next in line

I’ve got almost 25 minutes of music recorded for the next album, so I expect my count for 2021 will indeed be 8 albums.

The thing is, it doesn’t feel like a lot. It just feels like the year was long, especially the stressful summer. It’s a little too early for “year in review” posts but that’s the mood I’m in. It seems like the last quarter of the year points so much at the holidays; if several neighborhood houses can have their Christmas lights going already then I can talk about 2021 as if it’s almost over, can’t I?

An insurgency of idiots. Coronavirus continuing to be a political and identity issue, which is probably why it is still dominating everything instead of being well on its way to being crushed like smallpox. Biden being as disappointing as expected. Supply chains disrupted. We lost our sweet dog Gretta, a couple of months after she had to have her leg amputated, which they thought for sure was cancer and then the biopsy said it wasn’t. Work got 10x more stressful after my supervisor left and I became the person who’s supposed to know everything (even though I’m not a manager per se). Two music community websites with awful names changed those names and life went on.

I read a book about drone music, then put together a 30-minute continuous set for an online radio show, decided I really liked doing that, and ran with it for a few more albums. The last album has a few crossfades but mostly separate tracks, and I think this one is going to be all separate tracks again — and I even used the Model:Cycles, probably the first time I’ve recorded an actual hardware drum machine since 1989. But it’s probably not what it sounds like…

I told myself I wasn’t going to change much of my gear, then I did. Deliberately, then somewhat experimentally, then with a sense of closure as I resolved to change how I think about gear. I still want a Make Noise Strega (announced at the start of the year) and I might get one next year — I’m not setting specific “don’t buy stuff” rules but more “it ain’t broke.”

In less than two weeks I’ll be 50 years old. That doesn’t quite make sense to me. Half a century? Some part of me is still 15, awkward and nervous and having no idea what I’m doing. My back muscles and knees feel like they’re about 85. So I guess if you average them it works out.

Recently read: A Memory Called Empire and A Desolation Called Peace. Two wonderful, beautiful books, and I hope there are more coming from this author. The setting and conflicts are very human, very “here are the wonderful and terrible things about us in the same culture, and often within the same person.” And I would like to see Mahit and Reed resolve their probably unresolvable cultural differences and live happily ever after. But they probably won’t get what they deserve, because generally people don’t.

A mini rant:

Software plugins that have X-day free trials and those trials don’t reset.

A few months ago I tried AAS Multiphonics CV-1, a software modular synth. It was kind of neat, a little bit flawed/limited, and I decided I didn’t need it because I had Bitwig Grid as well as hardware modular. Then they announced an update, with some new stuff. I kind of want to try it again, but I can’t, because my 15 day trial ended many weeks ago.

Same goes for one of the Cherry Audio analog synths. I was reading something about the hardware synth and thought “I tried an emulation of that before, didn’t buy it, but now that I’ve read this I want to give it another try.” And I can’t, because my trial from way back whenever expired.

By all means, in your demo versions, have some soft noise bursts or occasional dropouts to silence or even talk once in a while like the Sonic Charge demos did. Disable saving and shut down the plugin after 30 minutes (or 10, or whatever). But this is just killing off your own second chance to sell your product.