Music Log



The album I recorded and am referencing below

Tonight I mastered Catalog of Attributes and put it up on my Exquisite Corp Bandcamp. As in the past 5 or 6 albums I've done, all music on this album was recorded and mastered within a few days. I really like these tracks. Yesterday I went to Prospect Park and sat out in the woods, near the meandering loping lake-stream in the middle. I listened to Huerco S.'s album Those Of You Who Have Never (And Also Those Who Have). It's 4 years old now, from 2016. A great album title! To find the name I looked on Discogs and accidentally looked at the reviews. Someone described it as ambient music you can dance to and that's a great description. I wanna make that!

During the month of October I participated in Looptober. I made a track a day for the month; despite the name, they were not technically loops but instead a helpful exercise, one with a ready audience of peers. I posted my tracks to Mastodon. Rather than just record everything, I found myself adding a whole new workflow. I left my instrument plugged in so starting to make music was easy. Literally just flip the switch, put on headphones, and turn on the recording device. Second, I didn't ambiently turn on the recording device to capture everything for sifting later. I was much more intentional. When I hit into a rich vein of sound and rhythm and it felt like a track was going to come out, only at that time did I hit the record button. I also tried to pay attention to transitions: fading in and out. Lastly, despite making the music joyfully and rapidly, when listening back later I allowed myself to cut. If a track that had been fun to play and I thought at the time was strong turned out not to be the solid piece I had imagined, I cut it. In fact, learning to cut more is extremely useful. Sometimes I took notes or scribbled down possible track titles or even just a number of the track and a star or a note to cut the end sooner. These would all be useful new skills. At the end of the month I put Sloptember online, and have since recorded and released 5 more albums on Bandcamp before the one tonight. That's a lot of music!

The most obviously key technique I've taken on is daily practice. Even though I'm not participating in Looptober's one-a-day track anymore, for the month of November, I've mostly kept the practice up. Even if it's late, past my bedtime, and I'm really done, I still will turn on the modular and see what comes from the patch set up from the previous night's track, or leftover in the morphagen's pseudo tape loops. The daily practice means I don't become rusty. I have an intuitive sense of what works, how far I can push certain effects, and even which directions to turn next. I'm thankful for this feeling.

To finish the works, I take the audio off of my Zoom H-5 recorder and then bring it into Audition and use Izotope Ozone Elements mastering plugin. I add a little compression, limiting, EQ'ing. There's much room for me to improve here.

I received the book Making Music: 74 Creative Strategies for Electronic Music Producers in the mail 2 days ago and started reading, based on my friend Aaron's suggestion. It's really great. Ostensibly published by Ableton, the book is actually really solidly written with ideas that can be applied to any electronic music production: it's not specific to their software, or even software in specific. I mean, I'm mostly using hardware except at the final mastering stage. It's also so far applicable to any genre, which is really nice.

The book is broken into three main sections: Problems of Beginning, Problems of Problems of Progressing, Problems of Finishing. This makes me think of a chess book with its openings, middle game and endgame. The first section is by far the longest. I'm not someone who suffers from lack of ideas or artist's block. But the suggestions so far are really great: ways to analyze my own music; tips for breaking down others' successes, based on my own evaluation; and using this combo to develop my own techniques and workflows. I haven't even gotten very far in the book, and so far I've used several of the ideas.

Catalog of Attributes is the name of one of the creative strategies in the book, and I liked the name and activity, so it's now the name of my album using that technique. Essentially, you listen to a track or in my case an album, that you like. Many times. You write down lots of description, breaking down the techniques, specifications, all the little facets that can be used to describe the track. Here are some of the attributes I wrote down about the Huerco S. album track:

When I sat down to play music last night I guess I kept these ideas in the back of my mind. After recording, I took some notes on my own music, my own catalog of attributes: just letting it play out; drone; no excessive knob twiddling; a little saturated and hopefully warm; a little filtering; randomness is constrained so it won't go too far out of bounds but enough variation that it stays interesting and enough to listen for. Great drone and mini segments

I'm feeling pretty good about what I've made.