May 12, 2009
X, Y, and F#
Here’s how St. Vincent wrote her new album:
Annie Clark, who does business as St. Vincent, wrote much of her new album, “Actor,” by drawing, not playing. Mainly a guitarist, Clark began the album in a French hotel room in December of 2007, using GarageBand software and a pair of headphones, “drawing notes one by one, until they sounded how they should sound.”
I am not a good musician, but for what it’s worth, I’ve always found the piano-roll grid of computer music apps a million times more intuitive than either music notation or (worse) music language — e.g. “Okay, give me a G-major!” My brain just doesn’t work that way.
I like this part best: “…until they sounded how they should sound.” You can have Ableton Live (and lots of other programs too) just loop through the sub-section you’re working on, again and again. You tweak it as it’s looping, adding and moving notes, listening to the differences. Nudging and scraping the sound like clay.