piecework

I’ve recorded 33:46 so far for the next album (and bits that are going to be used in the next section), with no concept or name in mind for it. But it’s flowing along nicely.

Mylar Melodies recently did a video titled “Thoughts on Designing Live Modular Systems & How to Play a Live Improv Modular Synth Forever.” It’s a mouthful, but gets the point across, right?

I’m contemplating the gap between a set-length performance (about 30-90 minutes) and my current process (“movements” of about 6-10 minutes recorded live, but edited and stitched together outside of real time).

Mylar plays dance genre stuff. For him, it’s a matter of:

  • Setting up a smallish, flexible and playable system, that allows for continuous variations but not too much complexity.
  • Patching it in a “semi-permanent” way.
  • Practice as if playing a live show. Get to know what the patch can do, take notes on tricks and on things to avoid, practice graceful recovery when things go awry. Get used to the way time flows and feels during a performance.
  • The performance itself is a slow juggling act with two or three voices. Voices and patterns are slowly evolved, dropped out, changed silently and then brought back in as something new.
  • At some point he makes changes to his live rig, or builds a different one and practices with it, etc.
  • There’s not a lot of planning involved, just more of a general outline.

To adopt my own process to this, obviously patches would have to live a bit longer — right now I patch from scratch for a single recording session, then unpatch.

Things are complicated somewhat by using effects chains in the DAW. Overall it less nimble than Mylar’s simpler rig, with only a Mimeophon for FX and a significant part of his case dedicated to mixing. I would have to prepare a bit more in advance, and perhaps juggle a bit less than he does.

But I do think I could approach this incrementally. Instead of readying a 10–minute recording, I could add a bit more stuff to be layered in and get to 15 or 20 or beyond without even juggling much. In fact, having the DAW is also something of an advantage in that regard, because I can set up a number of software voices and looping samples as well. So perhaps my own approach to this shouldn’t try too hard to imitate what the modulator techno improvisers are doing.

I still do have that extra space in my rack. There are “programmer” or “preset” modules which can shift or morph several CVs together, and ways to change routings and so on via switches. I could also do some of this with Bitwig and the ES-3, and a little of it with Teletype.

Naturally, if I really wanted to play live outside my own studio, there are other concerns. My setup is not at all portable! But that’s not really my goal; it’s to see whether this different approach appeals to me and serves my music well. And since I very much enjoy my current process, I’m not really in a hurry to switch it up. I might just naturally push those session times longer with my current process, and see where things go from there.

forever YA

I was surprised to find out that Victories Greater Than Death (a title which I keep mentally mangling, maybe due to Love is Colder Than Death which was a 90s darkwave band named after a 60s film)… where was I?

Right… this book is considered Charlie Jane Anders’ first YA novel. All The Birds in the Sky and The City in the Middle of the Night both felt YA to me. Young protagonists, where we’re very much in their heads, and the types of romances and ideals that they have.

It’s a space opera, fish-out-of-water story. The MC is a girl who was left as an orphan by aliens, physically human but carrying within herself (A) the dormant mind of a heroic alien space captain, and (B) an interstellar rescue beacon due to go off any day now, to bring the fleet to help her fulfill her destiny… but also bringing an alien murder squad to finish what they started.

But I didn’t really want to get too much into the plot; it’s the characters and how they treat each other that was most notable. This is a very queer story, and very respectful of gender, ethnicity and other aspects of identity, as well as boundaries and emotional needs and so on.

Nearly every character aside from the Earthlings (and sometimes them too) introduces themselves with “My name is _____ and my pronoun is _______”, even if they immediately follow it up with “…and I’m going to blow your pathetic little ship into space dust” or whatever. This is probably very practical in a galaxy full of diverse intelligent species. But even among humans, you really can’t discern another person’s gender identity with your own eyes as well as you might think, and it should not be a difficult realization that getting it right is a matter of basic respect.

The Earthlings (and most of the other characters, aside from the major villain) always ask permission before touching someone (unless they’ve given prior ongoing consent). The MC and one of the others have been really close friends for years, but she will still ask first, “Can I touch you? You look like you need a hug.” This just goes generally with characters’ respect of each others’ boundaries, need for space and alone time, concern for their emotional states and so on.

