July 5, 2019 at 11:09 am #3907
I was stumbling from link to link relating to the Earthbound Halloween Hack when I came across the following:
The functional importance of the ego is manifested in the fact that normally control over the approaches to motility devolves upon it. Thus in its relation to the id it is like a man on horseback, who has to hold in check the superior strength of the horse; with this difference, that the rider tries to do so with his own strength while the ego uses borrowed forces. The analogy may be carried a little further. Often a rider, if he is not to be parted from his horse, is obliged to guide it where it wants to go; so in the same way the ego is in the habit of transforming the id’s will into action as if it were its own.
One thing came to mind: freeform. Well, to be truthful, the reason I listen to any music is to satisfy and reinforce base animalistic instinct as much as possible (I generally shy away from any that requires paying attention, though there’s the potential for stuff to become pretty amazing when it does), but this rings most true in the case of freeform. Constant kicks, harsh filtered leads, “losing the magic” when a melody becomes too pronounced…it’s the perfect example of what it means to just “gopher it”, or in this analogy to be “thankful for the horse”: pure instinct, total disregard for what’s superficial, pursuit at all costs of life or death based on whatever sounds cooler at the time, pure sensation…pure existence. Huh, no wonder so many of us like that album if that was the concept behind it. Of course I don’t mean to superimpose a meaning like that on it that everyone has to agree with, and the same goes for the rest of the genre, but it’s certainly the selling point for me. The fact it’s so natural to me in daily life might be why I’ve struggled with production too; you have to be rather impulsive and thoughtless, or just unaware, to voluntarily do something as inefficient as production or composition. Luckily that means I have no problem starting and staying in there until it’s already the next day, but for whatever reason, once I’m in the DAW intentionally manipulating data I get caught up in thinking about how to convey that thoughtlessness; that’s a hell of an oxymoron! Maybe I shouldn’t use speakers or headphones until I’m “proof-listening” away from the computer. Maybe in the case of the top producers the reversal is in the other direction.
I thought I’d have more to say, but I guess that’s it. I couldn’t just ignore the name of that animal in such a relevant context, right?
Any additions or alternate takes would be very much appreciated.July 23, 2019 at 11:29 pm #3908
Your post struck a few chords on me (excuse the pun): on philosophy of art, on the process of producing and interpreting/consuming music.
the reason I listen to any music is to satisfy and reinforce base animalistic instinct as much as possible
Reminded me of how music appeals to emotions, which are different facets of the same thing, which is the ego which wants something or not.
Thus, I would expect thoughtlessness to be found in ambient textures, noise and drone, to bring a sense of atmosphere and space, without strong emotions.
Experiencing music, either by producing or listening, relates to describing and sharing more or less crudely states of mind, like say,
mental illnesses or a conversation with someone.
But since instrumentality or two-way telepathy isn’t happening anytime soon, we use art instead to do so.
It probably can help cope with the condition of human life through self-expression, but may also be considered a luxury, or even pretentious.August 26, 2019 at 2:48 am #3909
I’m glad it did for somebody! Because looking back, it really went all over the place. The main thing for me is the way it shed a new light on the name of the site in a very freeform-appropriate manner.
For me emotion comes first when it comes to the appeal of music, though I can’t imagine most of what I listen to having much if any emotion put into it, so that would be emotion in the listener, i.e. myself. This is also why I don’t dismiss ambient/drone/noise and the like, as I don’t pretend to have definitions of “good” or “bad” in creative works other than whether or not they please me at a given moment. My top 10 list is thus a ranking of how many moments each summation of sonic elements happened to appeal to me, weighted by how powerful those moments were (not that that’s what was going through my head at the time…) Maybe I’d benefit from a more properly thought-out philosophy on art, but I’m not good for much more than this off-the-cuff type of thing at present. Maybe when I’m older we’ll see; for now I just have an unpopular opinion on what constitutes quality.
It definitely does rule out lyrics for me if they’re in a language I understand, though. I don’t think any vocalist has any business telling me what to feel. As much emotion as clearly goes into freeform and related electronic genres, that type of music shows instead of tells (again, id over ego.)
