K I S S – Not the Band – The Principle

Let’s talk about my favorite acronym, KISS.  No not the band but favorite mantra, “Keep It Simple Stupid”.    But I will say this, KISS the band is a pretty good example of KISS the principle.

One of the flaws of youthful thinking is that the more complicated something is the more intelligence it must take to understand and therefore it must the better.

Through life I have learned in music and art and everything else that simplicity is best.

Simplicity requires more intelligence, work and skill to master and complicated things can all be boiled down to a simple concept.

I have witnessed in business how very intelligent people (most with engineering degrees) cannot grasp a simple process, scoff at its simplicity and assume something that simple will never work.  Yet each and every time it produces the desired results until they take it and start adding layers and steps.  I have watched them take simple tried and true processes complicate them, turn them into a disaster and then want to sit back and analyze why it didn’t work using another complicated process to do the analysis.

Next they will start laying blame on the person or persons operating the process.  Basically coming to the conclusion the process failed because of operator and not the flawed process.  They will then proceed to add some more complication to the process and watch it fail again.

I guess it’s job security.

The more steps or components you add to a process the greater your chance for error and failure.  So Keep It Simple Stupid.

When I was young and starting out in music I had a difficult time understanding simplicity n music, the less is more concept.  I have learned over the years and each day understand more and more how one well place note can surpass 100 notes a hundred fold.

Through dissecting music and recordings I have discovered one constant.

Each individual track or part is basically very simple.  So simple that if a layman were listening to just the one track they would think “I can do that”.  But try it.  You can’t.  You can’t capture what that artist put into each note.  And since the notes are sparse they are precious.  None can be wasted.  The artist sees the value of each and every  note and applies them accordingly.

Then these simple tracks are built one on top the other until you have a very good recording, a piece of art.  But it’s all built with simple solid tracks, like a brick wall.  Each brick is pretty simple but when those simple bricks are laid together in the proper manner you have a solid wall that can be beautiful.

All of life it like that, everything, keep your base simple and solid.  Every note is precious so use them well.

© Otis P Smith and About the Groove, 2015. Unauthorized use and/or duplication of this material without express and written permission from this blog’s author and/or owner is strictly prohibited. Excerpts and links may be used, provided that full and clear credit is given to Otis P Smith and About the Groove with appropriate and specific direction to the original content.

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