Wednesday
Apr232003

« Storms Brewing »

For those not in the know, I have a CD for sale. Buy a few copies for yourself, your friends and family, and not least of which, your enemies. Send them to soldiers in Iraq. Give them to coworkers. There are a million uses for my CD, and believe it or not, they can even be put into music playback devices and enjoyed for the pure aesthetic qualities they have.

I am discovering the joys of Ebay. I just hocked some stuff that was getting a little long in the tooth and being a little ignored. I've been on yet another binge of studio change up lately. I have had a hell of a time getting gear that is suited for me. I made a few ill-informed purchases a couple years ago when some money came my way, and for that I've been having a hard time getting into recording. I am on a simplifying trend as of the last year or so. It used to be that I tracked with effects, compression and all that on most tracks. Now, I find it difficult to want to deal with that. Earlier on, I used to do that wet tracking so that my mix down could be easier, or I could do less track bouncing to add effects. Now, not only do I want to hide behind certain effects less altogether, I also don't need to sweat the complex mixdown work as much, because everything can be automated into a fine mix. So things change. My main focus now is getting snappy tracks to disk that aren't loaded with clipped transients, or other sonic detritus that spoils the fun. I'm not really a perfectionist, but cleaner tracks are my mission now.

Of course, that has been a challenge. The short road is nice as far as engineering goes but it's not the same as when I used sound as a compositional aid. Nowadays it's just me and the gear and a short signal path. I have shed the delays and pitch shifters and reverbs on tracking. And the fact is, I used to get some neat sounds that inspired me to do this, that, or the other. And I sort of think that maybe I should bring some of that back. But I am truly looking for the inspiration to come from wherever, and more purely be filtered through a bass, guitar, keyboard or whatever, and preferably with other players. I won't kid you; for a guy used to making noise and sculpting it into music, it's a change of pace. Most of the last couple of years since my CD was worked on, I have been a lot less prolific. I have been so self-censoring that all of two years work has been sent to digital heaven. Yep, it's like the guy at his typewriter that has a floor covered with wadded up papers with a few paragraphs, lines, words or just a byline typed out. He knows that something isn't right enough. Well, digital media is cheap and easily reusable, so I have been really critical of stuff that has been done here for over two years. Hours and hours of stuff that just doesn't seem right. It goes bye-bye.

As I said in the journal before this, I am just not really settled on a number of issues. Music is my main mistress of confusion, but anyone would have to have no pulse to be anything but unsure of the world today. In some ways, I feel that music as I made it before about a year ago is irrelevant. That's not to dismiss it, but in the context of a world scene such as we have today, I just can't do songs that are like most of what I did. The end period of the recording of Receiving was the start of that feeling. That CD started off with a madly prolific few months in late '99, but it slowed for the part of 2000 that it spread into (about mid August). In that time, life was changing some, but the big change was to happen yet. And this was a year before 9/11. But that didn't do as much as things earlier that year that were going on in my life. Still, it did begin to focus my attention on matters bigger than myself, and that is still going on today. I think if I had to say it in a few words, 2001 was a year of letting my obsession with my problems give way to obsession with the world's problems. I don't know if that's better for me, but I have to let that worry go too as part of the deal. In music, there is as much confusion as in the world. I want to make honest music, and not hide behind gear. Life is full of paradoxes right now for me. I alternate like mad, wondering whether I should sell all my earthly possessions and travel, even as potentially dangerous as it could be for Americans now. Or should I stay camped out here and make music with all the stuff I have amassed here at Hog Heaven? Am I on the right track, messing with fickle and flaky musicians and wannabes? Should I make a solo album that calls on all I have to give, but avoids all the above flakes? Or sell it all and go to the third world and taste something I can't get here? All this is wondered even outside of the context of a "real job" and its attendant concerns. I'm caught between feeling that my bohemian days are behind me, and thinking that they really haven't begun yet. With all the self-censoring, I feel that my musical output is getting worse and worse, but I have to remind myself that my standards are getting better and better.

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