Breaking Down the Walls


#222

(And, of course, looks down and notices that Alchemist is playing again.)


#223

I can relate to that. That actually used to be my tactic. But gradually it stopped working. Or it would only work in bursts and I recognized it was essentially willpower trying to override a subconscious process. And I also learned that willpower is actually a finite resource which makes sense.

It must be Blue Skies working its magic, but lately the depression, doubt, and negative thoughts that pushed me around, I don’t see them as the evil entity within my body as I once did. It’s more like I can recognize how poorly I treat myself and understand that it’s a decision I make. I might not be able to change a depressive episode, or a feeling of hopelesness, or feeling like I’m going to fail. But I can definitely change how I treat myself when going through those hard times.

Guess I’m going the opposite route. I’ve waged a battle in my head for most of my life. I feel like it’s time to make peace. The only reason there was a battle to begin with is because I was insanely self critical of my emotions and own needs.


#224

Whatever way gets you there.

It’s all true and none of it is true

There are times to yell in defiance; and other times to sink right through the middle.

And still other times to simply change the subject

A finite resource, infinitely renewable

Like ocean water held in a little plastic cup


#225

i was just thinking that the primary reasons I make music are as medicine for my soul and to try to experience something beautiful or dope. it’s always been like that. About an experience that I’m having or wanting to have.

Sometimes someone else likes it and that’s cool too. But it’s cool in the way that sharing a common interest is cool or in the way that enjoying a sunrise or the Grand Canyon together would be. It’s more about the thing we’re enjoying than it is about me being approved or praised.

I feel like if it became more about me and my ‘performance’, it would start to feel suffocating and probably boring.

It’s like my Soul has a sound and I want to hear that sound. And I don’t really care so much who makes the sound. It could be me or it could be someone else. As long as I get to hear it.

EDIT: And that’s the other thing too. In general, a piece of music that i’ve made functions more as a reminder of the Inner Sound that I want to hear. Rather than as a full expression of it.

I think that most creative people can relate to that on some level. It’s why you can get so excited even before you’ve actually developed things very far. Because the two chords and the bit of drums are conjuring up something much fuller in your mind. The trick is to put enough there so that it can actually convey something, and your or someone else’s imagination don’t have to do all the work haha.


#226

I strongly relate to this. Except I’m shooting for full expression. And right now it’s incredibly frustrating because I keep coming up short. The ideas can be sort of good, but they never seem close enough.

To me the act of creating is only enjoyable if I can actually create. But so often I feel like actually getting a cohesive whole song together is so mentally taxing on me. The initial spark is always fun. But developing on the idea always seems to fill me with panic and dread. And I fight through it, but I’m getting so angry that this is still a thing for me. That fleshing out a whole song still seems like an enormous mountain I have to scale. And the fact that it is still incredibly hard causes me to try to finish it as fast as possible to get it over with. Which leads to poor creative decisions and a tendency to repeat sections in my tracks too much.

At the same time I can’t wait till I’m inspired or feel good enough to write. Realistically every time I’ve done that in the past I never got anything done because I would never feel like making music until I sat down and actually did it.


#227

Officially up to 7 rendered versions of this track I’m working on. Going to play them back to back tomorrow to get perspective on how much I’m overthinking. My guess would be a ton. I’ve done this before and the result is very very slight differences in what I believed to be drastically different mixes.

Bottom line is there’s a degree of insanity and diminishing returns after a certain point. I’m horrible at recognising it. And I think this is what burns me out the most. When I get into these overly obsessive modes where I can’t let shit go and just say enough is enough.


#228
  1. Sounds like a highly sensitive person

  2. at some point get Other People involved in your process. conspicuous absence of larger-than-self context in narrative. freeing at first, gradually becomes stultifying.

balanced interchange brings in fresh air and energy


#229

That’s the catch 22. Im so insanely self conscious of my music and also facing the reality of someone telling me it needs work. It’s not an ego thing, it just hurts hearing that sometimes. I feel like I keep it to myself most the time because at least I have control over what I think about my own work. It’s not healthy and I understand you have to find outside feedback to grow. I just have trouble doing it.


#230

I wasn’t even thinking about it from the perspective of growth or what’s healthy.

You seem to be growing and progressing just fine.

I was thinking of it more as a pressure-release valve or a reality check. And also as a potential grounding influence or source of inspiration.

