some of those who wander are sometimes lost

It’s been a while since I finished a recording and then dropped it into the “no” folder.

When I switched from “post everything” mode to releasing albums, at first I was probably throwing out 60% of my recorded work. As I refined my process I reached the point where if I recorded it, there was a good chance it was going to be a keeper. There have been several times when the editing process felt like rescue, where I had a diamond in the rough and it needed some effort to make it shine.

But this year until now, there has only been one rejected “finished” recording: “Zen Spiders” which I had made for The Sky Above the Port. It had some sound design that I really like, some lovely moody drones and a simple improvised line that works for it, but it opens with a rhythmic part I decided is just too monotonous. That part drops out after a while and I think “oh, I could rescue this just by cutting that out!” but then it comes back in during what would otherwise be the emotional apex of the piece.

This is the consequence of how I work — only the full stereo mix is recorded so I can’t just drop out a layered part that I don’t like. Maybe there is some not too disruptive way to record individual channels in sync, I’ve really not looked too deeply at the possibility yet because usually I can work with what I have.

Also, the patch and performance are ephemeral, never to be fully recreated — but to me that is a necessity, a requirement for getting the kinds of results that I do when things turn out well.

Anyway, now the spiders have company. I recorded “Contaminalia” for the currently unnamed album in progress and… I just don’t like it. It is rhythmic in nature, and more than a little industrial-sounding, and that falls outside my comfort zone for creating (not for listening). The baked-in effects don’t sound good to me now, and the overall feel is not right. I feel like the ideas behind it mostly worked and another musician could have pulled it off but this one is not for me. My plan is to go back to the very basic outline of what I was trying to do and execute it completely differently. If that fails too, then I will drop the idea and go elsewhere with it.

More generally, right now I don’t have a guiding vision for my next project. Sometimes things are like that, and I just create until something comes to mind that unifies it. So far, that unity is lacking, and I feel like I’ve been experimenting rather than just laying down one solid track after another. A couple more recordings might wind up in the “no” folder before I get much further.

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