I think it's fair to say that if there are any underlying themes to this blog, one of the recurring ones is that of my attempts to reconnect with things which have been of fundamental importance to me, but which I feel I've lost touch with over the course of the last few years.
Music is one of those things and I've had, at certain times, some success in busying myself with the process of playing, writing and recording music again. Or, to put it a little more accurately, the process of mangling sounds.
Well something has cropped up which is very much the kick up the arse I need: I don't want to go into any detail at the present time because it would somehow feel like tempting fate (that's really without any rational basis but I'll allow myself to be led by it all the same), but basically I've agreed to the offer to play at a venue in a few short weeks from now.
Suddenly, what this has meant in real terms is that since Thursday I've spent several hours hunched over my laptop and monitor speakers recording, arranging, editing, layering, deleting, cutting and pasting, fretting, and generally being utterly absorbed in the whole process. It's been easier to spend the time doing this while I've been away from work, but now that there's a deadline against which I feel like I'm going to be judged, it now feels like I can't afford not to keep myself involved.
And it's great. I've had a break from it today because I'm giving my poor ears a rest, but it's reminded me just how much all of this used to keep me occupied on a daily basis. The main challenge at the moment is to ensure I've enough usable material to perform, but what I've really noticed over the last week or two is how my thinking has changed as a result of having something to work towards: no putting things off, I have to keep coming back to it, trying different things, reworking and re-editing, obsessively listening back over and over.
Actually, obsessively is a key word in all this. I was involved in a remixing project a few years ago and once I'd set to it I very quickly found myself rearranging the furniture in my flat in accordance with the way I was working. On other occasions, with particular ideas going through my mind, I might get up in the middle of the night to listen back to something or to change an aspect of it, and only then would I be able to settle back to sleep. I can feel that obsessiveness coming back to some small degree, and it's welcome in the sense that it's closely allied to something constructive and creative.
The main thing is, I'm starting to achieve a sense of continuity with what I'm working on, and that feels very healthy. It's also a balance against the things I'm pissed off with, and as such is much-needed. I'm already having the occasional stab of anxiety: what if things go wrong? Well the fact that things will be actually going in the first place is enough at the moment.
I hope to post more on this as things progress. But it makes me reflect on just how stupidly negative I can be: in general, when I've felt like work or other things are grinding me down, I manage to think of all sorts of disincentives for working on music (or anything else creative for that matter): yet on the occasions when I've actually made a start, suddenly I feel like I'm in my element and that everything is all right with the world again.