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I live in Brooklyn, NY and I love it here.  I came here for my career in 2009 and haven't once looked back. 

Monday, May 3, 2010

The importance of clearing your head...

Welcoming in May and its sticky weather, I spent an afternoon with friends from the UU in Brooklyn at the Brooklyn Botanical Gardens for the last day of the Sakura Matsuri Festival and then went over to a little pub called Franklin Park in Crown Heights. Boy was it sticky. But, for now, I'm lovin' it. Nothing like spending time outside, especially in a place like the botanical gardens. The festival was really neat too, from what we were able to experience before we all started to tire out. There were performers and people in costume everywhere and I managed to get over to see the bonsai tree collection, as well. (Note: no pictures. It's been hard to plan on taking pictures since I got the Canon. It's just too unwieldy to carry with me all the time and we went to the BBG on a whim). P.S. Whims are awesome.

Beyond that, I've been trying to get back around to working on music for the dancer again but my computer is not cooperating. The speakers are crackling whenever the CPU is overtaxed and the audio will eventually start to cut out all together. Then, at one point, I actually had a complete shut down occur.

I meant to have a couple 30 second samples of my ideas ready for the dancer at our meeting Sunday but no dice. Luckily we postponed our meeting because of my romp in the gardens and the dancer's work overload. Wednesday it is. Now I have time to actually record the ideas that, in truth, I hadn't even fully come up with when I sat down in the first place. I was more preoccupied with coming up with the sounds using my guitar processor and actually had no musical ideas in my head yet. Anyway, after doing some research, I think I may know why my computer kept crashing whenever I tried to use Guitar Rig.

Check this out. Chapter 2.5 points out the potential of wireless LAN cards to cause disturbances in audio processing. Guess I should take the damned thing out of my computer since I don't use it anymore.

That having been said, the hiatus in my creative work actually provided me with a clearer head with which to approach for a second time. Once I got angry and had to stop myself from throwing my audio interface (the most tangible thing I could find that wasn't my guitar) across the room, I walked away. Thinking I couldn't actually get anything done (at least as far as recording went), I sat down with my guitar and just goofed off a little, thought about some structural concepts for a new piece and came up with some solid ideas that, to be honest, I may not have come up with had I sat fussing with my computer all night.

Nights like this remind me that it's better sometimes not to force things to happen. Accepting that I wouldn't necessarily have a finished recording by the end of the night cleared my head enough that I could sit down and let some ideas just flow out naturally. And now when I do sit down to the computer to record things, I may actually get something done.

I'm reading a book now called Free Play: Improvisation in Life and Art. The author is a violinist and the book is about creativity and improvisation. The last chapters I read were called, respectively, the Power of Limits and the Power of Mistakes. A lot of what the author has been saying is right on par with what I'm trying to learn from the recent computer disaster (and all previous ones for that matter). His main point is that accidents and limits are what shape our art. I'm feeling a lot like I've been limited lately by my computer but have also been thinking that perhaps this is pushing me in a different direction. As much as I want to experiment with new sounds, maybe I should be focusing on pitch material and structure first. My limits are forcing me to create more systematically. Also, it may come down to me having to do something else entirely that doesn't involve guitar and it may come to me out of the blue.

As for the power of mistakes, if one was to view my computer failing to operate properly a mistake, then the power in that mistake lies in its effect on my determination to make this thing work properly so that next time I start a project, I won't be so hindered. Or maybe I'll remember my frustration and will start off working on the piece away from the computer.

In all honesty, though, having the computer functional is a bit essential to me, because I prefer actually recording ideas as opposed to writing them down, especially with a piece where, since I'm performing everything myself, I probably won't be ultimately writing it down in score format. If I can't record myself riffing on ideas then I've lost productivity. And loss of productivity leads to loss of confidence and added frustration which, if I'm in the right frame of mind, hopefully, will ideally lead to further streamlining of my process and not discouragement. On the other hand maybe I should be more apt to write things down in these situations. Which is why I brought notation paper with me to work this evening.

In other family-related news, I have a new nephew as of 5:30 Sunday morning. See the pics here.

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