Weekend Recap: Today We Are All Sharks

I am, to my great relief, not nearly as hungover as I’d anticipated I’d be, and my stomach isn’t in terrible shape either; so even though the end result of the Superbowl was a bit of a disappointment, I’m more than happy to call it even.  The NYC weather, on the other hand… the less said about that, the better.

Three topics to discuss today, and which will likely serve as a preview of the month to come here at SFTC HQ.

MUSIC:  Given that yesterday was the Superbowl, and that in addition to chasing a toddler around a small apartment we were also hosting a small-ish viewing party of sorts, I have not yet started recording anything for this year’s RPM Challenge.  Tonight’s the night, however, where I do get started.  As soon as the kid goes to bed, I’m getting to work.

I’m going to try and do it differently this year than in years past – not just for the RPM Challenge, but for my creative process in general; I’m just aiming to record at least one loop every night, without judging it or revising it or mixing it or converting it to mp3.  If the loop turns into something else while I’m working on it, that’s fine, and I certainly won’t stop myself from adding sections if they’re coming naturally and organically.  But I’m more interested in working in such a way that I can make this a daily routine, rather than a chore that I struggle with.

I may or may not have talked about this before in this blog; I’m sure I’ve talked about it on my retired journals.  But my creative process is in need of a serious shake-up.  I have a tendency, when working on loops and stuff, to end up stuck; I’ll finish a loop, it’ll sound pretty neat, and so I’ll mix it and convert it to mp3 and put it on my iPhone and I’ll go around and listen to it for a few days, and then it’s all I think about, and I think about what I’ll add to it and how I’ll re-arrange it, and then I never actually do any of that stuff, and the loop ends up just the same as it was when I started it.  And then instead of going back to record the next day, I put it off and put it off and then 6 months go by and I’ve got nothing to show for it.

Instead, I’m aiming to simply record and record and record and then, every Sunday, listen back to everything and then make some sense of it.  I’ll be sending out the week’s collection to a friendly set of ears, under the caveat that everything is deliberately and necessarily raw and unfinished and underdeveloped, and this set of ears may or may not offer feedback; the feedback isn’t necessarily as important to me right now as just the idea that someone else is keeping tabs on me and making sure that the work I promised to deliver is there.  At the end of the month, if all goes well, I should have 20+ recordings and sketches of varying quality, and at that point we’ll listen to everything and see how we want to proceed.  The RPM Challenge may end on March 1, but that’s not my deadline, nor my destination; I’m mostly interested in what happens over the next 28 days, given that I’m going to be building stuff from scratch.

I was asked if there’s any particular idea behind this album I’m working on; that’s hard to say, given that I don’t yet know what I’m going to be recording.  But certainly the feelings and emotions and memories that got stirred up from my aborted NaNo attempt are still very much lingering in my brain, and I’d imagine that whatever music I end up making is going to be colored by those feelings – regardless of whether I write lyrics or not.

Unlike NaNo, though, where I was feeling incredibly intimidated by the blank page, I’m feeling very energized and psyched and ready to do this.  Unless I already have a song assembling itself in my head, I tend to work best when I’m building from scratch, and because I’m trying to produce a ton of stuff without paying attention to quality, rather than obsessing over each 45-second loop and making sure it’s perfect and then realizing that I’ve done nothing else for a month, I’m hoping that the sheer act of daily work becomes its own reward.

GAMES:  Because the music stuff is going to be taking priority for the next few weeks (and also that there’s not much coming out in February that I’m all that excited about), it’s doubtful that I’ll have much to offer in this particular area.  For whatever it’s worth, I’m around 5 or 6 story missions away from finishing Far Cry 4; I’ve hijacked every radio tower, and I’ve only got 2 or 3 more outposts to liberate; I’ve crafted every item except one, and the only side stuff I’m paying attention to are propaganda posters, death masks, and mani wheels.  It has become a pleasant grind, even as the narrative remains dumb and everything else remains silly; I’m letting it be my post-recording reward, to unwind for 45 minutes or so and slowly turn off my brain before trying to fall asleep.

BOOKS:  I finished Your Face Tomorrow, Volume 2 this morning and am anxious to start (and finish) Volume 3.  I am racing through them, but not necessarily because I’m enjoying them; rather, there are certain areas where the narrator’s digressions become painfully tedious and repetitive and ridiculous, and they don’t enrich the reading experience as much as the writer thinks they might.  That being said, there is an interesting story starting to brew, and there are frequent insightful and resonant passages that I’ve been highlighting and saving, and so I’m finding myself still invested in the trilogy as a whole, and so I certainly can’t stop reading now.  They are a hard recommendation, for sure, and my 3-out-of-5 star reviews aren’t really telling the whole story; perhaps I’ll have more to say about it when I finish this last one.

I haven’t yet decided what I’m reading next, either, though I suspect I’ll need something to cleanse the palate before diving into something heavy, so maybe it’ll be Amy Poehler’s memoir, and/or Patton Oswalt’s new book.

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