Part 4: My Own Mini-Renaissance

I’ll probably have to think of some less-stupid title for this page but for now, it needs to be something…

Around 1993 or 1994 a rather brilliant acquaintance of mine (who I’ll call Al Nessim) had already been creating his own studio based on MIDI and computers. Once he found out my interest in composing, he invited me to see his equipment and hear some of his projects. At first it didn’t sink in, but gradually I realized that MIDI was the answer to my musical dreams. He gave me a Macintosh with Passport Master Tracks software loaded on it, and a Roland SC-55 sound module.

After some head-scratching and other frustration in attempting to hook it up (which Al patiently helped me through after numerous anguished phone calls), I ordered a huge 88-key Fatar keyboard controller and a small MIDI piano module from Sweetwater Sound in Indiana.

Soon I was actually creating musical pieces completely on my own without the need of laborious score copying and hiring other musicians! Sure, the sonics and musical quality were primitive (due to my feeble musicianship and the indifferent quality of sound modules of that vintage) but it was still thrilling to me. (Not so much to the reviewer of one of my CDs: basically he started his review with “Some people should never be allowed to use MIDI musical equipment. Tim Scott is one of them.” Not very subtle, and not very encouraging. But my whole musical career has been the triumph of hope over reality, so I soldiered on nonetheless.)

I suppose the analogy would be of a photographer finally able to develop and print his own film, even if only black and white and in a small format.

I should mention here that Al went on to release several highly acclaimed (and extremely well-selling) albums of his instrumental compositions. He became a highly regarded producer in his genre. In some abstract, muted way, I guess I was envious, but on the other hand there was no question about the quality of what he created.

I remember one day talking with him about spending an hour on a single bar. He said that there were times when he was so obsessively working on getting one or two bars so perfect that he would literally break out in a sweat, and hours would disappear.

It would be cool if some day he would publish a blog or website of his studio in his early days, particularly with photos.

Last edited 20090618


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