Another System Failure

I think my firewire port is malfunctioning.  My audio interface seems to work fine with my laptop, but is not cooperating with my main computer.  I may still be able to finish the tweeks on MusiM’s “Missing Dead,” but it might require a bit of guesswork.

As it is, I don’t have time to work, thus doubling even slight frustrations I may already have.   Time for a whole new computer, I guess.  Perhaps all this overtime will pay off in the end, provided I’m not fucked on taxes and insurance.

Overtime and Other Updates

With the amount of overtime I’ve been working at my teaching gig, I spend more time at work than at home.  As a result, yet another delay on the album – which at this point it should be no surprise.  I am quite disappointed that my September/October deadline will pass.  I hope to be freer after August, at which point I can resume minimal production work.

Speaking of production, my “Production Notebooks” entries seem to be getting quite a lot of attention from people who I believe are looking for dramaturgy-related materials.

I apologize, but thanks for visiting my site.

This may be the end of updates for a while, but I think I lost most potential fans years ago.

The Production Notebook V: John Beauchamp, Zachary Annett, and Lizzie Gask!

Just a quick one this time for the record, as well as a few preemptive thanks.

As mentioned previously, the creative stage is going well enough, while the production stage is virtually absent.  There are a lot of songs that reflect a broken heart (and perhaps this is one of many excuses not to work on the album), something I’d always hoped none of my albums would become.  Hence, Hijacking Your Fiction may be more therapy than art.

“Voices” is currently my favorite work-in-progress (with the increasingly frustrating “Ruin” right behind) so I feel the need to get everything just right.  I finally had a few ideas yesterday that might get me a couple steps closer to the production stage.  The lyrics are coming together (indeed, the lyrics for most of the songs are nearly finished) and I’m considering using Lizzie Gask, known around these parts for her work with The Dirty 30s, and who will likely be featured on at least one other song on the album, to help me close the song.

As far as using other people, I’d also like to give a quick mention (there will be longer mentions later, no doubt) to John Beauchamp (a.k.a. MusiM) who is doing an embarrassingly simple guitar riff for me, not because I’m incapable mind you, but because I do not at this time have an electric guitar in Seoul.  I did, but its disappearance is another story.  I’ve turned acoustic guitars into post-production electrics before, but in this case I’m going to need an electric to achieve the tone I’m looking for.  Also, my cousin Zachary Annett will be featured on drums for “Reconnect,” and I’m debating whether to hand him drumming duties for the album version of “Gate 36.”    Finally, a preemptive thanks to Scott Coward who, whether he knows it or not, will become my mixing engineer.  He may also, again unbeknownst to him, contribute some hand drums to “Sweet Victory.”

One final note, I may opt to work on The Recovery Project for a while, a digital noise side-project that I’ve had on the back burner for quite some time and have been hoping to use to vent some frustrations, instead of AllThisIsMeaningless.  I spoke of therapy, and right now I can’t imagine a better therapy than that.

The Production Notebook IV: Cafes, Guitars and Giving Up

I woke up late Thursday, and rather than getting to work as I said I would (nothing new there), I went over the hill into Itaewon (the so-called “foreigner district,” near my flat) for lunch and to go to a cafe.  I read a little, and studied Korean even less before sleepily going home, where I did manage to get a bit done.

More guitar work:  Worked on the rhythm guitar for “Reconnect” as well as “Where Are You?” (working title “Chimera”).  Also came up with a simple riff for “Electricity,” though part of what I liked about the song was its driving simplicity, so I’m not sure at this point whether or not I will use it.

Also for “Where Are You?” I put another effort toward additional percussion and am much happier with the result.  I may recruit a friend or two to add some good hand percussion, and I will likely make a third attempt.

I don’t want to do anything but sleep.  I feel I’m giving up.

One more week before I have to return to my job.

Irrelevant and Tacky

I’m quite angry with WordPress at the moment.  After paying for the domain name, I’d rather not have PopPressed invading the bottom of posts with such trash as “What One Does in Paris If One Is a Carter or a Knowles.”  The blog remained advertisement-free until I upgraded, and now I have to pay another $30 to get rid of the ads that weren’t there before I registered the domain?  Furthermore, as I began posting a direct link to the Production Notebook on facebook, I noticed that the thumbnail showed the same photo to the link I’ve just mentioned.  So now Beyonce and Jay-Z have to be on my facebook page as well?  Blogger bubblegumcage3 sums it up very well when he says “it’s irrelevant and tacky, which makes it look like spam.”

I do not wish to say any more on the issue here than I already have (if I feel irrelevant advertisements do not belong on my blog, perhaps neither should lengthy discourse on the matter – besides, this already feels like a waste of time and blog-space), so good discussions about WordPress advertising, and what I gather to be relatively recent changes in WP policy, can be found here, here and here if you’re interested.  In the first link, a WP “Happiness Engineer” locks the discussion on the second page.

All said, I do like WordPress and have no intention of abandoning it (yet).  Nor, however, have I any intention to let WordPress use my posts to “occasionally” (occasionally, my ass – check the last half-dozen blog posts) place “discreet” (discreet, my ass – they are hideous and given precedence to “Likes” and comments) advertisements, so it seems I’ll be eating another $29.97, as I’ve already invested in the domain for a year, after which I may move this blog (admittedly unlikely).  I do, of course, understand that it costs money to run a hosting service, but this is essentially the same cost I’d be paying to self-host, only without the conveniences offered by WordPress.  While there are alternatives, I still find WP unmatched for those of us who are incapable of web design.  Fuckers.