Just to ‘get you out of your own head’; so you get a kind of reset.

What I’d expect to happen is that you’d actually realize your strengths a lot more. HSP perfectionists are kind of famous for holding themselves to very high standards and sort of implicitly assuming that those standards somehow reflect the world’s standards. But their standards are often much higher than much of what’s going on in the world. (That’s a gross generalization but hopefully you know what I mean.)

Personally, I still haven’t found so many kindred spirits with whom I want to collaborate on music right now. I used to jam with a couple of people many years ago, and that was a really different energy. I wasnt great at it but it was fun, and I think it created a good internal reference point.

For the music I make now, I have one friend who more or less likes most of what I write. Not necessarily passionately, but…. Then I have another friend who usually seems to not like it that much. There are a bunch of people who don’t care one way or the other. And so on and so on

You know, I’m thinking about it now and, at least right now, what I’d really like is people who really get what I’m trying to do. I feel like that’s almost more important than if they like it or not. I can always write another song, and sooner or later they’ll probably like one. But I think I appreciate when someone really understands the inner vision behind the song. It’s that desire to be ‘seen’ and ‘known’.

But remember a lot of people won’t even care about music as much as you do. For some people, it’s more like wallpaper or a napkin. (And there are also people who are passionate about wallpaper and napkins.).

I think getting exposed to some of that Other People energy helps sometimes. Guess it also really depends who those people are.

But there are many master composers whose music I just don’t vibe with that much at any given moment. I think that’s probably true of most people. It’s not a comment on the skill or artistry of that composer. I’m just not in the place for it right now. I assume it will be the same for others with my music.


#231

That would be nice. I definitely need that because there is too much going on in my head most of the time. I’m just in a rut right now. I don’t really have any friends that are into music as much as me. And I seriously struggle with making new friends.

Yeah totally get this. And that’s a moving standard too. In my learning and application of everything with music it just gets deeper and deeper. The greater my competency and knowledge grows, the more I realize how much I don’t know how to apply some stuff practically and how much more there is to explore.

Yes the ‘seen’ and ‘known’ is very strong for me as well. One of my favorite artists Lorn captures this amazingly well. When there’s a clear identity behind the music. That’s what I want the most. But for me I feel like I’m not “there” yet. I’m still not sure what holds me back. If it’s lack of practice or if I’m not truly exploring my most vulnerable states of being open with my music. There’s an overall lack of confidence with my stuff because I see how I fall short with execution of ideas.


#232

I feel like there are a lot of artists who feel like this. (Maybe all do at some point?) Meanwhile many of the pieces that the artist rejects as ‘not being there yet’ or ‘not good enough’ are beloved by their fans. The creative process is such a personal thing. As is the process of taking in art. You can’t control what someone else will love and at what time.

It’s almost like these two things: 1) sharing your process and products with others, and 2) refining your skills, fluency, content and vision, should be treated as two entirely separate concerns; sometimes overlapping, sometimes not.

I think about musical themes like ‘Twinkle, twinkle little star’ or the ‘Happy Birthday to you’ song. Utterly simple. Universally loved. Probably not developed by composers at the height and full expression of their powers. But not a soul cares about that. They just like the song.

I also think: Don’t abuse the muse. :wink:

Romance the muse. Spoil and lavish luxuries upon the muse. Make the muse feel no regret for bringing ideas to you. These ideas are being gifted to you through the functioning antenna of your aesthetic, musical sensitivities. Reward the messenger. Delight in the muse. Then the muse will bring you more and more, and will unfold more and more of its potential.

Consider your creative life as a love and romance relationship with the Muse, the Daimon, the Genius. Let the muse have fun and enjoy its time with you. Entertain the muse.


#233

Yet for everything I just said. I utterly relate to this statement.

In my case, it’s just a lack of skill and fluency. Like, the most central element of music and music composition for me is construction of chords and chord progressions. Some people, I know, approach this very systematically. There are actually a finite number of possible chords and chord progressions. A person can just go through and learn them over a couple of years. Then some of the mystery of the process is removed, and when you have an idea, you can just get right to it. In other words, it’s possible that you may feel greater control over the creative process.

I have not approached that learning systematically. I don’t approach most learning systematically. Well, I do up to a certain point. It’s something I’ve learned to force myself to do. But when I feel most myself, I’m wandering and allowing the process to take me where it will.

