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Fed up with my own creations

Anything about MUSIC but doesn't fit into the forums above.

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KVRian
 
982 posts since 26 Oct, 2007, from UK
  

Postby do_androids_dream; Fri May 23, 2014 12:36 pm Fed up with my own creations

My friends say I've always had an ability to write good melodies... I rarely listen to music that is melody centric... Everything I write seems to have this stamp on it that says it's me but I'm beginning to hate it lately... Do you ever feel like you want to get outside the box you inhabit even if the box is very comfortable and familiar? Have you ever successfully made an abrupt change to the 'sound' of your music? I would love to hear strategies to force new creative directions.
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KVRAF
 
6965 posts since 2 Aug, 2005, from Guitar Land, USA
 

Postby RunBeerRun; Fri May 23, 2014 4:20 pm Re: Fed up with my own creations

For me it's all about physicality, the sound comes just slightly after I feel what I want to play.

When I first taught myself to solo, I had a funny dream where I was huge and said I got so big by making sounds as I chew my food. :lol:
The only site for experimental amp sim freeware & MIDI FX: http://runbeerrun.blogspot.com
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KVRAF
 
4315 posts since 20 Jul, 2010
 

Postby Sendy; Fri May 23, 2014 4:41 pm Re: Fed up with my own creations

I had this for the longest time. Then one day I decided I was going to forget everything I "knew" about what was good and bad and tell that negative voice that's always measuring and analyzing and comparing to STFU, and honestly the box has, at times, disappeared, and my satisfaction with my music matured overnight.

Actually, I'm lying somewhat. It wasn't an overnight revelation, so much as a series of three or four "satoris" where a bunch of circumstances conspired to push me down the right path and I got more open-minded and gained insight into what music means to me.

When it comes to forcing creativity: Use extreme limitations. It might take a bit of experimenting to find which limitations work for you, but when you find what works, it really helps. For me it's short keyboard studies and real chiptunes (usually, composing for the NES soundchip, because I have a handy tracker/emulator). Stripping away 99% of the possibilities reminds me how inexhaustable that remaining 1% is, and the studies leave me with raw material that can go on to be some of my favourite music.

Some people say the same thing about composing for piano.
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KVRAF
 
3739 posts since 3 Jul, 2012

Postby V0RT3X; Fri May 23, 2014 5:31 pm Re: Fed up with my own creations

I pretty much hate most of what I create, but i share it anyways. Some of it I make myself finish even though I have no idea where I'm going with it. More often than not it turns into something I enjoy for a bit then end up hating and deleting. It's all a learning process, and I find that as i keep hitting the same obstacles that It makes me change directions and do things a bit more formally.
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KVRAF
 
9299 posts since 20 Oct, 2007

Postby jancivil; Fri May 23, 2014 5:53 pm Re: Fed up with my own creations

do_androids_dream wrote: Everything I write seems to have this stamp on it that says it's me but I'm beginning to hate it lately...
Yes, I have felt like that. There are certain things such as the sound of the lead guitar - even though it's not exactly the same, it basically is a stamp - that I lean on.
do_androids_dream wrote: Have you ever successfully made an abrupt change to the 'sound' of your music? I would love to hear strategies to force new creative directions.
Yes, I focused on grand piano, piano being outside of my usual comfort zone (as well as using Erik Satie compositions as like a 'head arrangement' for new work).

I'm not one to be able to step that far back perceptually from 'myself', I sure don't want to write an analysis, but someone I used to work with closely remarked on "quite the departure", thought I sounded like Keith Jarrett on one thing, which is way outside of 'me'. Solo piano. Actually the last time I did a piano solo it would probably surprise people it was me. I wanted that old partner but he was moving and I was filling his shoes for the track. So here's another strategy, see if you can create personalities for 'band members' in tracks, like writing characters for story.

I should say I do not feel like I'm in a stylistic box I can't break from, but physically the sound of instruments, my orchestration style I think is very much me even if I use completely different materials. Another strategy, and partially to do with that instrumental choice, is pick a certain conventionality and really embrace it (say, embrace a cliche), & not get too cute with it.

In general, I'm happy to have an identity like that. But I do get sick of certain things, I think that's healthy self-awareness if not critique.
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Rad Grandad
 
24616 posts since 5 Sep, 2003, from New England U.S.A.
    

