Time Flies

Hello out there!


It's been over a year since I checked in.  Time flies. That being the case, as Steven Wilson noted, "The best thing that you can do is take whatever comes to you." A few things have come to me in the interim. One of the best is that last summer, my now 17-year partner and I were finally formally married. 17 years - wow. Where does the time go?

During the autumn and winter, I worked on several more electronic tracks, the erratic weather vane of my musical interests having swung that way again. A funny thing happened back in March. I was working on what I thought would be another new electronic track, but some of the parts I came up with ended up feeling like they would work better with distorted guitar. I tried it, it worked great, and then I ended up replacing the synth bass with bass guitar and the electronic drums with a drum kit and it morphed into a rock track with some electronic elements. The resulting song was "Drive the Earth," a sample of which is now in the music player above. Also playing is a sample from another new song, "Casino Prestidigitato," which again, started its life as a more electronic song before I chose to put in real bass, acoustic drums and a bit of guitar to make it into more of a hybrid track.

And then what came to me is that I found myself inspired with doing progressive/conceptual rock music again and this time it felt like my interest would stick. Next I dived into a more long-form piece, which I'm still working on now. I'm about 9 minutes into it and, based on how I've mentally mapped it out, I figure it will end up clocking in at least 12 minutes when done. It's proving to be a great way to explore different musical ideas and textures and branch out in ways not as readily done in the context of a 4 or 5-minute verse/chorus/verse/chorus type song.

The nice thing about such a broad and flexible "genre" as conceptual rock is that I can still incorporate a lot of electronic elements where I choose to, interspersing them with more rock-oriented components. I can throw in a long piano intro or a 3-minute ambient/atmospheric interlude if I want to. Prog fans welcome that kind of diversity.

So, that's where I'm at. Once I have this long-form piece done, I'll have 6 tracks that fit the "conceptual rock" bill (which is like 7 or 8 traditional songs, given the length of this new one). After this, I expect I'll do one or two more and call it an album. Listening to some classic Rush albums from the beginning of the '80s, it occurred to me that there was something to be said for an album consisting of 40 to 45 minutes worth of music...keeping it lean and mean and a tad more concise. The modern tendency for albums to be 12+ tracks and 60-70 minutes worth of music, IMO, can get a little excessive and sometimes lead to tracks that feel just a bit like filler being thrown in just to pad the album out to that length. I think I'd rather focus on recording 40 to 50 minutes of music for each album, create albums you can listen to all in one go without starting to lose interest, and be able to release a new album more often. It might sound like a somewhat retro mindset, but again, IMO, not everything that's changed in the last three decades has necessarily been for the better.

Oh, I almost forgot one other thing that came to me in the past year. We have a new addition to the "family" who has been distracting me and slowing me down on recording a little bit the last few weeks, but strangely, I don't mind too much (if you met her, you'd understand why). Shadow, our new three-month-old puppy, is equal parts precious angel and devious devil. The former makes it impossible for me to get too upset with her when the latter side comes out. I just have to keep her out of my music room - a teething puppy chews everything, and all those cords and knobs and instruments made of wood are way too much temptation!

Well, that's the News from Lake Wobegon...er, from just off the shores of Lake Huron. Hope you've all been having a great summer so far, or enjoying whatever other season it is in your part of the world. Be well and we'll talk soon!