She sold her Warlock and bought a drum machine ...

I've been using a computer to make music since about 2000. That's the year I bought a G4 Powermac to record my band. At some point between then and now, I got interested in the possibilities of using the computer to generate the music as well as record it. Since then I have acquired a lot of software for that purpose, starting with the incredible program Reason. It seemed to answer some kind of deep-seated need in me. I found the site almost at random, downloaded the demo, and sent them my credit card number 45 minutes later.

Using Reason and other music software applications has changed the way I listen to music as well as make it. Specifically, it has stopped my ears from getting hung up on audio realism and taught them to love the artificial. (Reason has had another significant influence on my life: if it weren't for Reason, I would not be writing a novel in which the protagonist designs software interfaces for a living.)

One of the difficulties about using music software is that you can keep tweaking things, literally, forever. A little while ago, I realized that, while I had a few dozen song files on my hard drive, I had never actually finished a song, never said, OK, that's done. It's this kind of endless tweaking that blew out my arms.

So a while back, maybe a year ago, I decided: I'm going to pick a song-in-progress, and I'm going to finish it, and I'm not going to work on any other songs until this one is finished. I can't put in fourteen-hour sessions anymore, thanks to those arms. At first I worked on it in 45-minute installments, which is just about enough time to boot up the software, play the song through once, try changing something, and change it back. I'm stronger now, but I have homework to do too, so it balances out. (I try not to work on music unless I've gotten some writing done, or I'd be doing music all day.)

All this is to say: I finished a song this weekend. I mixed it, I mastered it, I realized it needed some other stuff, I went back and did the stuff, I mastered it again, rinse, repeat. And then this evening I said, You know, it sounds OK. I like it fine. I'm going to leave it like that.

So here it is -- a piece of robot bubblegum called "I Love You Monster." The vocals are by the estimable Kari Files. (I was being all arty and leaving them really low in the mix, until Tali said, "If you don't want people to listen to the vocals, you should get someone to sing who doesn't have such a pretty voice.") Off the top of my head I can think of 12 software programs that were involved in its creation; I may be forgetting some. The drums are sampled from a song you know well. It is about four-and-a-half minutes long, and I probably started it in 2003. Now I am going to start something else.