September's curator is Louisville's Andy Wagner: former flutist of the tundra survey and currently working with members of the Early Day Miners and Strike City.
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plateaus, peaks, consolidation
september 25th, 2002
i’ve been in louisville for just over one year now since i moved away from chicago. one of the main reasons i left the big city was to leave everything and everybody i was familiar with and try to make it on my own. my main motivations were to find a job in a recording studio, form a band to backup my original songs, and finish my first solo album. last september i thought it would be easy, and that as i long as i remained patient and persistent, i would accomplish all of these goals. well, i’ve almost accomplished all of them, but it wasn’t anywhere near as easy as i imagined.
at the end of the summer i finally found devoted and talented band members, i got myself two songs away from finishing the album, and i expanded my set list to fill a live spot. the problem was that i found myself totally unmotivated to follow through to the end with any of them and realized that i was out of energy. i let a couple of weeks pass and finally brought it up to a friend who provided some wisdom that i wanted to make permanent here.
there were three things that i rembered. first he told me that with everyone’s ambitions, there are plateaus and peaks. we all know that, we spend 98% of our time working on whatever it is we do (plateau) all to achieve that 2% peak. but from there he explained that not everyone consolidates the accomplishments and lessons that occur between each plateau and peak cycle. in other words, to take the time to lay out what worked, what didn’t, and what needs to happen next. pretty much for the purpose of giving direction to the next plateau that leads the the next peak. in time, he claims, the time between those plateaus and peaks become shorter and shorter and the entire process moves incrementally faster.
secondly, he gave me a myriad of examples of people that we know who like to start things, but don’t like to finish them. someone thinks it would be so cool to be a pilot and goes to school for like 2000 hours, and now 50 hours away, just decides it’s not for him. not that it’s bad to change direction, but in my case i realize i do that with my own music, and after some reflection, i’ve decided that it’s a weakness for me. it’s basically like hammering through a prison wall for 15 years, and then giving up when you only had two more inches to go. it’s impossible to know when you’ll break through, but the fact is you have to eventually if you keep pounding.
finally, his explanation for all of this is the fear of success. on any level, he believes, that people don’t go those final steps because they’re actually scared to succeed. it seems ridiculous when you apply it to yourself and your own endeavors because we all sweat to achieve our thing and all we dream of is the end right? and hopefully success? well if you give it enough time, it might not seem so far fetched after all. obviously lots of people are ready for success and go after it with everything they’ve got. but if it comes to that last leg and you find yourself letting go, it may not be for any other reason than you’re scared to succeed.
i had to put this out there because i realized it was true for me. i’ve got the band, i’m two songs away from the album, so i’m officially on the last leg, and i decided that my lack of motivation and drive was, after all, because i’m scared to succeed. it was probably one of the most enlightening ideas to ever affect me, and, more importantly it set me straight to get to the peak. since last week, when i had this conversation, i got my first solo gig lined up. honestly, i’m still kind of freaked out?!
sports, writing, accounting, hunting, sewing…
august 30th, 2002
now that the piece is up, i wanted to let you know i haven’t fallen off the edge of the earth. i’m still around.
i’m really looking foward to feedback/reactions so please give. any form of payment is acceptable and appreciated. and the center of what’s been floating through my head the last couple of days.
i think i’ll have more to say about this as the months pass, but i’ve confronted a little bit of it in the last couple days. just how i’ve got these songs that i put out there and have certain feelings about that are never recriprocated in the same way. on a basic level, sometimes the songs i think suck, turn out to be someone’s favorite, or especially, vice versa. or on more complex levels where somebody translates my lyrics to the t, or completely finds a new interpretation miles away from my intention. that’s all great and expected and what i think makes it exciting and interesting and inspiring to put songs out there, but in some ways it’s also confusing me a great deal.
with c’est tout bruit, i really branched out from the means of creating music that i’m most used to. therefore the end result stands in heavy contrast to the rest of the songs i’ve written and recorded in the last year. already, people have suggested that i combine the two methods and go for an end result that includes both. some have said they should remain seperated, that one has it’s place just as the other. point is, it’s hard to figure out what i think anymore because i’ve got these outside influences now that all provide valid ideas and fresh perspectives.
what happens if someone wants you to pursue a song that you think sucks. or if someone tells you to comb your hair the other way cause it really does look better, or if they tell you you’re a much better basketball player than baseball, but you really just want to hit homers? it seems like my first instinct is to say fuck it, follow my own heart, mind, whatever, but when i get the guts to step back, i realize that these external perspectives hold truths that i could never arrive at alone. even if i don’t implement them in full, even just pieces of the idea could build a stronger finish.
i hope people will comment on these pieces as they arrive each month. just click on the gray comment thing under these entries and leave something. even if it’s just a couple of words. just for the sake of witnessing how diverse everyone’s reactions will be. in the same sense, you should be able to apply it to whatever you do be it sports, writing, accounting, hunting, sewing… i’d also like to know if someone thinks i’m wrong about all this stuff, whatever, maybe i’m not making any sense at all?
c’est tout bruit
august 12th, 2002
i finished my piece this weekend and decided to title it c’est tout bruit. go ahead and look it up yourself when you’ve got some free time. there’s tons of web translators you can find through browsers. it applies to the music, sound, and dialogue. nothing profound, but a recurring theme i guess for me in the last couple of weeks.
