A very quick post as I wanted to share something after a long day of work in my final week. Three more days and I have time to work on SM-LL… at long last.
A selection of some of the Roland CR-78 drum sounds quickly emulated in the Nord Modular G1 this evening, running through a new delay unit that found its way to our studio.
New habits form, new ideas emerge, new sounds are tempting, but a need to strip back, remove, and get into less.
The Nord is coming back slowly, and I feel it’s about time.
Yes, sounds created on equipment that doesn’t allow endless editing. Remove the persistent want to fiddle, the relentless tweaking and changing, for it often results in a washed out, overly smushed sound that tires the ears.
Lets get less precious, rougher on those edges, create things that are only perfect through there imperfections.
The want to be impressed with sound is not the point, finding ways to be impressed in the unimpressive is perhaps more interesting. It’s not in the ‘next big thing’ but perhaps in revisiting, seeking out the missed, finding new in the old, finding more in less, and taking joy in losing the battle for perfection.
Stop being so anal about your sounds.
A quick post, and the first for some time.
Time has been the biggest challenge once again, but focus is very much on music.
Last weekend brought two people together, creating sounds, drinking coffee and sharing dreams.
Today I am sharing something with you that I created recently inspired by this meet.
Main sound sources are a chord provided by Mike Oliver, played through my Akai S2800, sequenced by my new Alesis MMT-8. Also some trusty silver boxes creep in.
Enjoy…more to come tomorrow.
There often seems to be something in my creative output that prevents me from doing what I want to. With this I don’t mean the stopping of creating through having no time, like I have mentioned in previous posts, but more a hesitation in beginning down a path that will probably yield satisfying results. Stopping myself from doing something that will work, stopping myself in doing something that I am desperate to do.
A possible thought might be “lets not get too complicated or fussy”, or “that will surely work, so lets try something that wont for a while first”.
Well recently after receiving some criticism in my day job I decided to change this, I say criticism but what I actually mean is more a direct challenge to what I hold as a core to my purpose in being there in the first place. I am very pleased I received what I did, as what was a very high determination to do things the best they can be done, has now found a new life, in doing even closer to what I believe. This push has crossed over into stopping the hesitation, and doing what I think I should, but otherwise might put aside.
Welcome back Akai S2800, I have missed you. You have been a key part in my life, and have the wear marks on your dial to prove it. The times we have spent together has never been forgotten, but now the past is revisited, and unlike what was once a memory fondled and recited, I am bringing back into my life, and you and me will create once again. I am sorry to have neglected you, but now is no time to feel sorry, lets make sounds together, but lets make up for lost time. Lets explore your sounds and filters like no other machine has, and lets show those too who have forgotten your sound.
Welcome back Akai S2800.
So recently I have been struggling with time, not managing my time, but owning my own time. I am sure this rings true for many people. The difference this time, is that I have made some decisions that will eventually give me back my time. After all, my time is mine, and why wouldn’t I be able to own it?
I was offered something recently, that would probably have taken up more of my time, but decided I would not take the chance. I was in a position recently, to earn a fair bit of money, money that would come in handy, but this money would mean almost all my free time would be taken up…taken away. I decided to turn way this money. It wasn’t worth my time. Currently I am finishing the last of my freelance web work, as this too is taking up to much of my time. Again the money comes in handy, but what good is money if I have no time to do anything with it. And I would have to say for me, money is a tool, a choice, not a way of life, and I choose no.
So what will I do with this spare time?
I will begin my record label soon. I will release the music I feel needs to be released. I will pay the people who deserve to be paid. I will create chances for those who deserve a chance. I will travel to see those who I want to see. I will marry those who I have always wanted to marry. I will share my knowledge with those who are willing to use it.
But more importantly than all this. I will decide to be me. I will choose for me, as choosing for me, means those who stick around, will be able to share the fun.
Today I was given some feedback in the form of a score, along with some written supporting feedback. This score sheet was based on other peoples expectation of me and how this held up against the actual outcome in their own view. The score was between 1-5, 1 exceeding expectation, 5 being something like shut the door on the way out.
When I first looked at the score, I had already said to myself that although quite fun, the score on its own and without the written feedback does little to actually help me. However, I wanted to think about the score a while before reading the feedback.
As I went through the scoring, I was reminded of my first school, of university, and of various other times in my life whereby a score had been used to assess me. Similar to these situations, I listened to my feelings, comparing them to my own expectations of myself, and as is often the case in these sorts of situations, internally debated how things measured up.
At first look I seemed score average, a few below, and one really low one. I thought about it for a while, and concluded this was probably quite fair. I respect the people I work with, and this seemed believable. These were perhaps all areas I am quite sensitive to, and am always trying to improve, and so could easily find a reason for the score as it was as I pondered back over the previous months leading up to this feedback. I was reasonably happy and looking forward to doing better next time.
Then a strange thing happened, whereby I suddenly realised what I had done. I had made a mistake in reading the scores. Despite being told and understanding the score system, I had somehow still managed to get it completely backwards. I had been looking at it all wrong, and actually was scoring average, some above, and one very good score. I was suddenly completely thrown.
After going through a process of justifying my score, the previous incorrect score, I was now trying to reevaluate it all over again, and it just seemed all wrong. I almost felt like I didn’t agree, and yet obviously slightly happier, I was still slightly confused.
What seems to have been a benefit of this mistake, is that I learned more about how I look at myself, about how I evaluate what is important to me, and how I wish to improve, than any written feedback would have provided if from someone else’s point of view. Obviously written feedback from others ‘is’ very important, but this only shows me what others think of me, and not what I think of myself. Never have I been really able to closely consider my own strengths and weaknesses from my perspective, and only was I able to come close through mistakingly reading the score and then having to reevaluate myself all over again.
This reminded me of how we think of our strengths and weaknesses. When I consider myself I say I am not working hard enough, not being organised, and not being disciplined. Otehrs are that my writing is not very good, I don’t read enough, and I am anti social. Although, as you might already know if you have met me, or can presume from supporting this blog, that these are pretty extreme views of myself. I can’t obviously start undoing these ideas of myself by saying I am good at writing, or focus, as I just said I don’t think I am. But I also am wondering, that although I was perhaps not good at these things many many years ago, and so decided to do something about it, I may not be like this anymore. The trouble here, is in an undoing of what we used to motivate our improvements of ourselves, creates a fear these improvements will somehow be undone. The moment I say I am now good at something I once was not, I will immediately judge my ability against my own expectations, expectations that how then increased. I move from perhaps what some might say is modesty, to being quite cocky.
When I think about this perspective of evaluation, it does ring slightly true in how I make music. I have often chose to work with less equipment, or specific or restrictive situations, to allow a lower expectation of an outcome. The outcome alternatively seems much greater than expected, and therefore I am able to respond better, or perhaps more comfortably, to any given situation or direction. The result is more a delivery of restrictions and process through limiting or manipulating expectation. If we expect it to be repetative, simple, abstract, we might therefore be able to get into it. If we expect a rugby ball to be round, we are always going to misunderstand the sport. Personally I don’t get rugby anyway… but thats another story.
This all reminds me of those classic words we have all probably heard in some form or another, uttered by particular types of soundman, going something like; “I think your cables are loose” for us to reply “err no, it’s meant to sound like that”.