I admit, as a person who believes in respecting others’ identities and emotions, it was still kind of startling at times and felt like a bit much. But not wrong, just a different culture and therefore kind of a shock. A flawed culture should, absolutely, change to make people happier and healthier. So I hope that some readers take the book to heart, and the culture does shift to be a little more like this fictional one.

no Zeno phobia

I’ve just finished re-reading Sean McMullen’s Greatwinter trilogy for the severalth time.

I feel like I can only describe so much without getting into spoiler territory. It’s the far future, and a psychic Call rolls over the land in periodic waves, forcing people to drop everything and walk mindlessly toward the sea, heedless of any dangers. Ancient, orbital artificial intelligences monitor and enforce bans on certain technologies. Wind-powered trains, coded messages from beacon towers, and human-powered computing are the height of Australian technology, where librarians with flintlock pistols rule. But in North America, warlords patrol their fiefdoms in diesel fighter planes tiny enough to be permitted.

So yeah, it’s a unique setting! And the characters are full of quirks, flaws, and brilliance, and the entire trilogy is full of both farce and pathos, intrigue and action and big ideas and absurd coincidences and people being both noble and grubby, often at the same time. I love it.

Reading some peoples’ reviews, it’s clear that some people don’t get it. I think it’s like people who hated The Fifth Element — they were expecting something else.

I’m sure I will revisit it in the future and like it just as much on the Nth+1 reading.

Now I’m reading The Little Book of Stoicism and finding it a good introduction to the subject. I’ve read a couple of brief internet articles that basically get across the point that it’s not about being tough and cold and emotionless, about suffering in silence or rejecting fun. This goes into considerably more detail.

I’m seeing a lot of parallels with Taoism, and in some sense, with ma’at from Kemetic Orthodoxy.

The book summarizes Stoicism with “the Stoic Happiness Triangle” with eudaimonia at the center — harmony with your “daimon.” Not to be confused with demon — a daimon in Greek myth was a noble guiding spirit, a divine spark; to the Stoics, it was like the modern idea of “your best self.” They also described it as “nature”, as in, the ideal of how things are meant to be. In modern psychology, it’s sort of an archetypal force of individuation, of self-fulfillment. Eudaimonia was said to be “a good flow of life.”

I’m seeing some parallels here to Taoism, and a bit to Ma’at in Kemetic Orthodoxy. I don’t want to try to claim that they’re identical concepts — there do seem to be different emphases and cultural perspectives, at the very least. But in essence: there is a way that things are and should be, and a human’s life is better when they follow it.

The first of three sides of this triangle is arete, which translates as something like excellence, virtue, fulfillment. This is perhaps the active effort of eudaimonia, of being your best. The example given is of a grape seed that grows up to be a grape vine, fulfilling its nature. Humans have things like desires and misunderstandings, and we make conscious choices — so we have to make virtuous conscious choices.

Those four virtues are wisdom, temperance/self-control, courage, and the most important, justice.

The second side is “focus on what you control,” and it’s pretty much exactly the Serenity Prayer, or the book F**k It: The Ultimate Spiritual Way. The example for this is an archer. The archer is responsible for the bow, arrows, grip, stance, drawing, aiming, breathing, releasing… but once the arrow flies, the archer gives up control. If a gust of wind could spoil the shot, frustration or sorrow aren’t going to help anything. A temper tantrum is not harmonious.

Many things in life just come down to luck — and luck to a Stoic is neither good nor bad, it just is. There is no doctrine of rewards for virtue and punishment for vice; the point of virtue is eudaimonia, and the point of eudaimonia is virtue.

The third side is “take responsibility for yourself.” The archer does have to maintain his gear, develop his skill, stay focused, and so on. Virtues don’t happen on their own, they must be cultivated and must be expressed at all times.

I’m only partway through the book so far, but I’m finding some wisdom and inspiration in it, and might actually read Epictetus and/or Marcus Aurelius afterward.

I’ve personally been thinking about entropy, about maintenance vs. procrastination. Perhaps some Stoic thought will help provide the motivation to take care of myself and my home a bit better than I have so these things worry me less.

good

It was three weeks ago that Gearslutz changed its name to Gearspace and I wrote:

Your move, Muffwiggler.com.

Yesterday, the name was officially changed!

And not only that, they’re working on codifying standards for member conduct as well as moderator conduct and accountability. So hopefully it will continue to be a useful, helpful resource while losing the middle school boys’ locker room odor that has occasionally arisen to make it a less than welcoming experience for all.