Postby Hink; Sat May 24, 2014 9:10 am Re: Fed up with my own creations

do_androids_dream wrote:My friends say I've always had an ability to write good melodies... I rarely listen to music that is melody centric... Everything I write seems to have this stamp on it that says it's me but I'm beginning to hate it lately... Do you ever feel like you want to get outside the box you inhabit even if the box is very comfortable and familiar? Have you ever successfully made an abrupt change to the 'sound' of your music? I would love to hear strategies to force new creative directions.


I'm sounding like a broken record here, my apologies to those who have read this suggestion a dozen times. I find that for me that when I lose interest in a piece the best thing is to put it aside and do something else for a while. If it's just one song I'll switch songs and work on something else, typically I try to have that be something completely different form my norm. I found taking a break from a song often leads to a better appreciation of the song when I return to it or it exposes more clearly potential trouble spots that may have caused my frustration.

It it's a case where it just seems everything I do is frustrating me and I'm not getting anywhere I do something else entirely for a while...take a break from music. In all my years I have yet to have had anything negative happen as a result of a break. Of course if you're on a deadline this wont work.

For writers block, not liking my stuff, boredom or the feeling of being stuck in a rut I find my best strategy is simply do something else for a bit...IME it creates a better balance in my life...YMMV :)
As long as you hate, there will be people to hate
-George Harrison
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KVRian
 
982 posts since 26 Oct, 2007, from UK
  

Postby do_androids_dream; Sat May 24, 2014 10:09 am Re: Fed up with my own creations

RunBeerRun wrote:For me it's all about physicality, the sound comes just slightly after I feel what I want to play.

When I first taught myself to solo, I had a funny dream where I was huge and said I got so big by making sounds as I chew my food. :lol:


Haha good dream! Someone will read this and make a MAX/MSP controller to map your chewing motions to some set of bizarre synth parameters now... :D
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KVRian
 
982 posts since 26 Oct, 2007, from UK
  

Postby do_androids_dream; Sat May 24, 2014 10:21 am Re: Fed up with my own creations

Sendy wrote:When it comes to forcing creativity: Use extreme limitations. It might take a bit of experimenting to find which limitations work for you, but when you find what works, it really helps. For me it's short keyboard studies and real chiptunes (usually, composing for the NES soundchip, because I have a handy tracker/emulator). Stripping away 99% of the possibilities reminds me how inexhaustable that remaining 1% is, and the studies leave me with raw material that can go on to be some of my favourite music.

Some people say the same thing about composing for piano.


I'm a big fan of imposing restrictions to force creativity. For me, it used be something like using only one synth or one particular sample but once you have a firm grasp of synthesis it still leaves too much room to get caught up in choices. Now it's more like a set of rules that I have to impose if I want to try the restrictive route. Eno's oblique strategy cards are always a good thing to turn to as well.

The piano is my primary instrument. I'm amazed by how many different sounds and feelings can come out of that one sound with different players. From Thelonious Monk to Ryuichi Sakamoto to Keith Jarrett to Joe Hisaishi... It has to be the ultimate instrument. I've developed this play style where I have to play with my eyes closed or just look away from the keyboard. I kind of guide my hands by imagining where they are on the keyboard or by keeping my fingers playing certain shapes - sometimes works and sometimes doesn't. I quite like the idea of having some element of composing that's out of your control. Kind of like with algorithmic techniques I guess. In this case the 'algorithim' would be that I'm trying to make up for the fact that I can't see the keyboard with some kind of intelligent guesswork!
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KVRian
 
982 posts since 26 Oct, 2007, from UK
  

Postby do_androids_dream; Sat May 24, 2014 10:25 am Re: Fed up with my own creations

V0RT3X wrote:IMore often than not it turns into something I enjoy for a bit then end up hating and deleting.


This is very much a recurring thing with me too. It seems to be related to how much 'effort' I put in actually. There are certain styles that I find very easy to compose and, more often than not, whatever I compose in said 'easy' style somehow becomes tainted with this idea of cheapness or 'throwaway-ness' because I found easy to make. Perhaps I'm just over thinking...
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KVRAF
 
9299 posts since 20 Oct, 2007

Postby jancivil; Sat May 24, 2014 10:59 am Re: Fed up with my own creations

I spend a LOT of time with decisions as to instrumentation. I don't usually have a fear of a blank page/of infinitudes going in to a project. I made hundreds of Absynth patches that were kind of focused objects with hopefully useful names and for quite a while I would make a bottom layer, a sound world that I would articulate in more detail with discrete instruments, out of those patches which could be pretty involved and would generate a lot to work with, particularly in Kore with other things in FX groups.

