Audio Ennui

I've kept my blog thus far focused on music: what I'm into, what I've been doing, what I plan on doing. Occasionally blogging about music provides an opportunity to discuss how music releates to the rest of my life--and quite possibly yours.

Lately, I've been consumed. Driven. Compelled to write songs, remix other artists, produce mixsets, and in general just geek out on all things audio production- and music-related.

It's been an emotional ride.

The creative process has a cruel streak. It can drive me forward without any concern for when I sleep, how I eat, or how I rationalize spending money on things related to my craft. For me, it's often as if I weave a frenetic, intensely productive web around this core passion of mine that, on one hand, binds me tightly to its potent energy, and on the other hand, isolates me in its possessive grasp.

Ennui is a bittersweet form of loneliness. A sense of solitary singularity that lurks beneath what by most accounts would be a charmed life. And, despite my blessings, ennui is something I experience regularly.

In the act of removing myself from the daily world in order to enter this mysterious and powerful place of creation, I fear I've made unwholesome pacts with my muse and occasional unwise choices. I've purchased expensive gear that makes me smile everytime I turn it on and makes me frown when I stare at recently opened billing statements. I've found myself up at 4am, unable to sleep or think about anything other than blissfully auditioning more music in order to deliver my weekly mixset on time--and exhausted just a few hours later after a brief sleep before my regular workday (--yes I have a day job) begins. I've eschewed the company of good friends and avoided the wonderfully human tendency to seek intimate relationships (--yes I'm single) so that I could sit in my studio content to make music for hours--but lonely nontheless.

I have a good friend. He has this amazing ability to sit down and write a song in 4 hours. From start to finish. Completely produced and pretty much ready to be delivered. I enjoy listening to him to describe his creative process. From my vantage point his skill appears an effortless and whimsical byproduct of a spontaneous, liberated mind.

But that's not how I view my own art. Effortless has nothing to do with my process. I'm frightening meticulous and painfully methodical. My compositions emerge much more from trial and error than from clear visions or flights of fancy. A typical song or remix will take me 18-24 hours of work. Much of it often sat in one stretch as I tamper with my own human limitations and manage to unlock something that is of me, but oddly feels foreign once I'm done. Like a child all grown up and unrecognizable from the infant I once carried in my arms with such care.

It's quite common for me to listen to my own work down the road and have absolutely no recollection how I came up with that melody, or this bassline, or that stretch of percussion. In fact, one of my chief joys as an artist is rediscovering my own work and remarking to myself: Wow, I made that?

Perhaps I'm merely a masochist seeking a master or mistress.

Or maybe I'm just looking for a different kind of friend to keep me in odd company.


posted on 10.27.2006 10:15 PM • Add A Comment