My name is Robert Livingston – yes, like the 18th century diplomat and also partly the legendary fictional seagull. And you know what, I’m pretty much like this character. I always strive for more and believe the only obstacle standing in our way is lack of trying. I was born in a family of musicians. My mom and sister play piano, my other sister sings like an angel and my grandma is a harpist. As for me, I’ve always been hopeless at music. I don’t play any instrument, I have trouble with rhythm and my voice sounds a bit more pleasant than door squeaking. My family gave up on me back in my teens. Yet here I am now, working as a DJ at one of the coolest clubs in LA. Despite my obvious weaknesses, I loved music and kept bumping against a blind wall until I finally found a door of perfectly my size. So if you have a dream, a really big and cherished one, don’t give up on it until you try absolutely everything!
I keep hearing my friends complain about life in LA. Too many people, too many cars, too much noise. Bad air. Vanity and decay. But, the paradox is, that same person nagging about traffic jams and busy sidewalks in the office comes home, lights up a cigarette on their balcony, gasps at the neon brilliance unfolding below and thinks this city is the best in the world. That is, if your balcony is high enough. I can totally relate to that. I’m a hopeless fan of city nights. No matter how many deadly sins are flourishing behind those burning signs and enticing lights, from where I stand they look like a miracle.
I like walking home after work and rarely take a taxi although I live pretty far from the club. I slowly move down the crowded prospect, surrounded by a fuzzy mix of music, chatter, laughter and drunken yells. Billboards and shopfronts shower me with their digitized splendor. There is electricity in the air. Everything seems unreal; images, sounds and smells flow around me as if the entire city was liquid light. When I get caught up in this dazzling stream, I lose control and just flow together with the city allowing it to carry me where it wishes. It feels a lot like music, you know. And I guess I know what to put on the album cover…
One canvas, hundreds of cities
One of my friends, an artist, gave up a really profitable rental offer in favor of a small and terribly expensive rooftop room overlooking the bay, all to get inspired by city lights at night painting his pictures. I believe Leonid Afremov would do the same. I ran across the works of this amazing painter in the internet, purely accidentally. I dropped in for a sec to check up on something and barely had time to marvel at nice pics. But this one I couldn’t ignore. It popped up on my screen and when it caught my eye, I forgot what I was actually looking for. Check it out for yourself! Here it is, ‘City Lights,’ painting that now hangs in my music studio. I love playing to it!
The beaconing colorful lights set up a new rhythm each time I look at them.
The artist’s manner puts me in the right mood for doing a little magic.
The wide, mysteriously twinkling river in the center – I like to think of it as the body of my track, a central tune with a catchy surface and an intriguing depth. And of course, it reminds me of my associations with the great unfathomable river of the city night!
It’s amazing how colors and images can be translated into music. What else can I say, I love living in this world!
In the time of Bach and Beethoven, making music required a hell of a talent and finger skills. Now it’s available to everyone who has an ear. I’m not exaggerating. All you need is an appliance like that http://www.ebay.com/itm/Korg-TRITONST88-Triton-Studio-Music-Workstation-Sampler-Triton-ST88-/142345880152. Using this single keyboard, you can compose, perform and record a full-fledged track literally single-handedly. It has all sorts of cool sounds and functions. You can set it to sound like any instrument – piano, organ, synth, guitar, sax, even percussion. Those effects can be tweaked and changed on the go as you build up your very own tune using built-in backdrops and previously recorded themes. Isn’t it cool? Totally! The best thing is that you don’t really need a musical education to use this sort of stuff – just enough patience to read the manual and daily practice to get the hang of all the functionality. Whether you are a conservatory graduate or simply a guy from around who enjoys tinkling the ivories, a Korg keyboard may become a start of your musical career 🙂 I provided a link to the model of my personal preference; I use the same for my home sessions. There are also many other great Korg stations and keyboards you can buy on eBay and other sites alike. I’d recommend this very brand, because it’s pro-grade and one of the most advanced in the segment. If you’re already using a similar device, please share your experience in the comments!