Evanescence – Synthesis

Evanescence Synthesis

So this happened.  My CD copy arrived today.  I haven’t unwrapped it yet.  I’m too busy listening to it on Spotify.  I’m going to buy another copy of this CD.  For my car.  I know I could just use my phone, but then I would owe Evanescence even more money.

Sadly, I’m unable to attend them live in concert.  I’m afraid of the fans.  I couldn’t even handle it in Japan.  It’s not just the crowds, though.  The music itself is emotional and compelling.  I know myself.  I don’t like breaking down and sobbing while among strangers.  I’m weird like that.

I used to think crying over music was super emo.  Until it happened to me, that is.  Now, I just look at the floor if it comes up.  This CD will make lots of people weep with overwhelming joy.  The ones like me, who have studied everything Amy Lee releases.  I almost convinced myself I could feel the amount of joy in the world increase during my first listen.

Then I rolled my eyes at myself and started again from Overture.  I listen to the whole album like a playlist, and it has to be in the proper order, or it makes me anxious.  It’s important to set this particular CD to play without dead space between the songs.  It’s all one beautiful story.

It’s going to take a long time for me to calm down over Synthesis.  I’m not even to the point yet where I can write about it without tearing up.  (Dammit.)  I don’t like crying.  It’s right up there with hurling.  But I have to release tears when necessary, or they get backed up.

Every time Evanescence releases a new album, it’s the best one yet.  Wow, right?  But it’s more than that.  There’s readily detectable growth as a band each time, too.  Jen Majura sounds excellent with Amy Lee.  The re-imagined songs I already loved are brilliant.

They’re even more complicated, but in ways, only experienced musicians can compose and perform.  Before Jen joined, I thought of Amy Lee as Evanescence.  Everyone else was just there to back her up in my view.  Whatever they brought to the group was replaceable.

I very much enjoyed Terry Balsamo’s heavy guitar riffs.  But when I heard Synthesis, I recognized they don’t fit anymore.  Evanescence is a grown-up band now.  They’ve learned so much it blows my mind.  I ask a lot of a group before I commit my loyalty.  The Open Door is the first Evanescence release I purchased, but I immediately bought the rest of their catalog after listening.

I grew up studying Prince and Michael Jackson.  I ignored almost all other music for over a decade because they were more than enough.  Paul McCartney’s duets with Michael Jackson are the only reason I even gave The Beatles a chance.  Too many people tried to force them on me.  (It’s a real turnoff.)

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Being a mom seems to have made Amy Lee more awesome.  (I wish I could elaborate, but I had to stand on my tippy toes just to recognize this.)  When I heard Lacrymosa on Synthesis, I had to lay down and close my eyes.  I didn’t know it was possible to improve that song.  (Had anyone even suggested it in the past, I would have thought unkind thoughts regarding their ability to hear correctly.)

Synthesis is delicately lush, complex, and powerful.  I grew as a musician just from listening to it.  (I shit you not.) I composed counter violin melodies and interlaced them in the songs in real-time mentally.  Then I got out my violin and started the album over, this time playing along.

As a violinist, there aren’t lots of opportunities to jam with my favorite bands.  At least not with my violin.  It’s the album I’ve been waiting for, and I didn’t even know it.  I want to compose music like this.  Like Mozart and Bach and Evanescence.  It will take a lot longer than my repetitious trance music.

I wonder if they have a Patreon or something.  I just don’t understand how I get a copy of this for $9.99.  You know how many times you have to play a CD before it wears out?  I do.  They’re ridic long-lasting.   I’ve only worn out one before.  The Open Door.

I loved the wink at, Call Me When You’re Sober.  I have no idea which songs are hits and why they all aren’t, to be honest.  (Well, I do now, since the CD cover says two new songs and re-imaginings of their greatest hits.)  Synthesis feels like the best gift for Christmas.  The one you still smile when remembering decades later.

Incidentally, you can’t die from being too happy.  In case you ever wondered.  I’m off to listen again.  I want some more (in my best vampire voice.)

 

 

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Journey before destination.

My fiance, M., is back from Puerto Rico.  Things have settled down in my world.  At least enough for me to create some music.  I should say a song.  One song.  But it took a full day of focusing most of my attention on it.  (I thought it would be quicker, based solely on how fast Stevie Nicks can do it.  I’m so not Stevie Nicks.)

It’s not a particular genre.  I uploaded it to ‘Ambient.’  (Shrug.)  I like it because I’ve heard it so often it grew on me.  Maybe it’s Trance music.  I used a Mac computer, a Nektar Impact LX49+ midi keyboard, my Alesis/Yamaha electronic drum kit, and my violin with a piezoelectric pickup and scotch tape.  I forgot the name of the keyboard (virtual) instrument.  It’s retro.

