This week a more philosophical post. The whole proces of making an album from scratch is hard, for me it was starting all over again with making music. From getting back into learning how to use Ableton to more conceptual questions about how I wanted my project and ultimately my album to sound and look like.
At first I wrote a white paper of sorts too gather what I wanted out of it. Which was too learn as much as possible and also do as much as possible. The whole concept, which I will keep to myself for now as it isn’t finished, was pretty big.
Not just in the timeframe but also for my current level of knowledge and experience. That’s ok, and I will explain why.
First of all, it means the first iteration will most probably fail, as my project did in the timeframe I had set myself. The failure however is the goal in many ways. As reaching for goal far beyond what I can accomplish today will get me too learn a lot. A lot more than I would do when I set myself up for easy goals.
The trick is however, to set shorter term goals that are achievable, but contribute in a large part towards the big goal. The short iterations and tiny tasks will get you there. However this is for me at least pretty frustrating at times. As I am used to learning very fast, and put lots of time in a project. Which I can’t do anymore.
But by taking small steps I got a rhythm going, every week I spent a fixed amount of time on music projects , whether it be learning, researching, programming or making music every week I do something. No matter how little it is, I put in my fixed set of hours which I know I can put in. Also everything which is ultimately worth something to me is achieved by doing hard things consistently.
As a result I have learned a lot, it might not go as fast as I want, be as good as I want, but I am getting there. Consistency is key.
This week I have been jamming with a small setup and researching how I can get the most out of it. I have also had the recorder running so the tapes are there. I have planned another two weeks ahead with more of these jam sessions. So I am consistently making music. And get my focus back on the main event, making music. Hopefully my brain can keep up with it.
Another topic that I have been working on some more is figuring out the possibilities regarding releasing the music. For me the easiest, well not exactly easy but most comfortable way is to see release it. Getting stuff out there via a few platforms so I don’t get lost and see if I can create a constant schedule in releasing my music. Let’s see how I get on at first, I can always expand later.
Visuals are increasingly important as a way of getting music out there, especially with things like Youtube which are a source of new music for lots of people. In my original plan for my album project I had come up with the idea to integrate Touchdesigner for the visual component. And the fun bit about this is you can connect it to MAX MSP. I am now figuring out how I can incorporate this into my patches and generate a nice visual to go with my music.
A very good week, but I still fall into the pitfall of loosing my focus. As everything is fun and the joy I get out of researching stuff. But I feel I return to my original idea much quicker than I used too. So that’s a win. Now all I need to do is finishing music, and find the confidence to release it.
This week my time was mostly geared towards learning a small selection of modules I collected with the Morphagene as the center of the setup. Which was my study object of last week.
I put all the manuals in a single folder en started reading them. I am always surprised at the level of fun I have studying and thinking about how gear works. At the same time I am always disappointed how much time it takes me.
Another matter I am thinking about is what to do with my music once its finished. Do I try and find a label or do I self release. One doesn’t rule out the other , but at the moment I am leaning towards self releasing. Partly because it appeals too my tendency to control everything, partly because of an underlying fear of rejection.
A fear that is based on nothing as I never sent any music to a label and thus never got rejected. Rejection is also just part of life, but in the back of my mind that plays a role in my decision.
Either way it’s good to know the process of getting music released, so that once you get work released on a label you know the steps and at what point in the proces some extra attention is necessary.
It’s also nice to have a to do list ready in case the music making isn’t feasible. Another way of keeping myself occupied with music related work.
Another week done, which was a very productive week, with a focus. Learning MAX MSP. I have always had the goal learning to really get into MAX, and finally being a bit more fluent with it. It was also a big part of my original concept for the album.
I have already built a looper with the help of some excellent YouTube video’s. More on this in these blogs, 1, 2 .
Besides the Looper I have always had the idea of controlling my Eurorack via MAX MSP, and add some other things to the Eurorack. Like Oscillators and so on and record and edit the results.
The learning curve proved to be a bit steep and didn’t yield any more direct results which I could easily incorporate into music making. Besides that I frequently got distracted by other gear and options.
This week has seen a return to the original idea and the tasks at hand needed to get there. Starting with the excellent book Step by Step which covers the topic on building sequencers with MAX Msp. I have written about this previously.
And I have done a fair bit of reading done already, but in order to get to grips with MAX more thoroughly I need to work on it every week, not just a few sessions in between other sessions. So I need to plan at least a session every week. Otherwise I need te reacquaint myself every time, which is a waste of time.
Besides the work on Max I have taken some time reading music magazines and reorganizing my sample collection.
Time really moves fast on projects like these and I still need more time than I think I need and run out of it faster. This is not always easy, but I still have fun every time I get going, which I really enjoy.