Day Two, A-OK

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.

11 Responses to “Day Two, A-OK”

  1. Charlie Says:

    Glad it’s going well man, liking the tracks and cant wait to see how they’re effected by the gradual build up/release from the neuroses that have been plaguing you for the trial period! all the best and see you tomorrow

  2. Jez Says:


    Yaz i’ve got such a weird stalkery obsession with your project now, makes me think of that poem
    The Road Not Taken – Frost
    all this ordered simplicity and neatness, it looks pretty attractive. you can assume an audience in moi… although of course that’s what your partly trying to avoid in the end.

    I was thinking that the strictness of your rules would only be relevant now in the context of your approach to the divided activitys (like you were saying before, in how you consider ‘working time’ and ‘music time’ and what affect that has on your practice) because originally making a timetable to stick to was more like a solidarity thing.. If i were doing it with you, there would be mutual support in sharing the conditions. but now your.. um, totally doomed. there’s less need for that right? only if you get to the point where your not working the hours to produce enough music for the upload. but I imagine that’s where the whole (building) self-discipline thing kicks in.

    I was wondering, in isolation proper – I guess you’ll have to turn comments off? (and only receive messages via email once your out) or can you just turn off your ability to view comments? because it seems a shame to loose the continuity of peoples responses in relation to the posts. and as one-of-your-public its exciting to see that other people are watching what your up to too, but i don’t know if that’s possible.

    fun rhythms… are totally idiomatic to Yaz in Isolation, i think i love it. perfect arithmetical music for the social recluse. Its exactly what i imagined you making after 20 days. AND marseilles is awesome and your a fool to dislike it. I’d be bloody happy if i’d made that today. We’ve listened to it 6 times already.

    oh and in your routine can you replace the word ‘free’ for ‘fun’


  3. maggi squire Says:

    Hi Yaz,
    I shall be another who listens with interest,
    like what you are doing… sounds very upbeat!
    grinning in the mirror sounds like good practice!
    till another time….

  4. Guy Lochhead Says:

    I remember that thing you said before when I was trying to master stuff about your ears getting less sensitive when you’ve been working on something for too long?
    You know at school when they say to have five/ten minute breaks for every hour your working, so you’re still fresh and all that? Maybe try that?
    Just because it must be mad frustrating to feel like your ears are giving up and you can’t do too much about it..
    Maybe fifteen minutes of white noise for every hour?
    Or an hour for every hour?
    Or 23 hours of white noise? One hour of puking?

  5. Fatima Says:

    Salaams Yaseen.
    My main comment from last night still stands. Stop evaluating your work while in retreat, rather try to come to that place where you realise that music can never come from you. You are only the intermediary, the tool, in the hands of God. Your task is to get yourself out of the way, to let Him make music through you. Then your concern is no longer the music but your surrender. I am not saying that this will make things easier but it will put the focus on where it is meant to be and most useful for you spiritually.

  6. Lucy Says:

    yas is it important that you are breaking rules?
    i think thats something you have to stick to either way.
    either allowing yourself to break rules
    and therefore making a rule that you can break rules,
    or being very strict on not breaking rules.
    does that make sense? i feel like i explained that very badly, but seems important…

  7. Taz Says:

    I like the track!! And I love reading your blog. Maybe instead of punishments for breaking rules you could introduce rewards for meeting them? And I agree with Fatima – don’t judge your work, just let it be. Especially if your ears are giving up on you and you didn’t like that track, when everyone else that has commented seems to like it! I also agree with Guy that taking regular breaks is very important. Do some yoga or Dalcroze for 5 mins each hour? stand on your head? starjumps? Body-mind connections can be strangely effective…
    Most importantly – enjoy!

  8. Ibrahim Says:

    I liked it too! Of course perhaps those that have commented so far weren’t your target audience?!

    The idea of you being in isolation doing starjumps and headstands is very entertaining 🙂

  9. Billy Says:

    Yaz I fear that this blog is going to make for some really harrowing reading. If it gets too bleak I’m gonna track you down and haul your ass out of there. Just thought i’d mention that since you gave me that copy of logic, it has offered a nice little escape from my illustration work. In fact, just lately I have been making more music than I have illustrations. Maybe applying this vice versa could help you out if you get my drift. I like this track yaseen. Is there any way you can rig up your computer or software to only work at certain times of the day? You’re pretty nifty with those machines Yas and if you could do this somehow you would have no choice but to work within certain times.


  10. Zaynab Says:

    Oh hello though.

    So, my opinion: i agree with the aboves. take breaks, dont judge yourself (after work hours), rules are there to be broken.

    if we humans only published what we thought was the perfect, finished product there would be very little published creative output. with live music you cant take back what youve played, so maybe have that in mind. like you did, compose, and if you dont like it post it anyway and just write that you dont like it (so that you know we know, ‘ho ho’). and if you dont reach your 5 minutes then you dont reach it, dont make music for the sake of it. leave bars out rather than fill them in to reach a self-imposed target. or?

    but i think its all marvellous. really good. i reckon youve thought of everything, including likelihood of mental deterioration, so well done there, and i like what i hear.

    i look forward to the real deal, to ‘isolation proper’.

  11. beef police Says:

    i always find that dividing your day into set activities or just work and rest is impossible if youre crap at relaxing. it is fair to say that nutcases dont really have real social lives which gives them the undeniable ability to explore whatever depths of their mind they wish to.
    isolation inspired creativity if defo possible without having timetables.

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