Day 4: Absolute music
Updated: Feb 23, 2021
I've felt uncomfortable for 4 days straight.
When I feel comfortable, it’s because I’ve planned out what I want to accomplish in advance. I have a clear path that I’m following, and I don’t ever stray too far from it. When I do this, I feel safe. Even when I have a brief setback, it doesn’t deter me from the path that I’ve chosen. That's because my music is almost always “about” something. I know what the subject matter is, so I know right away if the music fits or not.
This week, I’m not following a pre-determined plan. My only “plan” is to work in my studio each day, creating new sounds and then letting those sounds take me wherever they want to go. After 4 days of this, I have about 10 minutes of music that at least on the surface sounds “finished”. It has a beginning, a middle, and an end. Those three parts don’t necessarily fit together in any conventional sense, but they do work, somehow.
I have a strong urge to impose some kind of order on this music, and on this process, but I’m fighting that urge right now because I want to see where I end up without any sense of order. It feels creatively chaotic to me, which is probably a good thing.
This music is not "about" anything. For the first time ever, I'm not even working with a title, which is usually my starting off point. Without a title, or a subject, I feel like someone just pushed me out of a plane and I'm free falling, with no idea where I'll land.
I spent the whole morning working on what I thought was "an ending" to this section of music. When I was done, it sounded dull, lifeless, and completely predictable. So, I threw it all out and started over again, going purposely in the opposite direction. With a new sound that I designed this afternoon, the music felt much better, and now this section sounds "complete" - at least for now.
I know it's a lot of music to listen to in one sitting (10 minutes), but I have a feeling most of my listeners won't be deterred. Crank it up, immerse yourself, and let the music carry you away. Then, please share your impressions here in the comments.
What did you hear? Where did you go? How did you feel?