Category Archives: thoughts

Happy Hostilidays

I hate the holidays. They max out my schedule, max out my credit cards, and just generally do whatever they can to piss me off for two months a year. Then, my birthday comes and just lays a whole layer of funk on the whole thing.

A facebook discussion on this lead to my development of an idea for an alternative and, I think, more honest version of the Holiday season, I call “the Hostilidays”. Here is my (early) vision for this.

1. Festivities start the Wednesday before Thanksgiving when we file frivolous lawsuits against all of our nearest and dearest.
2. Instead of sending xmas cards, we serve papers. Beware carolers.
3. Mediations will be held at all the most inconvenient times between then and xmas eve when we all get together and agree to settle for bottles of alcoholic beverages.
4. Then we drink around a burning xmas tree, while exchanging neuroses.

Symbols of the holiday:
Aside from the tree to be burned, decorations also include a half burned xmas wreath and wine stained carpet.

Who wants to celebrate with me next year?

oh..and instead of “happy holidays” or “merry christmas”, the greeting for hostilidays are either “talk to my lawyer” or simply “fuck you”. I also like “You’ve been served, mother fucker!”. I think you get the point.

Your thoughts?

Or maybe not..

So I thought about it…maybe I should keep the blog around, if only for jotting down a few thoughts and keeping my mind on music.

I’ve been considering my goals for the next album. Aside from the usual ‘pushing myself artistically’ and so forth, there are some things I’d like to do that are more about process than art. There are some tools in my studio I’d like to find a way to shoehorn in to this process.

First and foremost, I’d like to make a lot of use of the hours and hours of audio I’ve been capturing on my field recorder the last few years. I’ve got gigs of back yard recordings, walks in Chicago, construction sights, coffee makers, garage noises and every noisemaking toy my son has received since he was 3 that I can draw from. All of it is poorly cataloged and completely unorganized. That actually might be a good thing, since not knowing the source of a sound makes it easier to divorce your mind from that source and to think of the sound as something else. I’ll be making heavy use of Adobe Audition for this, which I didn’t have the last time I did an album.

Another thing that needs to make it into the workflow is the iPad. Ideally, I’d like to start a track on it, or develop assets for a track using the various apps on it. I’m sure if I put my mind to it, I could do an entire track in Korg Gadget and Akai iMPC Pro. Samplr and probably the Thor app by Propellerheads would probably be a good fit.

I’d like to find someone who plays hand drums to work with. A drummer would be really cool. Vocalists, obviously. I wish I could find an actual writer to help with the lyrics/thematic material.

That’s just a few of the points I’d like to hit. Obviously, there are modular workflows i’d like to explore as well. I’ve never really done percussion on the modular, and maybe that’s something to be explored as well.

I’m not going to guilt myself with deadlines or promises that I may not be able to keep, I’ll just say that I’m going to make progress, steady progress, and it will be done when it’s done.

Do you want to contribute to my next album or broadcast? Contact me, and let me know what you have in mind.

Hibernation Instinct

Every year, as the days get shorter, I feel the urge to withdraw. This force compelling me to hunker down in my studio and create. This also happens after I've had my dragon raised out of my control (if you're lucky, Ill tell that story soon). It's a response by the machine in me to reassert itself – shut down emotions, temper your pasions and shrink into self. Let the purely logical guide you for a time. Feel only what you must.

This state has upsides. My creativity surges, I get a lot of work done and I feel accomplished for a time. Unfortunately, it also comes with signficant down.

I sink away from those I care about and who care about me. I hide in my hole. I am distant and unreachable. I feel a million miles away even when I am right there.

I am quick to anger because everything feels like a distraction from internal work that needs to be done. I snap. I bark. I bicker.

I feel overwhelmed by the urge to stay on the path of least resistance. Stay home. Don't go out. Break dates. Avoid social interaction. Listen to the machine.

I've been searching for the solution to this my whole life. None has presented itself.

This morning, I feel it. I feel it deep. That urge to hide. To withdraw. To sink. To fall into the temporary madness of winter and hope for spring. It's like a temporary death, you know. A dark and warm place.

I am writing this because I need help. I need understanding. I need to be open about it in order to confront it and change it. I need people to draw me out and not let me sink…to not let me hide.

I will fight you. I will. 42 years is a long time to live with something. You get to know it and embrace it, and even to think it's 'just how you are'. I can't accept that anymore. I can't do this again.

I'm going to need some help with this. I don't want to sound whiney or needy or anything. I just want to get this out so people understand.

 

Lessons learned

So where have I been? I promise a blog a day and then I disappear. Typical…

Well, I've been pretty sick, actually. I had a wonderful experience with an immediate care doctor who was certain I had something that could kill you and sent me to the ER. It all went down hill from there to eventually be found days later to be a 'non-specific viral infection' (so they don't even have a clue what it was). In any case, its over.

Its odd to say it, but I think I really *needed* that illness. I get the feeling that a big part of why I got sick was because I have been pushing myself too far. Too much work, family and general life stress mixed with definitely not enough sleep and heathy physical activity is sooner or later going to bring on a crash in someone who isn't 25 anymore (not by a long shot). I was doing too much and giving too much of myself without stopping to think about how much I had left in the tank. Last week was the crash.

So now it's a new week, and the most important part of any experience is what we learn from it. Ive taken a few lessons:

  1. I have to limit myself and take more time for activities that rejuvinate and replenish me.
  2. I have to better focus on who and what I give my time to. My priorities need some shifting
  3. I need to take care better care of my health and get more sleep in general. I just have to.

It's easy to state these things but not always so easy to follow through with them. Feeling like I have no choice in the matter helps….If I don't, next time I may not get well as quickly. I'm also sure I can count on some others to help hold me accountable to my statements.

 

 

 

The problem

The problem, it seems…is screens.

Screens are everywhere…on my synth, on my desk at work, on my DAW, on my phone….I am sick of screens. I’ve spent my life staring at them and I don’t want to stare at them anymore.

This presents a problem – How does one create music in the modern era without being absolutely bombarded by gigantic screens full of more information than I want? How does one make music without mouse within a 50ft radias?

I hate screens. Screens are evil. They get in my way and make my music harder to make. I want the screens to be gone.

How do I get rid of them?

Elsewhere

My mind is not here today. Its on an uncertain future and a past locked in concrete.

It is on my lack of sleep and my productivity. It's on the intensity of my emotions. It is looking inward, trying to find the path out.

It wants to be creating music. It needs the sounds tonight.

 

Improvisation

I had a brief improvisation last night on my virus. I was just programming a patch when this sort of ambient pad piece started flowing out of my fingers. In my head, I could hear a machine loop and drums and a sort of drone off the modular..maybe a simple pulsing bass sound to push it forward..but my audience of one only heard the one part.

“I like that. It gives me images in my mind.” she said.

If only she could hear the piece as I do. What images would it draw?