Bandcamp & Musicking in General

So, a while back, I decided it would be a good idea to segregate my Bandcamp pages into my various musical monikers. The reason for this is so specific and pedantic that I’m not going to go into it.

In any case, this move was kind of silly, because now I have five profiles, and I need to log in and out of each to manage them properly. It’s a major hassle. And it kind of renders the stats useless.

Not that my bandcamp pages see enough traffic to make this a worthwhile activity. My Soundcloud profile sees marginally more traffic these days. But I like having this stuff out there.

To cut this story short, I’ve decided I’m going to reconcile all of my bandcamp pages back into one profile, at http://virtuesignals.bandcamp.com/. This isn’t going to have much effect on anyone else, but it will be easier to manage. It should also make it easier to coordinate links and stuff, and maybe actually do some level of promotion for this stuff.

I’ve been working on some music that I want to get out there pretty soon,

I’m starting to think about ways to make the process of music-making more creatively fulfilling. One way is through collaboration. I have made a few more friends in recent years that I feel have enough of a similar sensibility that collaboration could be meaningful, so I’m going to try and reach out on that front very soon, and see what happens.

Another way is to improve my craft, to learn more about synthesis and composition. I kind of stagnated in terms of musical ability in about 2006. After that I’ve become increasingly crippled by indecision and fear. In my desire to create something that exceeds my ability, I run up against these limitations and fall back into complacency and laziness. This has to stop. I need to power through this.

It hit me as I turned 27 a month ago, that I’m getting older, but I’m not getting better. At anything. I’m not pretty, I don’t have great social skills, no matter how much I’ve improved on that front in the last couple years alone, and I have no career. So what am I going to do with the rest of my life? What is going to be the thing that carries me forward and is worth living for?

I know my musical “vision” isn’t for everyone. It is of no commercial value. But I have ideas that I want to express, and ultimately all musical expression is just a desire to communicate. So what I desperately need to do is to find the right way to express these ideas, and at least get them out there into the world.

My original motivation for making music was one of curiousity and a love of abstract concepts and ideas. Frank Zappa was a huge influence. Over time though, that’s become less satisfying. I can’t play an instrument in the way that someone says “I can play guitar.” And I don’t think I’ll ever really be able to, there’s a mental block that prevents me from doing so. But some of my musical heroes are not musicians, despite communicating predominantly through music. Brian Eno remains the burning inspiration for that notion.

At this point in my life, as much as I still love long drifting ambient textures, I really want to be able to make “songs”, forms of music that other people might be able to understand.

At the end of 2011, moved by emotion rather than some abstract concept, I started piecing together ideas for a Philip Glass-influenced piano duet called Carry Lions. I wrote about five minutes of sketches for that piece, some of which were more useful than others naturally. At its core though, there is something I want to express in that piece of music that I think could actually mean something to other people, that might be understood on traditional terms.

I realise now, that is what’s worth pursuing in music.

Increasingly since then I’ve toyed with more conventional ideas, that I haven’t had the courage to follow through on. I can’t sing. My voice is terrible. But perhaps there’s an honesty in that that is worth something.

I have written literally hundreds of pages of lyrics stretching back over ten years, that nobody has ever read or heard out loud. Nobody. These are ideas I should be able to express if I call myself an artist. Fuck that. I need to stop squirreling away this stuff. I need to let people see it, hear it, respond to it. Maybe it’s awful. But how will I ever know if I’m the only one who ever sees that stuff?

How do I turn this epiphany of sorts into reality?

I need to work on this. Hard. Harder than I do now, that’s for sure. And that means I need to cut out certain distractions in my life, and start getting back to where I need to be creatively-speaking.

In the near-term, a lot of the stuff I’m working on right now is spoken-word material. I might not be a good singer, but occasionally people tell me I have an okay speaking voice, so I guess that’s a start. A lot of that material is quite personal, some of it is more narrative-based, and some of it is quite abstract. In any case, spoken word has the potential to express ideas and emotions I can’t in instrumental ambient music. So it’s time to man up and get over the fear factor of it. And if I work at this, I can find a way to make it work. Turn my faults to an advantage, as the inimitable David Byrne once said, when interviewed. By himself.

Anyway, that’s kind of my stream of consciousness take on all this. I guess we’ll see where this all leads.

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