I was reading back over my music journal, right back to 2004 when it started, and I noticed a huge, dramatic difference: back then, I was posting mainly positive things about my music, recording progress, and thoughts about music I’d like to make, maybe; in the last year, I’ve done a lot of complaining about my own music, my approach to writing and so on. I’d like this to change, I’d like to be more positive about what I’m doing and the music I’m making. In fact, I’d like not to have things to find fault with. I want to be pleased with what I’ve made. I want to appreciate my own music for what it is, not what it should be or shouldn’t be. I think the Ross Baker name should give me some freedom, not only because it is, in itself, vague and non-descript – there’s no artist name to live up to, I shan’t have the trouble with the whole ‘Second Thought sound’ thing, but also because it takes me back to my pre-Second Thought days when I recorded tapes just as Ross Baker. Sometimes I’d do tapes which were designed to evoke a particular atmosphere or mood, sometimes I’d just make tapes of music I’d written.
I suppose my point is, I’ll be taking a different approach from next year. Whatever I record is fair game. I could end up with another Second Thought style soundscape album – Sturmazdale is much like that – or a shorter, more abstract mood piece like the twelve-tone serial collection and cityscape albums I’m working on (I’m expecting both to be around the 40 minute mark), or a collection of individual ideas which won’t paint a scene, but just act as pieces of music in their own right. I must remember that this is all fine (it won’t be a 2010 style ‘release any old crap’ situation, however, as I’m going to make sure I execute a lot more quality control than I have of late)! Similarly, I’m removing the idea of ‘no go’ areas and unbreakable rules. I can’t see myself returning to using VST instruments any time, but I’ve warmed to the idea of owning a hardware synth. It might not be ‘acoustic’, but who cares as long as it sounds good? I do want to get more instruments and do more musical performance, possibly even recording to tape, but I don’t want to give myself some bizarre sense of guilt for using a computer. I don’t want to feel like I’m doing things wrongly by writing music for a reason or in a manner that isn’t in some grand plan. I never used to do that until the last couple of years, and it’s very unhealthy. It stops music making me happy, and that’s the main reason I write in the first place. And this blog, there needs to be more about the music and less about my neuroses, because they’re unnecessary. In short: whatever music I make, for whatever reason, if it’s good, it’s good. I have ideas of what I want to do, but that doesn’t mean I’m not allowed to do other things too.
I’m glad that’s out of the way. Now I can continue the blog in a manner befitting my newfound positive, music-based perspective.
Leaf Pass has now become my most-downloaded record and almost certainly my most listened-to. Thank you to everybody who’s downloaded it! It may have become my second favourite of all my records, behind Purlieu, so I’m really happy that it’s proving so popular. Fingers crossed it’ll remain that way.
The cityscape album I think will be taking the uncharacteristically long title of ‘Where Do We Go When The Roads Have All Cracked?’, which I think sums up the feeling of ruin and loss I’m hoping to portray in it (oh the happiness and joy, as ever). I think it’s going to be mostly live and electronically treated melodica and piano with a tapestry of field recordings. My girlfriend describes the melodica as sounding like a character or narrator witnessing the scene, which is a nice way of hearing the album and one I think really fits the mood. I’m incredibly happy with how it’s coming along, anyway.
I bought a couple of (very) cheap wooden Indian style flutes in Canterbury on my birthday. It’s proving difficult to get a nice sound out of them, but I will continue to try! I’m sure I can use them at some point. I’m hoping to get a new acoustic guitar soon, and I want to collect my microphones and FX pedals from Hinckley as well as they’ll prove useful when playing instruments I think.
The twelve-tone serial composition collection has been given a title and a label! It will be called A Room and will be the first release on my Bullfinch Records label next year at some point. I’ll leave you to imagine how the title and music relate to each other for the moment.