anyway, i’m proud of it for sure and really happy with the outcome. there were two points when i thought i was just going to hate it all. i mean i put so much into it that i didn’t want to through it out, but i was thinking i would be eternally dreading it at certain points. one i journaled about, but two, once i pretty much got done, i went to master it, where all the levels get boosted to be as loud as they possibly can, and all of a sudden the hiss behind the narrative parts was almost unbearable. i know it’s still there, maybe somewhat annoying but after a couple hours of wrestling with it, i found a method to tame it to an appropriate level. i’m glad, looking back, that i didn’t trash it and sacrifice certain parts.
the piece will be posted by september 1st, and all the options for downloading will be in place. i’m extremely thankful to be a part of this project and can’t wait to hear what’s still to come. it put me in mental place that i’d never been before, and it opened up new ideas for me that i’m definetely going to execute again. everything from holding onto the original inspiration to making the final piece. new methods and experiements with the instruments. technical engineering bs that’ll come in handy down the line. but i think most of all just reflecting a lot with the intent of being able to explain what i’m doing. i think that’s one of the most unique things about this, because usually i just write songs or fool around with recordings and let them go to whereever they may go. with c’est tout bruit, i wanted to journal everyday (sorry i didn’t cause i didn’t work on it every day cause i’m a bum, anway) explaining each move that was next in line. the four or five people that have heard it so far made some comments that i immediately responded to with “…yeah that’s exactly what i was thinking too” or “…well, the reason i added that was to try and…”. i didn’t realize how close to the parts i was until now. they were just simple, pretty minimal ideas, but they each had a role.
i’ll remember the concentration i had on this thing in the future. i know i still create for asthetic, but i won’t be suprised if i find myself being more picky on certain add ons here and there. like i said, i can’t wait for more muted tones, i think the internet is proving itself to be cool stomping ground for such things…
i hit a wall
august 06th, 2002
well, i decided to transfer everything over to the studio so i could hear what i was recording a little bit better. there’s about four portions to this thing, and one is done, maybe two, but the other two absolutely suck. last night was the first time i really hit a wall with this thing. i think it was mostly my attitude which was pretty low down last night, but also i came to the studio planning on working for like five hours, and then after an hour and half, i couldn’t think of one thing to do. i do that too often man. just overwhelm myself with these gargantuan plans, and waste energy actually thinking and imagining rathering than doing. oh well, it was just one night i guess.
see the problem was that i tried to hear it objectively and once i did, the two portions just sounded like cluttered crap. nothing interesting, just crap everywhere. once i decided that, i realised that one of the biggest problems was that i wasn’t sticking to my goal in those parts. that of creating the music with methods i’ve never used before. so it ended up being two poorly played guitar tracks, one accordian, and one flute track that i just canned all together. tonight i’m going to return with the focus being on the narration, and just providing background for the narrative portions. what i had at the end of last night really distracted me from what she was saying. tonight i’ve got some ideas on what and how to play, so i guess we’ll just see what come’s next
slammed, bammed, canned, kablambed
august 02nd, 2002
no faithful reader, i haven’t forgotten about you. it’s been a hellish week at the office. we got a gig with the government doing a jingle for some tax amnesty program. we did late night hours last week and a bunch of last minute stuff this week. not only have i run out of time to work on the project, but i couldn’t free up the ole computer to throw down an entry. but i’m up and looking foward to the next week to finish it out. i’ve got the entire house to myself so i’ll be able to make plenty of noise, just in time too cause the 15th’s coming soon. anyway, until monday, i’m outta here. enjoy the day or night, or whatever it might be there…
july 29th, 2002
just thought i’d update, let you know where i’m at. spent a good deal saturday starting to piece the specific parts. after a trip to radio shack to find the right wires to get from the handheld tape recorder to the computer, i layed in my friend’s recorded dialogue. she filled both sides of the mini tape, i think maybe 40 minutes, so i had quite a bit of editing/chopping to do. basically i picked what i thought most appropriate for my idea of exposing someone’s ideas.
the material is different from what i heard originally, cause that stuff got taped over, but it’s still very personal and geniunely captured for purposes no other than her own. i layed them in over the drum track i recorded and the fuzz blast, then started to go from there. i decided to use parts of the result i captured when i set up the mic and sang freely into the room for about thirty five minutes.
it’s supposed to create a connection between her personal stuff and mine i guess. that’s the idea at least, i think though that if you heard without reading any of these entries, you’d never know it. cool by me though. i sort of think most creations end up like that anyway.
so next i’ve got to add music into the body. i’m trying to add continuity and some pleasureable asthetic to it. i think it’s gonna be the greatest challenge thus far because i want to stretch out and do something with the instruments and my playing that i’ve never done before. maybe i’ll start with micing the fudgesicles. that’s the best idea i’ve heard all year…then i’ll get the damn church bells that ring for like twenty minutes starting at noon everyday. it’ s the drunken bell ringer man. then maybe i’ll put my recorded bells on a huge PA and play towards the church real loud once they start going.l then the whole neigborhood can start ringing bells and i’ll record that.
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