Saturday, December 15, 2018
Began working on this cover of Cream's Strange Brew. Was Side tracked at a certain point by my John 5 Squier/Telecaster falling out of tune all the time. Have switched to .011 strings. Hard to find that gauge in Kunming but one shop had themHopefully will in the future or I can order them at least. So, while I deal with all of that this song is on hold for a couple days. Usually takes a couple days before I can use brand new strings. The thicker gauge does seem to hold the pitch better. After decades I still cannot really string up a guitar very well. Hoping that the thicker strings hold better. And I like the sound much more. Do find for my old school style heavier strings are better than lighter.
Tuesday, December 11, 2018
Here I made some screen captures of my Ableton Live projects folders. The reason being to get an over view that I currently have several projects in various stages of work and completion. Maybe are at what I call the 80% stage. Meaning they have everything (including lyrics) finished except for vocals and final guitar leads and fills. Some are a 50% stage or so, meaning rhythm tracks and foundation is okay, but they lack rhythm guitars or those guitars need to be done over. The point being that there are a lot of songs here, many originals and many covers, that are almost finished and yet they stay in an incomplete state. Some for a very long time. I have had some of these songs for almost two years. Not many but a few. Granted the parts have beens all recorded over a couple times or more and arrangements have changed. But still, that none of these songs have really been finished is an issue. I should also note that there are still many other songs I have worked on to song stage and then deleted or moved on from. I may have a plan to redo them and so in a sense they are still potential projects as well.
But I need a totally new work strategy in order to complete these and move on to new projects. A strategy I feel is to select ONE at the 80% area song and just do it. No more than one song. Not two. But any song with drums, bass, rhythm guitars and keys and with completed lyrics can be a suitable project. After completing the vocals and remaining guitar part the song will be 95% finished, with the last 5% being infernal ass mix tweaking. I can still practice guitar, keys or voice, but while trying to complete a project I cannot start a new project during that time. This means not even dropping down Midi files or recording guitar parts to remember the riffs and chords. So, now I need a project to complete. Lemme think.
Sunday, December 9, 2018
One conclusion I have arrived at recently is that I need to my recording work during the daytime. Late morning to mid afternoon is probably best. late night is not too good for that, though late night can be good for tweaking mixes or just practicing an instrument. At night I am awake and up but my productive ability is shot. I am not too focused on things like recording. Maybe writing, or drawing or just playing an instrument, but now laying down tracks. This should be the one thing I have taken from this journal session for today and I can begin, if I choose, tomorrow. In a minute I may well practice some stuff I have been working with, but I will not need Ableton for that. Just Guitar Pro 7 and Amplitube.
I have decided to start this music journal to keep track of what is going on, or maybe not going on, with me and my music projects. Not long ago I was really driven and almost even passionate about churning out some music projects to record and share online. But recently I am not all that motivated though I tend to work and practice around a bit here and there. But after going through a spell where I did not play an instrument or open my DAW (Ableton Live) for over an entire month I have decided maybe something is up. I do not want to forsake the projects I have begun and I want to make new songs and pieces while I still have the health and time. But in fairness to myself I have to say there have been a few setbacks in one form or another that have caused me to slow down quite a bit. I do not want to explore them in too much depth right now but I will list them best I can as a note to myself to explore later.
1) The recent death of my best friend has left me just not feeling like these things are as important as they once were. Not that they are completely unimportant, but that they have taken on a position of just not being necessary or crucial to bring to completion. This person meant a lot to me and with his sudden absence in my world I just have lost some direction and drive. And yet I also have a very real sense of how short life is and of my own mortality.
2) There have been some issues with sites I had planned to share new songs on once they were completed. Some issues are my own change of attitude, others are more than that. Such as one site in particular simply going off line. Another couple sites are not that exciting to em and I may talk more about those later. But in terms of sites that support "hobby" music there really are not any like that anymore. Lots of flashy sites promoting bands and semi-pro or professional musicians looking to make money or get signed on with some company.
3) Like lots of guys who do this sort of thing a point arises where the pay off for all the work we do comes into the foreground of out plans. If all we are working for is to upload a song at a hobby music sharing site (as I call them) to get a few listens and one or two comments from other people on the site then it can get frustrating if you do not in fact get those things. I am in that category of person. I need to adjust what my expectations are, to the point that I may be making music just for myself alone. If I can accept that I will be able to move forward, but if I am looking to fit into some club or group I am doomed to fail as I am not that type of personality and never will be.
4) I have to push material into a place where I am adding vocals more quickly. I have he ability to get a song to the 80% point pretty quickly, whether a cover or even an original. I am comfortable editing and rearranging inside Ableton Live. I can get it going pretty fast really, but I freeze up and stall at the vocal stage and as well with the lead guitar stuff. I have to address this. This is in fact a major obstacle. I feel with a day or two of practice I can get my voice to a place to pull off vocal good enough, but I have never created the habit of doing it, the way I have doing bass and guitars and arranging the foundations of the song.
5) About a year ago a person I thought was a friend told me to "not quit my day job" after hearing a couple pieces I was working on. The friendship ended at that moment and also I guess I took a big hit from that. It came out of nowhere I felt and while he tried to brush it off as a joke I was deeply hurt and now have an issue around sharing stuff. In some ways that is why I created this imaginary band, The Bent Eights, along with my Arctic Transmissions project. To produce stuff behind a veil of some anonymity, and to expect and deal with some meanness in regards to sharing stuff. I have also learned to be nice to what other people do. If I hate it I can move on. To this day I still get pissed off when I recall that. he contacted me a couple months ago, and I later blocked him. I do not want to be friends with people like him.
6) And last (for now) is I have had some issues with my health and some high blood pressure medicine I take and various side effects from it. I need the meds. But I have been wrestling with finding the right meds and dose and time table for taking them for months. A sort of listless feeling and dizziness is something I have to deal with. It does affect my motivation and takes some edge off of my attitude. I also deal with anxiety and depression without medications. It can all be a struggle I have no energy to deal with on some days. I also live in China were medicine and doctors are not the same and I do not really speak the language well enough to just talk with the doctor about the problems. But I have to accept that and adjust and do what I can when I can and chill out.
But the purpose of this little journal is not to chronicle me giving up on these current and future projects, to to sort it all out and get off my ass and get it done. That is what I want to do.