I released my second Epiphora album in 2005. I had a bunch of musicians help me out with it, and one of them was Rob Aquino from the band South 16 – he was a guitarist, and he played a solo on Song For My Sisters. Although we tried to get his work done before I left the east coast for Oregon, it just didn’t come together. So we decided to collaborate across the great expanse of the United States … electronically.

In traditional studios, any piece of music was recorded onto a reel of tape, and that reel could be carried from studio to studio easily, as long as it didn’t encounter any temperature extremes. Pretty portable. What happened with us was that Rob recorded his solo along to a mix of the song and then saved the track as a digital wave file, which he then emailed to me (20 seconds of wave data was easy enough to attach to email). I got the email in Oregon, saved the attachment to a USB drive, and then walked to the studio room with the USB drive in my hand.

That’s where it hit me. I was holding a guitar solo in the palm of my hand. For some reason, even though I have a master’s degree in a technical discipline, it’s the smallest bit of technology that will never cease to amaze me. I felt so powerful as I walked to the studio room and plugged in his solo, knowing it would sit perfectly in the mix, and I wouldn’t have to force anything. It would just work.

Eight years later, such a story of digital music transfer may seem commonplace, but we’ve all had moments where technology sneaks up on us, taps us on the shoulder, and says “Look at me!”

usb

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