If they can get their merch store prices figured out rather than charging “worst case shipping cost prices” like they have set right now, I might even buy a mug and stickers or something in support.

strangish things

My dentist replaced an old cracked filling yesterday. Silver fillings are supposed to last for “20, 30, 50 years” and this one was on the younger end of that span, but oh well.

The weird thing though is my tongue is still all tingly and weird after 24 hours. Das Internet says this is “very rare” and usually associated with wisdom tooth extraction. One likely possibility is the anesthetic needle came into contact with or penetrated the nerve that connects the tongue to the mouth. Another is inflammation. Either way it should clear up in a couple of weeks.

(It’s also a possible sign of a stroke, but, come on, I just had half my face numbed to oblivion on purpose and some basic dental surgery.)

The other bit of weirdness today is, on April 20, after some nice 70+ degree days, it’s snowing moderately heavily here in St. Louis — and it’ll be below freezing tonight. This breaks a record set in 1986 for late wintry weather.


I’m pretty satisfied with the Xaoc Katowice… even if I had no idea how to pronounce it until just now. (More or less “kat-o-VEET-seh” (almost like “pizza”) if this guide is correct, which is more plausible than my first guess of “KAT-o-weese” (like “geese.”))

There are multiple uses:

  • Almost a sort of typical lowpass, bandpass and highpass filter simultaneously, on separate outputs. It’s not resonant but it’s a full 24dB/oct slope. And stereo.
  • A mix of those, so you can do notch filtering or low/high shelf stuff. The mix levels are under CV control, so you can modulate the frequency while also modulating relative levels, which can lend some accents to what would otherwise be a more basic filter envelope.
  • Band separation, for additional processing and then optional mixing back together… more on that below.
  • With the three levels maxed and a narrow width, modulating the mid frequency gives some nice phasing effects which can be a little subtle or drunkenly wobbly depending on how far and how fast it’s done.
  • Audio rate modulation — of frequency (and thus phase, or filter FM) or of width or amplitudes are all possible of course. I haven’t even gotten into feedback or self-patching much yet.

On the mixing front, After Later 3:1 does what it’s supposed to — but I don’t think I like it very much. Cramming 6 or 8 patch cables into one 2HP module makes for a pretty crowded area! I am contemplating alternatives. I don’t want to take up too much of the remaining space, when I handle most routing/mixing in the DAW — nor do I want to use 6 of my 12 inputs for a single voice after splitting with Katowice. I will probably keep 3:1 as a compromise, unless there’s a stereo mixer that can add useful functionality to my setup without taking up too much space.

titanic madness

We’ve been rewatching all the MCU movies in chronological order. From the start, I semi-dreaded getting to Infinity War and its stupid, ridiculous villain and its bumbling, completely-off-their-game heroes, and ultimately, a crushing and emotionally devastating defeat that we all knew had to be reversed somehow in the sequel. And stupid Vormir (with its stupid ghost of stupid Red Skull) and its stupid “sacrifice” which was not all credible in this movie and deeply unfair and painful in the next. Overall, most of the MCU movies are thrilling, entertaining, and sometimes hilarious, but aside from a few laughs and a few small triumphs (which then feel like they didn’t matter…) this one just pissed me off overall.

In the comics, Thanos wanted to kill half the universe to impress Death because he was in love with her. (This storyline was even hinted at in one of the end-credits scenes, where a Chitauri said “to attack Earth is to court death” and Thanos’ eyes lit up.) It’s crazy, and kind of dumb, but here’s the thing: it was acknowledged as crazy and dumb.

In the movie, he wants to kill half the universe so that the other half has enough resources not to starve. People just sort of accept that and even relate to it as if it were good intentions gone very wrong, as if it somehow compares to Killmonger’s rage over racial injustice and oppression in Black Panther.

Here’s why it’s stupid.

  • If you have all those infinity stones, you could solve the problem so many other ways. Create more resources! Change life so that it requires less! Whatever!
  • It’s not even a universal problem. There are, presumably, planets where nobody is starving or struggling. There are, no doubt, planets and colonies where killing half the population would cause collapse and probable starvation.
  • Starvation on a civilized world is almost certainly not a simple “too many consumers, not enough resources” problem, but one of inequitable distribution and poor resource management. (On a more primitive one it’s probably more a matter of ability to extract those resources.)
  • Killing half the population without regard to economic status seems like it would be far less effective than specifically targeting the rich, who consume more than their share.
  • Population is not a static number. On Earth, the human population doubled from about 1925 to 1971, and doubled again from 1971 to 2020. Thanos is something like 1100 years old, right? You’d think he would have some perspective here.
  • Which species get killed and which ones are “resources” themselves? Often the movie states it as “half of all life” and yet we don’t see trees, shrubs, grass, or any animals getting dusted, only humans. What of other apex predators? What about invasive species? What about the sort of livestock that put a strain on other resources while being resources themselves?

