Reflections of a new blogging convert and the blog as a creative outlet

(Please excuse this rambling mess, I am by no means a “writer”)

Thus far, writing this blog has been a great experience. I had no idea what to expect when I started. Ok, so maybe that isn’t true… I think I expected more comments (probably a lot of negative ones :) ) and I still hope for more and get excited whenever I get one. Other than that, I didn’t really know what was supposed to happen.

I had a rough idea of what I was going to do of course. I have been laboring in soundmaking in my basement or bedroom for years. I was tired of not really having anything to show for it. I knew no label would put this stuff out and ask someone to pay for it (even though a lot do), and I wasn’t even sure that that is what I wanted to happen with it.

The problem of presentation
It seems to me, that one of the hurdles to presenting truely experimental music (as in, music that is actually an experiment) is the presentation itself. As a person who has gotten giddy over many noises and attempted to share them with (usually) much straighter folk, I have come up on this many times.

A good friend of mine whom I used to live with told me a story once, about a guy he used to live in a dorm with (if i remember correctly). This guy, he said, used to play the most horrible music, so loud all the time that it drove him nuts. Intrigued about this music, I probed him for a better description than “horrible”. What he described could have been any of several musics, but sounded most likely to be some form of dark ambient/darkwave. The interesting thing to me, was how his description had the opposite of the intended effect on me. Instead of saying, yeah, that sounds terrible, what an ass, I started probing him for more info. But that’s not the point of the story really. The point is that that same friend a year or two later became enthralled with circuit bending.

I got into circuit bending by discovering Reed Ghazala’s site. I was looking for a Casio SK-1 at the time to replace the one I had when I was a child, and quickly began ammassing toys and destroying them. My roommate instantly got it. This blew my mind. I had him pegged as a person who liked conventional music and nothing more, and for all intents and purposes, he was. However, for some reason when presented with noise as an exploratory, adventurous step into the unknown, he loved it. He looked at every toy as a lottery ticket, and brought home almost as many as I did, looking to hit that jackpot of pure sound. That was as far as it went for him though. He wasn’t interested in making music that anyone would listen to out of these sounds, he was interested in making a novelty sound exploration device and leaving it at that.

What is so interesting to me about this friend was his willingness to accept something that he previously hated, because of how it was presented to him.

The blog as a distribution model
The above story is something I have thought about a lot. Sometimes I think maybe he was right, maybe sound loses something (like anyones attention) when it becomes “music”. Maybe presenting something as “music” like “art” is a pretensious assertion. Maybe the only end to what I do should be my own pleasure. Maybe… but I can’t be satisfied with that. If for not more complex reason, than I get psyched and want to share! Like a little kid who just got a new toy.

This is why I started a blog. It alows me to present anything is any way that I want. It allows me to experiment with different forms of presentation. For example, I usually downplay my “music”. I don’t give it a name, or much ado at all. Partly because I can’t handle the metaphysical burden that comes with a name, partly because I’m shy about it. This hasn’t really worked. Sometimes I think more people would listen to the music, if I gave myself a name like “Liquid Banana Helmet” or “Oranguitan Rape Moustache” and blathered about how killer my tracks were with each post (I would never do that in a million years however). What has seemed to work is the album like format and cover art for “Jazz 2 Ways”. I could go on waxing intellectual about why I think that had that effect, but that’s not the point, the point, is that I can present however I want.

This (I think) allows me to lower both the defenses of you, the readers and myself. You don’t feel (hopefully) like you have to LIKE what you hear and considder it “music”, and I don’t feel like I have to put it in a “musical” format. Then maybe later as I have indoctrinated you (hahahaha) with my fun sound samplings, you will start to listen more to what I DO consider to be my music, HOPEFULLY with an open mind. Or maybe, you’ll hate it and think I’m a pretensious quack. The point is, that it is out there in a form that is less burdened with ideology than a CD or record, and hopefully this will help change the way you approach the sound on this site.

I wasn’t expecting a sense of accomplishment
What I didn’t anticipate about writing a blog, was how good it was going to feel to see all the information/content I have produced. This blog as a documentary of my sound land is really exciting. I do feel like I have something to show for my work now, other than tons of instruments in the basement, and sound files on the computer. I have gotten the opportunity to put my thoughts to my sounds and file them away to be found and re-reflected on later and that is not something I take for granted.

All this is to say that this blog, though insignificant in the blogoshere, is a success to me, because it allows me to not only share, but to look back and see what I have done in a different light. I guess that is all quite obvious to most people, I guess I just underestimated the impact it would have on me.

And now, I am going to do the thing that blogs allow, that I love so much… I’m going to post something that will probably hurt your ears. :) (watch your volume!) The fact that I can do this, never ceases to amaze me, and some day in the future when free information has been banned, I will look back at this, chuckle and then wipe away a tear. Enjoy!

- Noisy Button

(You know those toys that you squeeze and they play a song? This is what happens when you add one carefully placed resistor to that circuit.)

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5 Responses to “Reflections of a new blogging convert and the blog as a creative outlet”

  1. Daniel Thompson Says:

    I really like your blog and the idea behind it. I’m a frequent visitor. I’m trying to work up the courage to make some of my own sonic experiments availabe to the public. I was wondering what service you use for those little music players that you link to.

  2. howsthatsound Says:

    Thanks! I’m glad you have been enjoying it.
    It does take a bit of guts to post your stuff, and sometimes I can’t bring myself to (for certain things), but i have found it thus far to be very rewarding.
    I think it is easier with experiments, b/c then the subject of peoples judgement is whether the experiment was a success or a failure, and not whether you are a good “artist” or whether your music is viable. Those can be far more difficult judgements to take.
    You also must realize that negative feedback from any person or people is arbitrary. You never really know what they are reacting to (neither most times do they) and their taste is only their own (if they do in fact have any).
    Taking this position makes it easier to deal with criticism.
    I alo believe that if I do suck now, I will cease to at some point in the future, but only if I continue to try, and thus, I keep going. If only to have a document of my various failures. :)

    As far as the sounds playing off of my site. The “player” is just quicktime, and everyone already has that. So, all I do is present a quicktime playable file (in my case an mp3) that I have posted on a website. Everything else is pretty much automatic.

    If you need any more info, shoot me an email and I’ll explain in more detail.

  3. RaymonWazerri Says:

    Hey,
    I love what you’e doing!
    Don’t ever change and best of luck.

    Raymon W.

  4. howsthatsound Says:

    Thanks Raymon! I have no plans of stopping any time soon.

  5. JosesKaraoke Says:

    Just a short note to say I like your blog.

    Good job and keep up the great work!

    Kenneth

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