I recently traded in my old laptop for a new one and, while going through my old files for backup, I came across a folder containing over a dozen electronica pieces that I created between the years of 1999 and 2010, under the moniker Equipoise. I was so delighted when I listened to them; I really loved them and felt a sense of pride in my younger self’s creativity, especially as I recalled the conditions under which I had created these songs!
The earliest ones – from 1999-2001 – were created on a home-built desktop machine that had a Creative Soundblaster AWE32 soundcard built in. At the time, the best way to make different sounds was to use “Soundfonts” that you could download (over a very slow dialup connection, no less!) from various random online repositories. I couldn’t afford an actual MIDI keyboard, so I mapped the piano keys to the different computer keys, and pecked out my melodies and rhythms that way. I used Cool Edit Pro to edit my sounds, and Sound Forge Acid to create my loops and tracks. I would stay up all night crafting these songs, and I loved every minute of it! I would spend hours just trying to get a sound right, searching for a pad or a tone that would create the texture I was looking for, experimenting with different instruments and time signatures. There was something about having such constraints – a small memory footprint, subpar equipment – that forced me to be the most creative I think I ever was in my life.
The later ones were composed using more sophisticated tools; by 2007 I had upgraded to a fully-specced out Macbook Pro, and I was using Ableton Live, Pro Tools, and a whole suite of plugins to make my sounds. The songs definitely sound more refined, but at times the overwhelming amount of choices at my fingertips led me into analysis paralysis.
When I got back into more bare-bones songwriting – just myself and my guitar – I stopped exploring this realm of music, and I miss it. Maybe one of these days I’ll pick it back up again.
I put some of my favorite tunes up on my music website, you can go to the direct link to the collection of songs here: