He Looked at Music’s Future and You Won’t Believe What Happened Next!

If I had a dollar for every “think”-piece about the future of music, I could quit all my other jobs to concentrate on Guitar Moderne, and making more music. Still, I can’t resist adding my own two cents (like how I continued the monetary theme?). A trend I am observing is an increasing number of musicians equally at home with playing (often multiple) instruments, music technology, and creating video.

This last doesn’t refer to the MTV-like videos of yore, but rather process-oriented videos that show how the music is assembled: witness Jacob Collier’s split-screens of him singing multiple parts and playing everything,

Pamplamoose jump cutting to each of them playing their parts on clever covers and originals,

Andrew Huang playing “99 Balloons” with, well, balloons.

And now Relay, a new video series where one musician is put in a room with instruments and effects he or she has never seen before and has an hour to make sounds, after which another musician is given four hours to assemble those sounds into a track without adding any additional sounds, and a third musician is tasked with creating a melody for the track in one hour. None of the musicians hears anything in advance nor consults with the others. This show is produced by Knobs, a wry, mysterious figure whose pedal demonstration videos have become the stuff of legend.

I am constantly staggered by not only the level of musicianship and creativity in these projects, but by the sophistication of the videos. Some explanatory factors might include a generation that grew up with visual culture, i.e. videos and YouTube, the ever diminishing costs of video equipment echoing that of recording gear, and perhaps a lack of opportunities to play with others in the fewer and fewer clubs that feature live music. Or maybe it is because you can actually make more money through YouTube than Spotify. Whatever the reasons, I find this trend towards combining the aural with the ocular exciting and interesting.

As the kids say, a little OT, but the modern guitarist will be living in this new musical/visual eco-system, so your thoughts?

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