P.S.  Did I mention that I can see the advertisements on nearly every post even though WP states that they try “very hard to not intrude or show ads to logged-in readers”?  Nonetheless, I’ve decided to wait a few days to see if they “make the ads display a bit better than they are now,” as they seem to be promising.

The Production Notebook III: Guitar, Gayageum, Actual Progress

I have done little to speak of this week, either too tired or desperate to get away from the computer and the apartment, returning exhausted from having spent the day in one of the most densely packed cities in the world.  But today, or last night rather, small progress at last.

The downside is that there is little to show for this progress just yet.  But there have been a few tricky parts I’ve been struggling with and trying to work out that I think I’ve figured out.  This is, unfortunately, mostly creative progress.  Creativity is the easy part – the actual work is when I start to fall apart.

The lead synth that’s been giving me fits on “Voices”:  I think I’ve managed to put together a patch on the Korg that might help beef it up a bit.  That would make the fourth Prophecy generated sound on the song.

Also on “Voices”:  Will try adding some guitar strumming and arpeggios to fill out the sound where needed.

The break, or third part, of “Chimera” (which will probably be called “Ruin”):  I think this will feature a bit of abstract gayageum and percussion.  I’ve kind of worked out a rough melody and need to flesh it out a little more.

An untitled piece that I’m determined to put on the track, but haven’t been sure where to go with it:  This is to be fairly up-tempo track, which may open the album or be the second song, after “Voices” (the more likely scenario).  There will be no drums, only acoustic guitar, synth, and a little DIY percussion.  This one has such a long way to go, it may not make it on the album.

A final technical problem:  The synth used for the bass in “Electricity” doesn’t want to work on my new computer, which means either finishing the song on my laptop or rendering the bass track, importing it on the new computer and hoping everything works out alright.

The Production Notebook II: More Futility, Finish First, and Going Out

There’s not much to report in the second installment of the Production Notebook.  I made a few minor tweaks to “Crush” and added additional synth work, some minor changes to “Chimera” (the working title) that I’m not entirely satisfied with, tried to replace (rather unsuccessfully) a synth in “Voices” that has been bothering me due to its thinness, and worked out a guitar bit for “Sweet Victory” (also a working title).  I attempted to add additional percussion to “Sweet Victory” as well, but it didn’t turn out the way I wanted.  Other than that, I’m finding myself obsessed with mixing rather than finishing the damned songs, which is pointless considering I’ll have to do more mixing when the songs are finished anyway, and especially futile given that I am uncertain of the acoustics in this room.

Finish first, mix later.

I also played around with a couple songs for side projects, and one that will likely be on the next album, but these are mere distraction at a time when I need to be working on Hijacking Your Fiction.

All in all, it should be evident that it didn’t go so well today, and I found myself getting overwhelmed with the number of things I need to do, unable to focus on one song.  I’m quickly losing interest, I’m afraid.

I’ve begun to fear that the songs are too simple.  They were meant to be that way initially, but as my musical and technical skills develop I find myself wanting to rewrite everything.  I can’t quite seem to get to the “good enough” frame of mind that is necessary for any musician.  I believe it was Michael Knott (among others, I’m sure) who said that if he ever waited until he was satisfied with his music, he’d never release anything.  This is why I’m in my 30s, and have never released anything officially, with the exception of the early releases on the C/Fe Records sampler in 2009.

On this subject, I’ve come across a fascinating article from Malcolm Gladwell in which he ponders the emergence of talent, particularly in so-called “late bloomers.”  I’m much too tired to give my thoughts at this time (indeed, I’m having difficulty forming full sentences at the moment), but I can’t help but to think that my relatively late start in the musical world has something to do with the way I work.  I will leave you, and this rambling but hopefully coherent entry, with an excerpt from the article which sounds entirely too familiar to me:

Prodigies like Picasso, Galenson argues, rarely engage in that kind of open-ended exploration. They tend to be “conceptual,” Galenson says, in the sense that they start with a clear idea of where they want to go, and then they execute it. “I can hardly understand the importance given to the word ‘research,’ ” Picasso once said in an interview with the artist Marius de Zayas. “In my opinion, to search means nothing in painting. To find is the thing.” He continued, “The several manners I have used in my art must not be considered as an evolution or as steps toward an unknown ideal of painting. . . . I have never made trials or experiments.”

But late bloomers, Galenson says, tend to work the other way around. Their approach is experimental. “Their goals are imprecise, so their procedure is tentative and incremental,” Galenson writes in “Old Masters and Young Geniuses,” and he goes on:

The imprecision of their goals means that these artists rarely feel they have succeeded, and their careers are consequently often dominated by the pursuit of a single objective. These artists repeat themselves, painting the same subject many times, and gradually changing its treatment in an experimental process of trial and error. Each work leads to the next, and none is generally privileged over others, so experimental painters rarely make specific preparatory sketches or plans for a painting. They consider the production of a painting as a process of searching, in which they aim to discover the image in the course of making it; they typically believe that learning is a more important goal than making finished paintings. Experimental artists build their skills gradually over the course of their careers, improving their work slowly over long periods. These artists are perfectionists and are typically plagued by frustration at their inability to achieve their goal.