But I think I would benefit from some period of systematic attention to chord construction and chord progressions. It would improve my process. So I can really relate to what you say about improving the skills that lead to effective execution.

At the same time, I think that even with my style of learning, I’ve been led to and have composed pieces that feel beautiful to me or special. I love them.


#234

Yeah I’ve heard that a lot with regards to music. Some artists saying they thought a song was just ok and was put together quickly but people loved. And one they labored over and really felt would be well received just heard crickets. You’re definitely right and I should keep that in mind more. Especially after I’ve heard my song on repeat for 1000 time.

Haha, yes I need to work on that as well.

Yes I was against music theory for a long time. But as they say it’s descriptive, not prescriptive. Meaning the music came first and then it was analyzed. I’ve been trying to learn the piano for a while now. I can’t memorize my scales, chord positions, etc. All that stuff I have an insanely difficult time doing. Probably because it has to do with memorization and I’ve never been good with that.

But chord progressions and construction are important I’d agree. For example knowing you want tension and actually knowing how to go about it is helpful. But that’s kind of less theory and more ear training at that point I guess. Like having a root and knowing what extensions you want to stack on top to get the vibe you’re feeling in your head. I do a lot by ear which has taught me to listen to all the surrounding instrumentation and determine what “fits”. And then sound design is a whole other topic. Depending on what harmonics you play with and timbres, it’s a lot when composing. Like an ever shifting puzzle. Change one thing and it can have a cascading effect on everything surrounding it. I find that sometimes my decisions do conform to the stuff taught for chord construction, sometimes it doesn’t.

Anyway I really do appreciate you stopping by to lend your thoughts. I think I’m just in an incubating period right now. Sometime in the near future I feel like I’m going to expand with this music thing and have it be a greater part of my life in the context of other people as well. Right now I feel as if I’m building up my toolbox for composition. I don’t have enough tools to finish the job efficiently so I’m banging in nails with a screwdriver instead of a hammer.


#235

I’ve also set my bar pretty high lol. I think I’ve shared him before but Tipper is ridiculous in how he merges composition and sound design. I’ve never heard anyone else do it so well. I’m not looking to emulate his style, but rather his overall compositional skill. His pockets of timing, how he builds these mini worlds inside his music, and just sonically the dudes production is top notch. He’s been my reference material for about 2 years now since I really dove into his stuff. And I’m not gonna lie that has been incredibly rough because he is a master of his craft. It’s like staring at a huge mountain you have to scale. I recognize I don’t HAVE to get to that level, but internally I’m driven to for some reason. Maybe putting that as a long term goal and recognizing I don’t have to be at that exact level before I can have success with music.


#236

I’ve always had a sense of impending doom growing up. Now with covid and everyone talking about politics and trump and all that, I fucking hate it. I don’t need that shit in my life. I’m working on envisioning a future past all this hardship and even better than before. It feels like lately this country is falling apart. FEELS like, not is. But from my perspective I really feel fucked lately.

I’ve learned not only do I hate 9-5 routines, I do poorly if I spend an extended amount of time in them and no amount of telling myself to focus or try harder helps. I just get pissed and irritated. I have intense apathy and lack of focus for anything I have no interest in. It’s like an on off switch. I’m either into it or I’m not. And all this rolled into one big cluster fuck of not entirely fitting in but somehow that’s my fault for deviating from the norm.

I’ve had a hard enough time doing the most basic of adult shit in my life. But then covid stacked on top of that, job scarcity, I’m just a real mess. I understand it’s a hard time for everyone but there’s no “going back to normal” for me because I was never ok to begin with.

More and more evidence is stacking up that I really need to address the underlying ADHD problem. So that’s where my focus is at right now. Just maintaining this job for now and then figuring out what will help me the most based on my needs.


#237

Had a really messed up dream. It started as this comic/gag show where you mention an embarrassing thing out loud so everyone can hear or if you refuse you get some weird torture. Nothing bad, just like a snake in your lap or something.

Anyway I went first, refused, then did some weak ass fear thing. Gathered with everyone else that said it was no big deal. Joking around with my pals but also feeling like we needed to get out soon. My buddy is a little drunk so he lingers. Next thing I know the lights get cut. And people start screaming.

