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WIGGLING 'LITE' IN GUEST MODE

Going full circle musically speaking
MUFF WIGGLER Forum Index -> Production Techniques  
Author Going full circle musically speaking
tIB
Forgive me for musing a little here - it's been a while...

If you want to skip the rest and take the short story I wonder if any one else here has gone full circle with their musical output at any point, and if so I wonder where that took them next?

Long story:

I seem to have found myself moving away from abstract modular pieces recently and have once again started writing songs, using a mixture of piano (trad and e), harmonium, guitar and autoharp.

When I first got into synths it was due to not really being able to play the guitar and (to a lesser extent since I wasn't as interested at that time) piano, since i suffered an injury that made playing painful. I should also add that my playing of both was functional at best, and so it wasn't some life changing type affair.

Once I'd gotten my head around synthesis to some degree I set about writing the odd song, which I managed to some extent - I've never been a huge fan of my own voice and have been hugely critical in the past of my songwriting, to the extent of not actually doing very much due to self defeat and other slightly perculiar factors.

Somewhere around this point I fell out of love with songs and into the tracks approach, which was reflected by my listening (in that I stopped for a long time) and my output, which became far more experimental, ultimately leading to modular synthesis and the material I have up at my bandcamp.

Anyway, more recently I've found myself listening more and have gotten back to making pretty straightforward songs, and I'm finding my inspiration within this approach once again. I've revisited some of my earlier ideas and have reworked them into something new that in some cases I'm really pleased with (others less so). I seem to be in a more realistic place towards writing lyrics now to, in that I am once again able to for better or worse - just getting things down for me is a good thing.

I've no idea what I'm going to do with my output in this regard, since here has been pretty much the only place I've actively shared my music of late - I've been hitting some friends (who would hate my modular output) with a few tracks and their response has been pretty positive - maybe they are my new audience... all four of them.

Interested to hear any of your own musings on this long and slightly bloggy ramble - have I just reverted to genre skipping or is the musical journey another of life's circles? Did you reach a point of going full circle at any point, and if so where did that lead you and what did you discover along that journey?

In my own case I've realised that it's possible to be a poor player but an ok musician, that musical joy is where you find it at whatever time you are in and that sometimes just getting stuff done is enough to give enough of a buzz to make it all worthwhile.
erik5
I have a similar thing going as yourself, but mainly within the realm of electronic production.

The start of my electronic musical journey was a combination of a nice analog synth, drum machine, ableton + guitar/bass/mic etc. Pretty much a nice array of tools to create a linear electronic track from start to finish.

Similar to you, my piano playing skill was not the highlight of my suite of abilities, and I felt that I was constrained from creating thoughtful chord and lead structures, and starting delving into the modular world thanks to its "play by intution" mentality of sound design and sequencing.

Dedicating all my musical capacity to the eurorack has been great. But like any wiggler would know, working within the modular realm makes doing basic things such as arranging a song much more difficult than the traditional DAW workflow.

I've recently picked up recording things into my DAW like a normal, linear song...and it's been pretty great to arrange my music exactly the way I want it! Rather than relying on my generative eurorack setup, where it mostly sounds pretty good.

I find that my modern compromise is actually to use my Eurorack system as just another synth instrument, with a lot of different parameters. Thinking of my eurorack case as a self-contained music station was definitely more fun & rewarding, but letting the eurorack integrate with my greater, "linear" music workflow has opened up a new world of possibilities for me.

Just my 2 cents from a fellow full-circler
Hi5
Started with a classical acoustic instrument upbringing. Then into punk/diy bands and culture. Found electronics at the end of high school and college. Spent the next decade plus deep into 'experimental', 'noise', and free improvisational music. Past 5 or so years I've come back to more traditional music and make techno.

I only realized recently that my progression has always been based around finding a new musical challenge. Some things took longer than others but I've always wanted to do something new eventually.

When you reach the end of music - noise. There really is no other direction to go except towards something more 'traditional'
kindredlost
I don’t want to fall into a semantic battle but to say “full circle” sort of denotes a starting point. Where do you consider your starting point? Was it at a time which you perceive with nostalgia for the time or was it the most pleasing creative point? What if the day comes when you are longing for the days of your interim method (modular tracking or whatever you define it now)? Will that be a full circle too?

