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  • Writer's pictureGeorge Napier

Letting the Days Go By...

I have always loved the Talking Heads video "Once in a Lifetime".

First. it's just a brilliant song. Second, it was a ground breaking video when released. Third, it reminds me of my youth and the endless possibilities that - at that time - lay ahead.

I find my self coming back to it from time to time. The sense of amused (sometimes alarmed) bewilderment at where life takes you has resonated with me in different ways over the years.

Studio Revamp

After our family trip this summer, I completely re-engineered and rewired my home studio set up. This was done out of necessity: The heart of my studio (a MOTU 1248) went completely belly up. Shortly after that, my MOTU 16A followed. I was down to a very old MOTU 828Mk3 Hybrid as my only audio interface.

I won't go into all of the gory details. Suffice to say that after a few hundred bucks at a repair shop the 16A could be repaired, and the 1248 was pronounced dead. I needed to replace the 1248, but due to the chip shortage there were no 1248s to be had and I settled on an 828ES.

Since the guts of my studio had been mostly taken apart to send the units to the shop, I faced the task of wiring it back up. I decided instead to tear it all down and wire everything fresh. I also decided to go all in on IO. I bought another MOTU 16A on reverb, and upgraded my single Neutrik patchbay with two Samson S-patch plus patch bays. I also bought some new cables and a label maker.

It took just over a month to get everything patched back together and working. There was a slight detour ... I almost figured out how to hook everything up via AVB. By the time I started to tackle that however, I had run out of mental energy. I just wanted a working set up again. So everything (an 828ES, two 16As, my ES8) is configured as a single aggregate device with 64 inputs and 68 outputs.

And....stuff is labeled!

More Repairs

While all of the above was happening, my Mod Duo-X went belly up. I had to send it to Mod Devices in Berlin for repair. About two weeks after receiving it, the company went into receivership/reorganization. Fortunately they seem to have come out of the other side with new funding and a game plan, and I've been in contact with them about getting a working unit back (hopefully before year end).

I'm really pulling for them to succeed (and not just because I want a working unit back). They have built something special with their line of devices and there is a vibrant and welcoming online community built around their products. Good stuff deserves to succeed!

My Microcosm Hologram also took a nose dive. After going back and forth with them in email a little, they authorized a RMA to take a look at the unit. Naturally when they received it, NONE of the behaviors I described occurred. None. But you know what they did? They sent me a new unit as a replacement anyway on the off chance that the anomalies might recur. AMAZING! The new unit works flawlessly too.

(I have everything plugged into multiple big APC power towers, so I don't think there was a power surge or similar event responsible for so many things going belly up.)

Broken Promises

I pledged to NOT buy any new hardware in 2022. I don't feel like the MOTU and Samson units broke that pledge as it wasn't so much "new" hardware as it was "replacement" hardware for things that had stopped working.

Yes, I increased the total IO count by adding a second 16A. And yes, adding that 16A led to buying a replacement SAMSON patchbay and an additional patchbay. But believe me, once everything was torn apart and strewn about the space, the thought of doing that again anytime soon was depressing. So I decided in the midst of it all that if I had to rewire the studio anyway, might as well build it out and make it "one and done".

Which would have been fine...if I had not actually gone ahead and broken my pledge in early fall.

I added four new eurorack modules to my case: the Qu-Bit Bloom, the Qu-Bit Aurora, the Qu-Bit Nautilus, and the Behringer's Brain Oscillator.

Where's the Beef?

So with all of this revamping, repairing, re-engineering of workflows, eurorack goodies and yada yada, where is the output?

I don't know.

For sure, there are a lot of other things not related to music going on.

  • Assisting my parents (both 93) has taken a LOT more mental energy and time of late.

  • My son has entered the clutches of "teendom" with a vengeance ... and his younger sister is not far behind. (They are both wonderful, but it can be a bit of a rollercoaster sometimes.)

  • I've been dealing with a very troubling injury to my right wrist for a few months now. (Surgery is scheduled for 11 November.)

  • Life as a freelancer is always filled with some amount of uncertainty and there has been a bit more than usual of late.

These types of things tend to sap my creative energy. The fact that it's hard to find significant chunks of uninterrupted time within which to find a creative flow does not help.

But as I re-read the above, it seems kind of...whiney.

Back in the Saddle

I don't know what's happening creatively these days...with music.

In almost direct contradiction to what I wrote in the previous section, I present to you a video that I put together for my good friend and partner-in-crimes-we-don't-discuss Robert Holmes. This was done to coincide with the release of his latest album Sequel.

I had an absolute blast putting this video together, so maybe the muse has not abandoned me's just shapeshifting.

Cheers everyone!

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