It was pretty graphic from what I remember. A few got injected in the neck with what I think was draino or bleach. They’d come up from behind and grab you in the dark. Next guy tried to fight back and headbutt a dude. But the guy was not shook at all and then retaliated with consecutive headbutts that caved the dudes skull in. The whole place was rigged. Locking doors with ceilings that slowly come down to crush you with spikes.

I make it out, but all my friends and my brothers are left behind because we split up. I want to go back in and save them, but I don’t have a weapon and I’m outnumbered. I have so much fear. I hate myself because I’m not strong or brave enough to go back in and save them.

I woke up feeling terrible about myself. I’ve never been in life or death situations. Hell I’ve never been in a fight in my life. Aside from some small amount of sparring a few years back. But really sparring is nothing like the aggression and violent intent in a street fight. And I’m not talking about dick measuring fights while drunk. I’m talking about the ones where the guy is going to fuck you up and he doesn’t care if he leaves your skull cracked open like an egg on the pavement.

Obviously my dream was in no way realistic. But I’ve had this paranoia ever since I was a teenager. Just thinking at any moment someone is intending on hurting me. I think it’s really just an outward manifestation of all the internal fears I have. But still, it feels highly irrational given the fact I don’t live in a bad neighborhood, don’t go looking for fights, and generally avoid any type of confrontation that could lead to a physical altercation.


#238

Listened to RebirthU yesterday. That thing is way too much for me. I don’t think I’m in any kind of shape to deal with the heavy reconciliation that brings on. I haven’t listened to my ultimas in quite a while. I’m going to go back to SanguineU for the time being. I’m doing a lot of heavy lifting with my main sub, I think I just need something that’s gonna help support me and get me by. Not a balls to the wall breakdown.


#239

So I’ve been messing around with that modular stuff for a bit now. I had to adjust to both the workflow and the sound quality of it. It just delivers in a way I haven’t heard from most other synths and I had to change my approach to picking sounds and also the general mixing around it.

But I think this is the most honest thing I’ve written recently. Meaning I haven’t had that self consciousness of fully letting myself go into the music. Some of the sounds I’m not too into and they could be better, but I was experimenting with greater contrast between things and atmosphere. Trying to see just how little I could put in and still maintain interest.

I feel ok about. Like I don’t think it’s terrible, but I don’t feel it’s amazing either. But that’s an improvement because usually I just hate a lot of the stuff I make.

On another note, I’ve been listening to more pop music lately. While some of it definitely gets repetitive, there’s a lot to learn as far as songwriting goes. Found myself thinking about collaborating with a singer down the road. That’s pretty much the exact opposite of StarkQ, though. I don’t know, I’m more comfortable behind the scenes. Direct attention and fame doesn’t really feel good to me, maybe I just have a lot of negative beliefs about myself I have to work through. It feels like if someone had a strong vision for a song I could help support that really well because it’s outside myself. But a lot of the stuff I make for myself tends to get lost because of my inner critic and the spark dies.


#240

I’m on vacation this week. I woke up this morning and I shit you not, this is the first day in a long ass time I haven’t had anxiety. So either one of two things or a combo. 1. My workplace is toxic as fuck and it’s been chipping away at me. 2. Potential ADHD causing performance issues that requires excessive focus and burns a lot of energy just to make it through an average day like everyone else. Probably a combo of the 2.

I never realized just how much this job was in the back of my head, 24/7. I feel like I can breathe. That’s not even an exaggeration.

Having said that, I’ve got a neurologist visit in october. I’ll get the final confirmation on all this. It’s been incredibly difficult navigating all this and making sense of it. Part of the issue is it is all mental so I want to believe I can think my way out of it. But you know, physical defects are a thing. My eyes are terrible, I have misshapen corneas so I’ve had glasses my whole life. Why would the brain be exempt from that? It’s still an organ and a physical structure. It doesn’t get excluded. I feel like it’s my fault I struggle with all this stuff and if I tried harder I could just overcome it. But I’ve been on that self critical merry go round for years now and it’s about time I stop whipping myself for this shit.

Down the road, maybe we’ll have a solution. Maybe the power of the mind to heal and regenerate will be accessible to everyone. But as of right now I’m a human. I cut my hand on a rock the other day hiking and I bled everywhere, nothing extreme. It just served as a reminder that despite all this belief restructuring, growing, adapting, we are still a physical body. Sometimes there are things we don’t want to accept, but we have to. Fighting and resisting causes more pain and suffering than acceptance and learning.