The Musical Sketchbook began in mid January 2020. I’d always had a few keyboards, and regularly play piano in front of an audience. However, since the 1980s, when I bought my first Synthesiser, I have never previously put together a proper area to compose and record. Some may ask, ‘why not do all this on a computer? There are plenty of excellent programs about – many of them free… and it takes up less room!’
In answer to that question, I have always liked being physically hands-on. I like making adjustments with physical keys, knobs, and sliders. Furthermore, a freshness (some may say roughness) of quality is produced when working mechanically and where tempo sometimes ‘goes out’ of synch – particularly in a basic set-up with a mix of digital and analogue equipment. Also, when composing live, you get a lot of happenstance, where an intuitive move creates an unexpected effect. The only downside, perhaps, is that little can be repeated – once it’s done, it’s gone… unless you have recorded it.
For those of you with attuned musical hearing, you will find that some tracks have timing issues and some instrumentation doesn’t always come in where it should, or in the best place. I am aware of these, but have chosen to keep them as part of the Musical Sketchbook, in the same way that an artist jots down ideas and builds a reference of material for ongoing or future works. Having said this, there are some tracks where the slightly different timings work in a subliminal way, inside your head – pulling your attention and giving physical feelings that activate different parts of the brain and mind.