Continued working with the virus tonight. The more I do, the more I get used to it's front panel. It's obvious to me that once access created the VSTi, they decided the front panel ergonomics didn't matter. It's a great synth, but a terrible interface!
I also started toying with a cover I'd thought about conceptually in high school. It's a great classic song who's time has really come around again, unfortunately. I've a singer in mind, and I'm hoping she will work on it with me.
Tonight was a quite night in the studio. Nights when I’ve got my son usually are. Most of my time was spent listening to an internet stream and doing some programming on the Virus TI2.
Working with the virus is almost weird at this point. I’ve had it in so many of it’s incarnations, and you’d think it’s sound would have gotten dull and boring to me by now….but I still find odd corners to explore with it..new ways to make it drone and bark.
I also listened the new track I’ve been working on for a bit. It’s got a nice, slow, industrial feel. It’s needs a melody, though. I think the virus patch I’m working on might work for it.
Aside from an absolutely DISASTEROUS hockey game I watched, I spent some time in the studio. I started playing with something yesterday that is evolving in my mind as a long form ambient broadcast. Tentatively titled 'Lethologica', it's got a nice modular noodle with some beats and samples under it. I'd like to do some more sound design for it and load up the Octatrack before I record it. The hard part, as always, will be finding the time to do so. Maybe I need to take a Work From Home day Thursday…
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.
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:
- I have to limit myself and take more time for activities that rejuvinate and replenish me.
- I have to better focus on who and what I give my time to. My priorities need some shifting
- 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, 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?
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.
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?
I started recording the audio elements to the track I’d been improvising around. The capture went well, but I am having some trouble structuring. I’ve *kind of* got an intro…kind of…but not really, and I don’t know what to do in the body. The impove I did with J the other night sounded *really* good…but I just can’t get back to that sound.
Part of the reason I am having issues, I think, is also that my speakers are poorly placed. I don’t know how to improve that much given the layout of the room I am in. One nice thing in my old space was that the PC was centered which made recording and mixing easy. I need to figure out a better way to lay things out for mixing. I almost need a separate set of speackers for mix and compose. That is just so expensive though…
The important thing, though, is that I am engaging in the process of recording and arranging. I haven’t gone to that step with a track in a long while, and it is extrenely important to keep engaged in it. Even if progress is painfully slow, at least it’s there.
So never stop – Keep moving – Breathe….
For the past two years, I have found it impossible to write (music or words). Months would pass and I wouldn’t even look at my gear, or I’d turn it on and just spend time mucking about the internet instead.
Now…Its like an unbeatable force pullling me. I have to write. I *have to*. I have things in my head…lots of things…and I need to get them out. My well is full again.
So how did I go from having an empty well to a full one? What was it that triggered the the floodgates to open and replenish me?
Honestly, I have no fucking clue. It is a complete mystery why I had nothing in my head and now its full. The way it happened, you’d think aliens abducted me and uploaded these thoughts and ideas right into my brain. One day, I woke up and they were just *there*.
I wish I knew how it happens. It happened when I wrote ‘Dust‘. Out of no where, I was compelled to write and to do so at th exclusion of everything else. It was a drive that I had. I had something in my head, and I needed to get it out or my head would explode Scanners style all over the living room. What triggers it, I don’t think I will ever know.
But why isn’t important anyway. What is important is that I have a full well to draw on for the first time in a long while. I need to respect that gift by using it and not squandering it. This means some difficulties for the people around me as I become a moody bastard and lock myself in my studio for long hours. It means my mind may not always be ‘in it’ when we are discussing other things. It means that sometimes, I may be late to appointments becuase I had an idea that just had to come out RIGHT FUCKING NOW. It means that I must write, record and release this album I have within me. I must. If not, I risk running the well dry and having nothing to show for it.