Another week done. Time sure goes pretty fast. Especially when working on fun things. So this week has been all about MAX MSP. Partly due to having problems this week with listening too sound over a longer period of time, and partly because I had it planned.
Besides learning the workings of MAX I got into learning short cuts, basic workflow stuff that’s all over this software. I am more and more seeing the use of memorizing all this in order to gain some speed in my workflow. With my limited cognitive energy it’s vital for me when I able too handle sound I can can get ideas out quickly. And finish them fast as well.
Muscle memory is key in that it skips thinking about were I can find a certain function, it becomes like riding a bike. It’s not the most exciting bit of this journey but a very essential one. Getting to know your equipment and making sure using it becomes second nature.
However learning these things is very straining, which I didn’t really expect. I know I have too get trough this phase of the learning curve in order too speed up the music making proces. To be continued. Onto next week.
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 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 flew by, and this week I didn’t do much in the way of working on the musical project that is making the album. My music hours were spent on reading manuals and listening to music. I amassed a fair backlog of music that needs listening or re-listening with focus & attention. I sometimes just listened parts of albums or didn’t really take my time for them. So this week it was all about the Elektron Digitakt & Autechre EPS 1991 -2002.
The Digitakt has long been on the wish list and I borrowed one for a while to check it out. After my Motu sound card stopped working I went on the search for a small sound card & got the idea to buy the Digitakt instead. It can also be used as a sound card after all. Very handy indeed.
I never dove into the manual as it works pretty intuitive, but after reading and diving into the Machinedrum last week I also started reading the manual for the Digitakt. And I must say, that’s not a bad idea. Especially the bit on the MIDI tracks which I never really use had some nice insights which triggered a lot of ideas for the combination with the modular & sequencing hardware samplers. I haven’t finished reading but I have months worth of ideas too explore.
I never really read any manuals before I got more or less forced into reading them and it’s simply highly recommended, you always learn something and pick up on interesting avenues for exploration.
Autechre EPS 1991 – 2002
I am a big Autechre enthusiast, and I am always trying too complete my collection. So when EPS 1991 – 2002 was released I bought it straight away. But never really listened to it as a whole. Partly because I have some of the EPS’s which are floating around my collection, somewhere. And I don’t have all of them. I have been listening to some of the EPS, but not from start to finish.
The beauty of this collection is you can listen too the development of Autechre’s music trough the years, from the more rave oriented tracks going towards the more abstract work. I really find it very nice how the music despite all the structural shapes retains it’s open and dynamic character. Every time I listen I hear different things or listen in a different way. It really helps sitting down for it and focus on listening. And not just put it on as background music. Although for me it works very well as background music while working. For people just starting out with Autechre and want a nice beginning of a collection this box is an excellent point to begin.
The real work on the album wasn’t for me this week. I did however spent my allocated time for music on music related topics. Working on technical knowledge & inspiration. This keeps the momentum going which is important.
Week 6, quite a different week compared to the last few weeks. My brain wasn’t cooperating and I couldn’t stand sounds. Which makes working with music pretty difficult. It’s part of having brain damage so I had to make due. And try keeping busy in other ways.
First part of the week was mostly getting some extra rest in, and after that period I mostly been trying to read manuals. Albeit slow I stil got the feeling I was working on the project. And in a way this was the case.
Hopefully I have recovered enough into next week and I can start working on my music project according to plan.
Week 2 in the house, time flies when you’re having fun. And fun it is. Week 1 resulted in my project framework for what I want to achieve. For this week my goal was to start building my sample library for my tracks.
Firstly, I want to talk about time management. I don’t have a lot of quality time due to my brain damage , so I can’t be at it for hours on end or listen to a lot of sound for a long period of time. So my schedule is an hour of intense activity at a time.
Which means making actual sounds for sampling , listening to loops etc. Working with sound basically. Learning and reading is easier on my brain so I can do that more often. So it’s preparation , and then making the noise.
Things like building my Max MSP patches, Eurorack ideas and learning both Max MSP and Ableton are at the forefront at the moment. And about 2 hours of sound design and sampling.
Another thing I got to do, is make a moodboard of my influences for the album. Which is fun to do, it has also brought some new angles to the project in ways of getting it all together.
One thing I have noticed is that it’s way more fun to have a goal. I enjoy simply sitting with my gear and making sounds, this really gives it an edge. Being not solely a tool to escape but to really create is something I have never done.
Not all the planned stuff got finished this week, and maybe my initial goal is something I need more time to accomplice , but for now I just keep at it.