Monday, 11 November 2013

Seven-and-a-half months later

Wow, that's been quite a hiatus, and there are a number of reasons for that. The first and biggest reason is that like many creative people I lost confidence. And then I lost inertia. And then I lost all my energy in a bout of illness. I'm back, I don't know for how long.

I lost confidence for a couple of reasons. Firstly I was working on a section - that I have blogged about before, that will have sermon snippets in it, and I was not happy with it. I then got unhappy with some other sections. The second was a small round of reviewing of my previous albums, which to be honest were reasonable reviews, but somebody made a sarcastic comment about my drum sounds and that was it, I was lost in feeling like I needed to reinvent the drums. And search for more sermon sections, which is dull.

So I'm back, and the confidence is coming back. It has helped that I have made a fundamental re-decision, in that I have reminded myself of a much earlier fundamental decision, that if something isn't working, and I cannot seem to fix it, I need to change it. This can include abandoning the whole musical idea. I have had a listen through, and there are sections where there are things I am unhappy with, and so will change in due course. The section I was last working on, the sermon section, will have a major change in that the musical idea for it is going to be abandoned. Bye-bye idea, I liked you in concept, but when it came down to it you were not up to standard. This will probably be replaced by a rockier, more upbeat idea.

And so there is also a new decision - so far I have worked on sections more or less randomly, and that is changing, I am going to focus on one of the four tracks at a time, and work on not only getting the sections to work, but getting the tracks to work as tracks too.  This is actually different in some ways to previous albums, and I think is a feature of the fact that the tracks are shorter than ever, at 16 minutes each, and with only 4 sections each. In this way, I hope that each track holds together, and flows through better than in previous albums.

I am sticking with the concept that this album is in general more "straight" than the other albums, more accessible and less progressive, but I'm looking for interesting things to do, interesting sounds and instrument combinations, because I think I am getting a little samey with that and was losing something as a result.  I am attempting to make it more personal, and therefore more emotional, which in itself is quite a challenge for fundamentally instrumental music.

So after all of these decisions and resolve, I have thrown myself back into it, I am working on what probably will be track 3, an exploration of my church life. This has one section recorded already (the first to be recorded for the album) which I THINK will be the third section in the track. I have now started work on the first section which is about the start of a service and the usual start with some loudish hymns or songs, and it is based on a song I wrote for church (which was used a couple of times before being forgotten), an up-beat, rocky song called "Alle, Alleluja". The opening is an ambient recording I made of the congregation chatting before the service starts, with music slowly getting louder underneath, an organ, drums, piano and an "ahh"-ing choir - using the first two chords of the song but at half speed. it's a kind of tribute to the start of the song "let's talk about me" by the Alan Parson's Project, and the song "Brother Where You Bound" by Supertramp. It is working well.  We then have the vicar welcoming people and rocky guitars come in with the song, the tune, drums come in, bass will come in, and we are into a verse, then a bridge. The tune for the chorus is done on a nice ballsy analogue synth. And that's as far as I have got in the last two evenings.