There are no doubt more, but this is what I came up with in half an hour or so this morning. The writers really should have stuck with the original motivation for Thanos — with no actual personification of Death for him to impress, just his own belief. (Or maybe he confused Hela with Death, and Thor could catch him up on events from the Ragnarok movie…)

under the influence

As it does every so often, the topic of “influencers” or “synthfluencers” has come up on forums again.

I’m not interested in ranting about the unbalanced level of resentment that some people have over it — instead I want to consider actual influence. And that’s personal.

When I was a child, my dad had eclectic tastes in music and I picked up on them. Isao Tomita, Wendy Carlos, Synergy, the Beach Boys with that sweet Tannerin solo on “Good Vibrations,” Pink Floyd, the Alan Parsons Project with some very clever production tricks (and solid funk, and of course vocoders were awesome to a kid who loved robots and space). Really Tomita was the big one for me though, and I appreciated his sound design and aesthetic sense more and more as I grew up and started to find my own favorite musics. Dad has never been a musician, but Mom played the piano a bit, and both encouraged me.

I should also add that Dad encouraged an interest in electronics and how things worked, and also his job with a chain of video arcades exposed me to a lot of games and some sense of how they worked on the inside. Mom as a computer programmer did all kinds of mysterious magic with big cool machines. So it’s not really a surprise that I wound up as a programmer, in the video game industry for quite a while, and of course computers are a little bit important in electronic music.

Some credit to my brother too: though much more of a visual artist, he had some interest in synths too and is the one who introduced me to FL Studio and VST plugins originally. And while I’m on family and out of chronological order, my spouse has been supportive and tolerant of my weird noises and weirder devices. 🙂

I had a fantastic music teacher in elementary school, Helene Malpede, who later was my violin teacher. I strongly suspect that the joy she shared in music and the emphasis that everyone can be involved in music in some way, really made a difference.

In middle school, as a science project I tried to build a TI talking clock chip-based speech synthesizer and interface it with a Commodore 64. It was only partially successful, and unstable in fun ways and I wish I still had it (“elevennn.nn.nn.nn.nn.nn.nn.nn.nn EIGHT oh”). My science teacher at the time gave me an old oscilloscope of his, hoping it would inspire me further. I hooked it up to the 8-track tape player and watched Tomita’s waveforms dancing across the old round tube, in rapt fascination. So I think it inspired me more musically than to go further in electronics.

I started on the violin in middle school, and while it can certainly be a frustrating and difficult instrument, there was joy when things came together. The sense of control and expression… I know electronic musicians often talk about a collaboration with the machine, but even with acoustic instruments there is a similar feeling. And playing in an ensemble, there’s also satisfaction when the group is tight and creates something greater than the sum of its parts. So, I might add the conductors and instructors who taught me, quirky as they each were (and in many cases, biased against electronic music or anything outside their own comfort zone).

I also joined the high school jazz ensemble — starting from a position of not really being able to play the piano, and ending in a position of barely being able to play it and not very well. But I learned some comfort with improvisation and rhythmic complexity, and had an amazing almost out-of-body experience at one show with a wild solo that stunned the rest of the band. As it happens, the group was directed by the same teacher who’d conducted the middle school orchestra, so he gets some extra credit.

The time I spent in the Society for Creative Anachronism, and then more so, the House of Netjer Kemetic Orthodox Church, led me to appreciate hand drums and get a bit into bellydance music. And I also enjoyed other folk music from around the world with “unusual” and complex rhythms. A lot of my own pre-Starthief music was heavily influenced by those rhythms and timbres, and even though I’m so much into drone and use very little of a percussive nature now, I still love an asymmetrical rhythm and they do creep in at times. I also think the trance-inducing nature of some rhythmic music has an influence.

The House was also the impetus for actually releasing music. I first decided to make some music to honor a few of the major gods for a holiday, and then just kept going, and shifted gears to other purposes, and then I was just making music for the love of making music. So, the encouragement I received through my religion was a very big deal.