I had lots of fun.  I used Garageband software.  It’s incredible for something that came with my computer.  Despite that, I’ve since upgraded to Logic Pro X.  It’s been a few days, but I haven’t exhausted trial and error as my strategy yet.  When I do, I’ll head over to YouTube for some tutorials.

I’ve got Ableton Live Lite as well (It came with the keyboard.)  It looks interesting, but I won’t upgrade to the standard version until I figure out how to use it.  Logic Pro X was a logical step up from Garageband.  I figure once I learn it well enough to use all it has to offer I can assess whether I need anything else.

I did acquire an electric bass this weekend.  I traded an XBOX 360 and two games I don’t play for a generic entry level bass.  (It took me forever to give up my original XBOX, too.)  I won’t miss it since the XBOX One X will be out soon.  (It will be mine.)

It’s ugly.  Navy blue and cheap wood.  But it’s so much easier to play than my acoustic-electric bass.  It’ll do for now.  Still no bass amp.  Until I can play well enough to let others hear it, there’s no point.  I can connect it to my computer with my Scarlet Solo audio interface and practice with virtual amps and headphones.

I have a device for my electric guitar that allows me to do this with my iPad or iPhone.  It’s lots of fun for practicing.  I’ll have to see if it works with my bass.  I have three pocket operators by Teenage Engineering.  Arcade, Robot, and Office.  I’ll be playing with them next week.  They’re tiny synthesizers.  I want to get Sub, Rhythm, and Tonic, as well.

I’ll probably also get the only other one remaining, which is called Factory.  I love how they’re so inexpensive.  It’ll be my first time playing with synths.  I predict I’m going to enjoy them.  I even like the name of the company.  I also have a Korg sampler and Novation Launchpad to figure out.  Squee!

I could do all of this with just my computer and midi keyboard, but I want a more hands-on approach.  I’m off to play with my (non-connected for now) pocket operators.

 

 

 

Embrace your creativity

Learning music

One of the things I learned from Stevie Nicks is to embrace my desire to create.  To allow it to be the center of my world, regardless of whether or not it supports me financially.  While Stevie Nicks is presumably wealthy as a result of her creativity, she’s stated more than once she would pursue it if she were a waitress, too.  I’m a classical violinist.  I learned by the Suzuki Method.  I was taught to play the violin as a means of keeping joy in my life.  I began at age 4, and more emphasis was put on playing by ear than reading music, initially.

My violin became my first creative tool.  I passed it on to a 4-year-old boy when I was ready to move up to the 1/2 size.  I’ve played ever since.  I’ve been in ensembles and orchestras over the years.  I played in a quartet in Austria when I was stationed in southern Germany.  Mostly, I play for cows in the pastures just outside of town.  It’s one of my favorite things to do.  Playing music is joyful to me.  I’m interested in creating music as well and will share my progress as I learn.

I didn’t realize how much I was missing in my life by ignoring my creative urges.  I recently quit taking Prozac (for PTSD.)  It was a creativity blocker in my case.  I’m so blown away by the difference, I created this website.  I’ve decided to allow my creativity to be the center of my world.  I have no goal or expectation of getting rich or famous as a result.  My goal is to be happier.  It’s working.  I started playing the drums and bass earlier this year.  They’re now part of my daily life, as I practice and hone my skill.

I’m glad when I improve.  I have such a blast in the process it’s like a bonus.  I’m not taking formal lessons.  I figured, how hard can it be to hit things with sticks?  Turns out, there’s a lot more to it, (but I had the essence right.)  It feels like dancing hip-hop style with sticks, only you don’t have to look cool while doing it.  (I know nobody watches the drummer unless it’s Phil Collins or something.)  For me, the hardest part is not letting my mind wander while playing.

The bass is a more recent endeavor.  I’m mostly working on building up my muscle memory.  I’ve played the guitar since I was 13, but only took a semester of lessons.  The bass strings are spaced further apart, and they’re thicker than standard guitar strings.  It’s also huge.  It will take many hours of practice before I can play the riffs in my head at the proper speed.  In the meantime, I enjoy practicing them slowly, (with lots of errors.)

Down the rabbit hole

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I’m a passionate person who thrives on fascination.  Join me on my journey to explore and experiment with creativity in various forms.  I’ll share my thoughts on various artists, authors, and musicians.  Hopefully, I’ll also share my creations as I’m inspired by what moves me.