Now, I have more 'sound-designy' sample libraries (I got tired of the above approach) and for me having more choices is good. I don't try to make music out of nothing, I go in with ideas even if they are kind of nebulous.
KVRAF
 
9299 posts since 20 Oct, 2007

Postby jancivil; Sat May 24, 2014 11:05 am Re: Fed up with my own creations

At one time I had serious plans to get real keyboard skills. Never happened. So I don't have automatic things which work for me out of technique. One thing I sought on guitar is to get away from idiom as a sort of tyrant over musical thought. I know where everything is on a keyboard, but it's more about intervals per se than any facility to draw from.
Also I'll employ strange tunings such as 'overtone series' where there is no good way to proceed by note names, it has to be about the sound and the effect itself.

But, I'm not going into the DAW with no idea. I have ideas most of the time, but I'm not into a blank page. The one thing I really completely abandoned during these DAW years was like that, most of that was a waste of time.
KVRian
 
656 posts since 24 Oct, 2005

Postby nasenmann; Mon May 26, 2014 3:45 am Re: Fed up with my own creations

Well i stopped sequencing for 3 years and went through significant depression during the last...not really abrupt, but it resulted in very different music when i picked things up again.
I know the feeling of being stuck in a box all too well. I noticed it with both playing instruments and my sequencing. The tendency to repeat your old routines and inability to break it up more often.
Apart from being frustrating, it's also very interesting when looked at from a distance. It's like an invitation to psychoanalysis via music. It's no stretch to liken the tendency of staying in a box with fear of the unknown and making mistakes.

This is the one thing where i made progress over the 3 years - jam around with zero expectations sometimes, accept mistakes more, enjoy the potential for happy accidents they offer.
While it's possible and sometimes worthwhile to branch out by digging into a fat book and absorbing new technique, the way of least resistance naturally is associated with the right brain hemisphere.
A good metaphor is making a virtue out of stumbling around. Suppose you're walking around in your hometown which you know inside out, but actually, not really. Once you manage to detach yourself from all the previously trodden and internalised pathways, you're going to stumble across places you've never seen or paid much attention to.
How to find these places in music? I don't really know, and got no good recipes. All i know is there are more goal and more process oriented states of mind, and when i open the sequencer i'm usually a goal oriented moron. So i end up repeating some shit i've done before and get frustrated.

Possibly a good ratio for composing between goal and process is 50 50 - if i'm being honest mine is more like 80 20. it's still good enough for some nice music sometimes, but i know it could be so much better if my state of mind was more attuned to the task. It's funny - i wrote "task", and that in itself screams "goal".

Here's my utopia: if my music making spirit from 2004, when i started sequencing, could find itself again, and make love with the knowledge and experience i have now, i know for a fact that AMAZING babies would come out of it. And i'd have a blast making them.

If only if only! Sadly i'm still an idiot on this!
KVRian
 
656 posts since 24 Oct, 2005

Postby nasenmann; Mon May 26, 2014 3:54 am Re: Fed up with my own creations

Sendy, I <3 your posts man. I don't know you but you feel like a brother.

Edit: OH sorry, sister it is! KVR is such a sausagefest lol, made me jump to conclusions. I remember reading a post where you said you'd ditched a boyfriend, and i automatically assumed you were gay. Hahaha.
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KVRAF
 
2532 posts since 8 Jun, 2009, from UK

Postby Gamma-UT; Mon May 26, 2014 4:47 am Re: Fed up with my own creations

Hink wrote:I'm sounding like a broken record here, my apologies to those who have read this suggestion a dozen times. I find that for me that when I lose interest in a piece the best thing is to put it aside and do something else for a while. If it's just one song I'll switch songs and work on something else, typically I try to have that be something completely different form my norm. I found taking a break from a song often leads to a better appreciation of the song when I return to it or it exposes more clearly potential trouble spots that may have caused my frustration.


This.

Artistic distance is very important in anything artistic. You need to leave something alone long enough to no longer feel like it's 'yours' but actually exists in its own right.

I find work getting in the way of things does this for me - it usually involves having to leave music alone for a while, which although it means going backwards a bit in terms of playing, does greatly change the way I listen to my pieces. I have resurrected material that seemed to have run into the sand just from giving it some time.
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