Bear with me for a moment of analogy...
I recently refurbished my history of the surrealists period and specifically the painter De Chirico which has been lumped into the bevvy of Parisian and Belgian surrealists. The famous divide between some of them over De Chirico’s supposed falling away back to a desire to embrace the classical roots became a historic folly for the movement. His opinion was that he never was a surrealist so there never really was a change to his mind. I tend to take his side on that and see a more logical progression of the Metaphysical style continuing without the primitive aspects which he surrealists adored.

The point is that you can simply be realizing a new aspect of the same initial love of how YOU make music with different tools and composition techniques and still be the same productive artist. There doesn’t have to be any falling away from one to another even though to the outside observer it may appear a whole new or old progression. Embrace your journey and don’t worry over the reason why you need to do what it is you are doing. Sharp turns on your path isn’t necessarily a bad or strange thing.
thevegasnerve
Well, i definitely connect with what you are going through in your musical journey and enjoyed reading that.

I dont want to write a long piece but I started as a more traditional songwriter although I grew up in the initial techno age as a young adult so loved both equally. My mom was a poet which is why I love songwriting and my dad was an abstract painter (although a musician too) which is where my love of ambient electronic music probably manifested.

I recently put together a collection of, dare I say "pop" songs, written over the past 25 years for my family. I ended up adding a few new songs and it was interesting how I tried to use some of my more recent sound design techniques with the current stuff. It was liberating to write in a more direct manner, although my voice is limited in tone, range, etc... : )
tIB
Cheers all for chipping in, always interested in hearing other takes. I'll pick a couple of individual points upbut just wanted to say thanks to all as enjoyed reading all the responses...

kindredlost wrote:
I don’t want to fall into a semantic battle but to say “full circle” sort of denotes a starting point. Where do you consider your starting point? Was it at a time which you perceive with nostalgia for the time or was it the most pleasing creative point? What if the day comes when you are longing for the days of your interim method (modular tracking or whatever you define it now)? Will that be a full circle too?]

That's an interesting take on it that I hadn't considered - some of my earliest musical memories (in terms of finding things I was interested in for myself as opposed to being played things by my parents) were synth based so this whole journey is an exploration of that - the full circle thing probably says more about the way I interpret things.

Quote:
The point is that you can simply be realizing a new aspect of the same initial love of how YOU make music with different tools and composition techniques and still be the same productive artist.

That's a good point!

Quote:
There doesn’t have to be any falling away from one to another even though to the outside observer it may appear a whole new or old progression. Embrace your journey and don’t worry over the reason why you need to do what it is you are doing. Sharp turns on your path isn’t necessarily a bad or strange thing.

Also very true - I suppose to some degree its more that I'm working within a structure once again; the instruments used are interchangeable really and I've been using some electronic sound sources - I've mduw doing percussion and buchla doing squealy background stuff. The most enjoyable aspect of all of it though is that I'm writing lyrics and enjoying my output with that - I actually like the stuff that's getting as far as being done. Maybe I've mellowed... I'm certainly embracing the journey and enjoying the outcomes.

Hi5 wrote:
When you reach the end of music - noise. There really is no other direction to go except towards something more 'traditional'

I think there's probably something to this, although another long term aim has been to combine some of my noisier bits within some kind of song structure with vocals/lyrics and such. Maybe there's a remix project in there somewhere bending the stuff I'm currently doing into that form. Not yet though... and I don't for second expect I'm done with the noisier side of things - I was listening to some of my older bits the other day and I think some of my better bits in that style are my best work.

thevegasnerve wrote:

I recently put together a collection of, dare I say "pop" songs, written over the past 25 years for my family.

It's been really nice to share some of the song output with friends who can understand/appreciate that output more - I didn't bother with a lot of my electronic stuff since it wasn't really something they would find accessible.
andrewhuang
Hi5 wrote:
When you reach the end of music - noise. There really is no other direction to go except towards something more 'traditional'


Rings true for me. I shed every musical "rule" I could conceive of and went super far into noise in my early twenties. Ended up bringing me around to embrace Western harmony again pretty hard. Though I'd never thought of it in terms of reaching the opposing end of the "traditional" spectrum - I like that.
matthewjuran
I imagine the circle as a platform that reveals itself over time. Taking it full circle once is just getting used to how you make sounds.
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