And back to rhythm: there was St. Louis Osuwa Taiko. I loved seeing them perform, because it seemed so full of ferocious joy, and friends convinced me that I should go ahead and join their beginners’ group. I went on to audition for the performing group and did that as my primary musical (and physical!) activity for a couple of years. There’s perhaps not much of taiko in a Starthief album, but many public performances did give me more confidence. And one of my favorite (yet all too rare and brief) parts of playing taiko was improvisation, and that’s a key part of my music now.

At a time when I was spinning my wheels, Jonathan Coulton’s “Thing A Week” project encouraged me to try the same, and those habits are what really made Starthief happen.

What influenced me to get into Eurorack was playing the Arturia Microbrute, with those fascinating few patch points — and then Émilie Gillet of Mutable Instruments donated some modules to a charity auction I was watching, which really got the wheels turning. And while I’m on that subject, credit to instrument designers in general. The responsibility to create, and to choose the tools, lies with the musician — but building instruments is an art too and one does very much influence the other.

I could name a lot of musicians whose work I have enjoyed, and who opened my ears and mind to what was possible. The more obvious ones to me (aside from Tomita) have been Skinny Puppy, Nathan Moody, Belief Defect, and Caterina Barbieri. But there have been hundreds and I can’t rule out the influence and inspiration than any of them have given.

Inspiration comes from many other places though: many authors of novels and nonfiction books could be named, and many different life experiences. The list could start to get pretty absurd if it were entirely complete.

chaos and noise

It’s the little things… quite literally. I ordered a tin of Befaco Knurlies, specialized screws for Eurorack that have nylon washers built in to prevent scratches, and can be tightened with a flat or Philips screwdriver, a hex driver, or even by hand.

Honestly, I think for someone who doesn’t move modules often, M3 hex screws and separate washers (as I’ve been using, and you’ll see in the image here) are the way to go. They’re a lot cheaper! And low profile, good looking, and more secure if you go to trade shows or live gigs and don’t want individual modules to wander off in someone’s bag too easily. Knurlies are nice for quicker changes, or modules like Desmodus Versio where you need to get to the back to update firmware a little more often.

Also recently arrived: some new knobs to update the look and feel of my Mystic Circuits modules. They came with the sort of knobs that have shiny metallic tops, and the direction is indicated with a shaped bump on the side. Ana did have purple-sided knobs, and purple is sort of this company’s thing, and I think the colors work well here. The slightly larger Wrap knob is “MXR mini style” — pretty much the same as the Root knob on Ensemble Oscillator — and the others are Davies 1900h clones, a common type used in Eurorack.

I also have some Rogan soft-touch knobs on the way — the same kind that Make Noise and Mutable Instruments use, and I like them very much. Noise Engineering’s knobs are classy and have a solid feel, but they have glossy tops where glare obscures the pointer direction. In the past I’ve found they are very firmly mounted and can be challenging to remove, but the increase in visibility makes it worth replacing them.

Less little: I ordered a Xaoc Katowice “stereo variable-band isolator.” It splits the incoming signal into low, mid and high frequency bands. There is CV and manual control over the middle band’s center and width, and over the levels of each band — making it kind of a multiband VCA, or shelving/peaking EQ. There are stereo mix outputs and individual low, mid and high outputs, so you can route or process the bands separately. I also picked up a small, cheap After Later 3:1 mixer, so after such processing I can merge back to stereo without taking up 6 inputs on my audio interface.

It’s basically the hardware version of the Multiband device in Bitwig Studio. Hardware gives it the advantage of direct hands-on and CV control and zero latency. Feedback patches and interesting FM/AM/RM should be possible, and I expect it will also lead to different usage patterns than the software.

