This month’s music project, for me, was truly experimental. While it might not sound that way to you–especially if you’re already way into “experimental music”–that’s definitely what it was for me.
My goal this month was to make something out of everything I had already made. I wanted to deliberately exclude the writing or recording of anything new. That meant I was limiting myself to the waveforms of existing tracks, and attempting to put them together in a way that was mostly unrecognizable from their original form.
I am friends with a lot of musicians much more skilled than myself. Most of them play organic instruments. They developed the muscle memory to operate a music instrument and they trained their ears at the same time. As such, the enjoyment of music for them is different from what I have developed for myself. For them, music is not just what is there at the end, it’s also in the way the music feels in their hands and how it unfolds in the moment they are experiencing. For me, on the other hand, my enjoyment is in learning and discovery. It’s in the feeling of ‘finishing’ something and the feeling of having made something I would enjoy listening to. (And self-gratifyingly do).
Experimenting with music when it is about the unfolding of a specific moment in time can flow naturally and feel great. But experimenting with music when you’re fulfillment is waiting at the end is setting yourself up to never find that end.
Over the last year, I’ve grown comfortable with the narrative and structure of music driven by a vocalist. The vocalist reigns in the musical exploration to some degree. It becomes an anchor helping to inform you of where you’re going next. When I’m working on a project like that, each little success is a microcosm of how I’ll feel when the track is finally done. But when I’m working on a project such as this month’s, there are no little successes, only little ‘events’. It’s never clear whether they add or take away from the overall sound.
Most importantly though, when working on an experimental track like this one, it’s almost impossible to tell when you’re done. There’s truly always something left to tweak. Always something left to scrap, replace, try differently. This second sounds like an outtro, but maybe it’s a transition. This sample sounds good, but maybe it’d sound better if it were totally different.
If I’m being honest–which is generally my policy–this month was a far cry from my favorite. A kind of choice paralysis set in and the track ballooned to a whopping 8 minutes long. After a lot of reworking, false-starts, and tear downs, I have to call this track finished. I suspect that if I do not, it will never see the light of day and I would fall short of my goal on the 11th month. Fat chance.
This song cost nearly 30 hours this month and includes samples from every track I have released, some more than others. It’s a good track for the morning run, or while you’re working on something. I hope you enjoy it!