Archive for September, 2009

Day Two, A-OK

September 24, 2009

What will happen to my massive self-consciousness? Everything I write assumes an audience, and this inevitably bears on the content, not to mention the music I am making. I would like it to lessen over the forty days, but it seems unlikely. Instead, with no idea of response to my work, I imagine it overwhelming and consuming me to the point of sociopathy.

I’m finding it difficult to resist working outside of my scheduled working hours, so I started trying to work out why I decided on the rule. I think at the time, it didn’t need rationalising, but I guess I forgot my reasons. So here are some ideas:

To experiment with separating work and leisure. In my normal routine, music always takes place in my free time, begging the question: What is, or how do I view, its status as an activity?

To force efficient use of working time. I think, over the last few years, making music has become a way to kill time. Often I spend an hour or more splapping about with some piece of toss and producing nothing at the end. I would like to economise this practice and reach a state where music making is never a waste of time. Said like a merchant banker.

The Day Today

I grinned at myself in the mirror.

I broke two rules.

A ginger cat took a shit in the vegetable patch.

I’ve been recording a pop track today, with guitars and singing and everything. I haven’t reached my five min. min. (hoho). Which is bad. In fact the recording isn’t even finished, I’ve written some verses but not recorded them. Hopefully I’ll finish the song at the weekend. So today we have a short version with just the chorus and some tiffy either side.

Today’s was an unmistakable case of mental block. I guess this is part of the process, but it was so difficult to force myself. Every lyric I recorded, I deleted. I’m currently at a stage where I can’t bear to hear the track. I’ve completely lost perspective of how I wanted it to sound, it’s hard to convince myself I ever wanted it to sound the way it does.

I could really have done with breaking from what I was doing and allowing at least an hour to let my ears refresh themselves. I reached a stage where I was slotting in extra bars, just to try and make the track longer. Which is really quite stupid.

Anyway, here is the short version, with just the chorus, I guess a pretty miserable effort considering my intentions…

marseilles (right click and “save target as”)

I went over my working time limit by about and hour today. I wasn’t really expecting to (have to?) break rules, I kind of imagined they’d all just  be matters of self control. Should I set in place a punishment system for this kind of situation? Seems a little harsh, it was punishment enough listening to that track…

Only six hours to go until trial is over. It feels quite an ordeal, even though it was only 48 hours. I’m quite excited about speaking to another living being.

Please comment, criticise, say hello etc..

Bye now.

why no working outside designated hours?
to experiment with separating work and leisure.
in my normal routine, music always takes place in my free time.
to force optimal use of working time. i think, for me at the moment, making music is often a way to kill time. often i spend an hour or more fiddling with some piece of work and producing nothing at the end. I would like to streamline this practice and reach a state where music making is never a waste of time.

The Trial 23.09.09.

September 23, 2009


At lunch am faced with tough quiz: Should I save jam sandwich for dessert after evening meal?

I don’t feel particularly lonely, but already I catch myself reaching to check my phone. Probably just habit. I would love to check my email. That’d be nice.

I can hear the other occupants moving about the house. Of course, this won’t be the case when I am in isolation proper, and so it makes me doubt the similarity between this trial and the real thing. How much can I rely on this test for data regarding ‘my doom’, as I have begun to call it. HO HO HO, not really.

Stupidly, I really am still bothered about whether I should save this sandwich until later. I can imagine these kinds of petty concern driving me to distraction once I have been out of human contact for a few days. I suppose it will only get worse with time…

Again, this specific problem won’t arise during ‘my doom’ (Ha) because I won’t be forced to squirrel away a pair of sweaty sandwiches the night before for fear of meeting ‘the others’. Fuck it, I’m gonna eat it.

Work was slow this morning. Wasted about an hour on a shit 8 bar electro-pop loop, which was shit shit. Later I built a nifty little rhythm machine (which I call ‘fun rhythms tempo’). Hopefully this afternoon will yield some results with said machine.

Possible amendments to rules and routine:

>> Include writing blog/diary/thoughts at lunch. Possibly also at breakfast.

>> No eating food outside designated eating times. (Don’t quite know why though, I suppose it’s a distraction)

>> Maybe I shouldn’t restrict myself to working during working hours.