With the exception of that tiny mixer, this entire spring 2021 update to my modular has consisted of Xaoc Devices and Noise Engineering modules. Xaoc is apparently pronounced “chaos” and has a very Eastern Bloc, almost-Communist-chic, test equipment aesthetic that looks rather classy. All their modules are named after the Polish names of European cities (really putting the Euro in Eurorack). NE is very much inspired by 90s gothic-tinged dark and yet nerdy industrial music, and their module names are in psuedo Latin. They couldn’t be more different, and yet I think they complement each other well, and really have been suiting my music nicely. This kind of diversity is one of the coolest things about Eurorack, compared to other modular formats.

delving

Just yesterday, Polyend released version 4.0 firmware for the Medusa hybrid synth, adding a digital FM mode among some other things. There were a few unfortunate bits:

  • The “extra” analog oscillator in FM mode is only accessible via external MIDI, not the Medusa’s own grid controller/sequencer which is its primary defining feature. Minor quibble though.
  • The behavior of P1 and P2 (paraphonic) modes changed. Previously, if you set one of the oscillator sliders at minimum, it would be skipped during voice allocation — so the sequence would play all specified notes with whatever oscillators it has available. Since you can set oscillator tuning, waveshape, sync and FM individually, this could be exploited to create polyrhythmic patterns that you could change on the fly. This behavior is unique and what makes me want to keep the Medusa rather than going for something else. But someone reported it as a bug, so Version 4.0 stopped skipping silenced oscillators and just left silent notes instead…
  • A bug in Grid mode where polyphony stopped working and it played monophonically using oscillator 1.

I grumbled, reverted to the previous firmware (which I was very glad I’d kept), and reported it to Polyend. I was surprised to get a message this morning with a new version to try — which fixed the bug and added a “Skip muted voices” option to restore the behavior I love. So… hooray! New FM mode plus it still does the crazy stuff that I like.


At this point I have finished my retrospective, critical listen to all my Starthief releases since 2018. Here’s what stands out:

The first album, Nereus kind of doesn’t fit the rest stylistically, at all. I think of this style as “my 0-Coast period” — plucky bassline/melodic hybrids with particular sequencing techniques, which I was doing a lot of in 2017. I liked it better than the more experimental sounds I was trying at the time, and in fact this is the “my sound” I thought I found at first. But it was definitely a stepping stone I don’t need to traverse again. Also, I’m hearing a generally lower production quality, possibly some stereo phase correlation issues. I’m honestly tempted to remove this one from Bandcamp, because it seems so out of place.

The second album, Shelter In Place, was much closer to what I think of as “the Starthief sound.” I was thinking about a more abstract sort of drone techno that hints at industrial, and that’s where this one went. In the future I might introduce a bit more of this flavor, but I don’t want to push toward it.

The third, Vox Inhumana, I backed off on the drone but went to a more… not quite Berlin School sound, but a “collaboration with the synthesizer” attitude. And I think that one really nailed it and still stands as one of my favorite albums.

After that there’s not so much of a progression as a wandering through different interests. At certain times I had particular near-obsessions, like sustaining feedback or FM, or particular gear I was highlighting.

My music is at its best when I follow it instead of trying too hard to lead it. But also, I need to keep a hand on the reins — some of the more experimental “leaks” into my albums feel like weaker points rather than the breaths of fresh air that I intended.

reflection

The horribly named Gearslutz is finally changing its name to Gearspace. Years of pressure from the community to be more inclusive and professional can actually work. I might actually take a look around there once it’s done.

Your move, Muffwiggler.com.


I’ve been listening to my albums today, reviewing my own starting from the very recent Luminous Phenomena and working backwards, in a combination of enjoyment and judgement. I’m not taking notes on technical issues or anything like that, but just the overall emotional impact and enjoyability (granted that’s in my current mental state, so these opinions are always subject to change).

So far I’m finding confirmation that I have a “sound” in a general sense, and should stick to it. I would rank my 5 most recent albums in this order:

  • Luminous Phenomena: an intense ride, with a good balance of continuity and contrast. I want to keep doing things in this vein.
  • Unfolding: really solid, some great textures and an emotional ambiguity and tension that I like. Not as intense as LP, but good.
  • Pieces: pretty strong, with some good melodic use of the Medusa. I didn’t enjoy “Energy Exchange” as much; it goes a bit outside my Goldilocks Zone.
  • Carefully Introducing Problems: there’s certainly some good work here, but some of it just isn’t grabbing me as much — a bit uneven.
  • The Sky Above the Port — this was a difficult album; I was trying to make music for specific scenes and settings, and not really doing what comes naturally to me. It feels like my weakest recent work. So I’m asking myself some questions about the process. Was the concept doomed, did I need to change the plan a bit, or just spend more time on it and be more discriminating? Or is there not really anything wrong with it and it just didn’t hit me in the right frame of mind today?

I’ll probably keep listening to my older work and contemplating until I get back to Nereus, but I feel that the most recent work is the most relevant.