This is quickly turning into another personal rant, so it’s just as well I can’t think of what else to add.
(This place has become so quiet…could it be a lack of live events that’s done it?)
October 20, 2019 at 8:38 pm #3938
- This reply was modified 1 year, 4 months ago by Sherkel.
I did a much more clear and concise rundown on my creative (lack of) process on Twitter earlier:
I no doubt would be able to write a lot of stranger stuff faster if I studied formally. One of these years I want to have the attention span and lack of stress to cross music over with memorizing technical terms and symbols at a time I’m interested in it.
Just one hobby I’m still not comfortable making a discipline though…
Currently it’s like a space where I want to go and communicate with its forms of sentience without having to worry about knowing the language. It starts out feeling embarrassing each time, but once I’m feeling “in it” that stops.
I think the intermediate fluency stage (http://ascd.org/publications/books/108052/chapters/The-Stages-of-Second-Language-Acquisition.aspx) is the point I’d start calling someone a composer. (I still don’t know what to call myself.)
Now that I’m more aware of how deep it goes and how simple it makes a lot of my stuff compositionally I feel better keeping it to myself, though.
As for mood, I just don’t ever try to convey one other than imitating an element of a track I already know. It just…sometimes comes about, sometimes doesn’t.
I don’t know what motivates me to continue, honestly. For a lot of people it’s emotional expression, but to me that’s what listening is for. Could be why I go entire months and years sometimes with no output.
The bolded parts are what I was trying to get at with the “thoughtlessness” (used in a neutral sense) about it.October 23, 2019 at 8:00 pm #3939
Acknowledging a lack of process in producing something is still kind of a process,
just one that eschews technical knowledge in favor of going directly for the feeling, the flow, and personal expression, hence your favorite catchphrase, the
An advantage of this is that you just immerse yourself directly into the practice, without wasting time.
Practical truths are revealed to you, that stick more easily than stuff you have glossed over in a book.
However you might be more vulnerable to floundering and be more limited in the results you obtain.
The other extreme is hoarding technical knowledge without actually using it, because well, you don’t actually need it for the moment.
Pursuit of technique is something I am personally engrossed with, and to the detriment of my own creative output:
for the sake of higher quality, better articulation of one’s message,
that can devolve into perfectionism if one’s actually productive, or just analysis paralysis with less experienced artists.
Words can help as much as the can get in your way, both written and orally, even in your internal monologue. I think a big part
of doing art is translating whatever abstract concept you have in mind into a finished product using a specific language or notation: of shapes, sounds, textures, etc…
Fluency in that language is reached through output and feedback on that output, just as with foreign language.
Imitating the styles you like is just as valid as starting from scratch, as long as you are aware of the risks that lies in blindly persisting in a single direction
without considering the actual fit of your method to what you want to create.
The argument between theory and practice, and the actual ratio to be allotted in any kind of craft, usually goes as follows:
Grinding is obviously required, but not questioning the efficiency of your process with regard to reaching one’s goals might be detrimental,
whereas some basic understanding of the things you struggle with, combined with proper exercising of those concepts in context, is (in theory of course)
more likely to reach breakthroughs.November 9, 2019 at 1:58 pm #3941
Yeah, I’m definitely sticking with practice until further notice. Maybe when I’m older and more jaded with it I’ll focus on technique; I hope to eventually, for obvious reasons. I’ve noticed the “floundering” you mentioned (i.e. repeating myself) on quite a few occasions, but all I needed to do in those cases was listen to more music to emulate elements of, with MIDI transcriptions (or decompiled from the source) when possible. I suppose that’s a kind of studying, but it comes naturally enough to me that it doesn’t feel like it. In terms of language learning, this is comparable to comprehensible input (https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=NiTsduRreug). No such thing exists for production, however. (Keep in mind less than 5% of what I write is freeform or otherwise genre-based.)
I like your overview of the pros and cons a lot, and if you end up delving deeper into production, we should definitely collab at least a few times, being at opposite ends of the spectrum.
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