El Paso Music Scene

Wood and Steel

by Nicholas Matta
Aux.78 / ElectroLegs 2005

Even though today's modern music is filled with electronic gadgets, digital processors, and vocal correctors, I still love the sweet sanctuary of good old acoustic music. There is something about the intimacy of acoustic music that tickles my senses. The instruments demand presence. Sound holes and reeds can only project so far and acoustic instruments mix with other acoustics so delicately. They demand immediate attention. Maybe we are not fooled by the projection of speakers and other types of electronically beefed music. Natural music is embedded in our hearts.

Think of the great music that fills this world. Think of the roots of modern music. Think of how many acoustic instruments it would take to equal the power of a live metal performance. Many of my favorite artists have acoustic ties. What would Jazz be without the low-end boom of an upright bass? Where would Miles Davis' legacy be without an illustrious career in traditional acoustic Jazz? Classical music is carved into our childhoods in the forms of lullabies and sing-alongs. Though not always connecting with modern listeners classical music creeps into our heads through movies and television. We hear acoustic music just walking through a produce section of our favorite grocery store. Who doesn't know at least a melody or two from Beethoven's Fifth Symphony? I can hear Ode To Joy in a Killers song. Talk about old melodies. They all are.

People have always found ways to pump up their instruments. The science of physics took a back seat to the ear for centuries. I guess we got the point where we really needed our eardrums fizzled. Many people simply dismiss acoustic music as something old, and run toward the fort of metal guitars and drum n' bass. Just don't forget the grand daddies. I'm glad that electronic instruments once deemed as, "not likely to catch on with mainstream composers," have taken their place beside drum sets and flutes. They have been for a long time now. There is no point to call today's music hybrid. It all is considering amplification and modern processors. Classical music is getting tangled up with electronic beats and people are using effects processors to revise bluegrass music. Yes, bluegrass!!!

As much as we try to down play the rise of the machines, or put down "old" music for being soft, we can always find something unique in acoustic music. If given the opportunity, an acoustic performance can take us back to a time where our ears heard what was pure for them. We can dream of a time where our synthesized sounds were only science fiction, and with an active mind, who knows what other avenues we can open up? Don't forget your roots.

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