Friday, February 27, 2009

The Fine Art of Giving a Damn (Expanded)

Here’s a slightly expanded version of an entry I placed several weeks ago when only half-formed (and now deleted...). (Note to myself: learn to stop placing posts when they are not ready and, indeed, learn even from the sentiments in this one!)

Reflecting on how I have changed towards the music I'm personally involved with recently, I realised that the attention paid to everything now is not only greater but radically different. With my old band, Splintered, we'd invariably rehearse once or twice a week and then record at a local studio once we felt some songs were ready for it. There'd always be a certain amount of room left for improvisation and new ideas during the recording sessions, of course, but we'd at least get to the stage we felt we were ready to go there before parting with our money for the sessions themselves. And because we played live regularly, it was imperative we got together frequently to ensure we still had some chemistry between us as much as go over or expand on old songs or see if any new ideas would bubble up. At certain points, there wasn’t even a guarantee we’d get on together still, never mind commit our time, energy and money to much beyond.

Theme, on the other hand, do not generally rehearse and, in turn, spend far longer labouring over ideas and sounds. We get together and record ideas immediately within the confines and comforts afforded by a home studio. Afterwards, we spend months, or even years, returning to these ideas and tweaking them into a shape we are finally content with.

Ultimately, despite this shift in demographics, a lot of time has always been spent working away at the recorded work I’ve been involved with over the years and teasing it to the point it was felt ready to unleash on those who may be even vaguely interested.

Although the approach to creating music, and tackling its inherent problems during this process, has changed as much as the music itself over the years, I strongly feel a vast number of groups and artists operating elsewhere within this field could learn a thing or two from all of this.

I have always failed to see the point of putting one’s name to anything if the sense of pride or achievement ranks a second place to either a simple spurt of ability or the many dubious motives spiralling from this…

The lack of effort I continue to hear in most music these days almost makes me wonder why the fuck I care so much about this most communicative of art-forms.

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