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  • Writer's pictureKevin Keller

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?

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Steve Holtje
Steve Holtje
Feb 10, 2021

I like where this went.


Dianna Kessler
Feb 05, 2021

I felt a yearning at the beginning which masked the wind with a kind of lonely introspection. I like the voice coming through on its own. There is a little more hope in it once the wind leaves. It is almost a haunting of memory from the soul for me. But again, there are some tones of hope that come into it. I like this part a lot with the piano coming in for awhile without the voice. At this point, I feel there is a haunting revealing in the quiet before the wind comes back in. Then the long dark night falls, and yet there is still a constant edge and light keeping me moving forward away from da…


Feb 05, 2021

I find the very opening to be too scratchy, I would prefer the vocal to be more like the sound starting at 2:00. Having said that, I find that I hear a yearning in the beginning that is very engaging and that gradually turns to a hypnotic trance that occurs, for example, while walking in the forest (and a Tolkien forest at that), and then the trance morphs into a kind of pleasant awakening and a gradual realization that there are important feelings to consider, as your first movement ends. Very nice. I hope your second movement starts to consider those feelings using a different musical texture from the first movement.


Feb 05, 2021

wrote a whole epic but it the ending. want to encourage you to jump off into the unknown. you end up someplace you never expected to be and its often a revelation. collaboration does that too. also stumbled onto pobot, song called touros i think, on soundcloud, he has some interesting shifts in rhythm. i like the ending a lot. sorry wish i hadn't lost the first round of writing, was better....


Feb 04, 2021

Overture at the end! Very nice...

For me it starts with that lonely winter truth...and mystery

Then we revisit a friendly theme

Later there is new life sprouting on the forest floor in an unstoppable renewal

Then we retreat back into the distance, as the shadows grow long

We are gifted a new theme upon this retreat, as we slowly circle around to sleep....ah

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