Opinions please! Also, any other suggestions would be great.


I have decided to extend this trial to 48 hours. It feels as though I would have a better idea of what to expect if I were to do this. At lunch it seemed a good idea. By 5 o clock I felt completely reluctant to draw out this confinement (for so it feels to me), but it is this reluctance which presses me to continue. I need to know how much I will have to push myself once I am in isolation.

I produced about 27 minutes of music today (way in excess of my five minute minimum). They are essentially scored improvisations using the aforementioned ‘fun rhythms tempo’ as instrument and score. Here is a screenshot:


It uses tempo divided metronomes to trigger FM synths and has a sort of building block construction, allowing for a nice hierarchical rhythm system. Here are the best two of the three tracks. I hope, at 8 minutes each, they don’t tend toward tedium (SWEET alliteration).

fun rhythms yesss (right click and “save target as”)

fun rhythms today (right click and “save target as”)

Whilst I am quite pleased with these three tracks, I feel a little as though I have cheated. Although they are scored to a fairly high degree, they are still essentially improvisations, which I think this is most apparent in the structure of the pieces. If they were fully composed and structurally planned, they would probably be shorter, and take a lot longer to compile. With this kind of work, you can eventually reach a point where you are producing finished music in real time, minute for minute. Which seems a little unfair.

Please leave lots of smashing comments and some sharp criticisms.

I’m sorry for the lateness of the post, there have been a few (infuriating) technical teething problems. To be expected I suppose.


Trial Run Info, HOHOHO

September 22, 2009

Proposed Trial Isolation One
Wednesday 23rd September 2009
24 Hours

00:00. Sleep

07:30. Wake
Clean living/working space

09:00. Begin working day

11:00. Drink some tea
Continue Working

12:30. Break for lunch

13:30. Resume working day

17:00. End working day
Free time

18:00. Prepare blog

19:00. Upload blog
Clean space
Free time

00:00. Sleep

>>No communication, except to post the blog, or in emergencies (obviously).
>>By 17:00 I must have recorded, ready to publish, at least five minutes of music.
>>There is to be no working on music outside the working hours: 09:00 until 12:30 and 13:30 until 17:00. >>No listening to music, except that which I am working on.
>>No access to or consumption of other media, except books unrelated to music. >>No newspapers, TV, Radio, or any form of mass communication.

I expect, from this trial, to get a picture of how reasonable my rules and routine are and to get some idea of how they will affect my practice. I am hoping they will encourage focused, driven, sincere music making. My biggest concern is that I will find myself utterly without inspiration and that, in forcing myself to work despite this, I will make essentially rubbish music.
On a purely practical level, I’m expecting this 24 hour trial to help me finalise and clarify the conditions of the isolation and to highlight any unforeseen issues.

Three hours to go. To mark the occasion and, more importantly, test the .mp3 upload function, here is a track from the Mane of Mule EP, (which can be downloaded ABSOLUTELY FREE from the Best New Fun website):

Isolation is fun

September 19, 2009

Forty days of social, physical and communicative isolation.

Strict daily routine necessitating the composition of music and the upload of audio files six times a week.

The project experiments with creative practice, exploring the effects of personal separation on process and product. By dislocating myself from society I hope to develop effective methods of working, producing at least five minutes of music each working day.

With regards obligation to my own prescribed rules, my awareness of a public (or, perhaps, a potential public) can be considered an aid to self discipline, hence this blog.

Between 00:00 15th October and 00:00 24th November 2009 I will be out of all contact. Despite this, please post comments and send emails, my detachment will not be affected as I won’t be receiving them during the isolation period.

On Wednesday 23rd September I intend to attempt a 24 hour practice. Check back for the results, the post will be at 19:00. Depending on the results of this practice, I am hoping to embark on a 72 hour practice the following week.

The purpose of these trial-runs is multifaceted: to clarify the rules I should set myself; to give an idea of how I will feel; to see how much music I can create; and to highlight any points/aspects/ideas I have missed.

Please leave your comments/criticism/questions/ideas etc.. All feedback is hugely appreciated.