoping it would jog my memory, but that didn't help much.

So now I've hit the books again.  I've got some of it back and had a pretty productive jam tonight, but I have a ways to go to catch up to where I was, and a long ways to go to get to where I want to be with Karma.  Problem is, just like with the band before, this will be competing for my time with my family and my photography.  Hopefully, I can carve out enough time to make real progress on it.