Experimental music, photography, and adventures

February is upon us

Thursday, February 1st, 2007

Well, February is here already, and I completely forgot about February Album Writing Month (FAWM). I had been planning to do it, but I just completely forgot, and now I don’t feel ready at all.

I don’t really want to just start writing without having any idea of what direction I should take. Last year, my album, “Elements” was a pseudo-concept album where each song was inspired by an element from the period table. It’s all instrumental, so there are no lyrics tying anything to that concept, but it gave me a good framework in which to work, and a thread tying things together.

If I’m going to do FAWM this year, I would like to have something like that to give me something to work toward. It wouldn’t have to be a concept album per se, it could be a methodology, or an overarching theme. I really dropped the ball by not figuring this out sooner.

I have some ideas, some new, some left over from last year, such as:

  • Soundtrack for a non-existent movie
  • Soundtrack for an existent movie
  • Soundtrack for a video game
  • Write the album continuously and in order, from start to finish
  • Do an ambient album
  • Do an album with a lot of vocals/lyrics — something I haven’t done very much
  • Try to use more songlike structures (verse, chorus, etc.)
  • Have each track centered around a certain instrument (violin, guitar, mandolin, weird gourd thing, kazoo, harmonica, etc.) — the main problem here is that I don’t really play most of those instruments.
  • Do lots of violin-based pieces, possibly processed violin.
  • Minimalism

I know there are other ideas I’m leaving out. I’m really not sold on any of these, although they all appeal to me on some level. Any ideas or commentary would be very much appreciated.

6 Responses to “February is upon us”

  1. Sarah Says:

    Gosh, there are more ideas here than those we talked about last night. A lot of these overlap in some ways — an album with vocals and lyrics would probably tend to have a more songlike structure, an ambient album will probably end up fairly minimal, etc. I like a lot of these ideas (and not just the ones I came up with, heh). I actually think the “soundtrack to a nonexistent movie” works better as a song title than an album concept. You’d have to essentially write a storyline for this to work, or at least have an idea “This song would go with a shootout/cheesy love scene/tragic death, etc.”

    One thing I’m hoping you don’t do is end up spending so long trying to find the perfect idea that you spin your wheels … Eventually you’re going to have to pick something (or not). It might be the best idea ever or it might not.

    I think, instrument-wise, the best bet would probably be the violin. You’d need to get familiar with it again but it’s the instrument with which you have the most raw talent/aptitutde/expereince to display. I’m hoping using real instruments would mean you would spend more time physically practicing/creating and less time in the production end. You tend to get wrapped up in the minor details and, as you know, FAWM doesn’t really allow for that … Also, processed violin = awesome.

  2. Sarah Says:

    Hmm, I’m thinking of the violin thing again … did you mean a “all sounds = violin” kind of thing where you turn the violin into sounding like something it’s not and whatnot. Or did I make that up? I’m trying to remember what album it is that is similar to which I’m referring, but I don’t remember. Except that for awhile once, it sat on the speaker in your old living room in Rogers Park, and we listened to it while drunkenly playing darts and tripping over the dog. Do you know what I’m talking about? DO?

  3. Apertome Says:

    Thanks, Sarah. You’re thinking of Warmdesk’s Guero Variations, where most of the sounds are piano, although not played in a traditional manner. He took apart something like three pianos and made noises as he did it, which he then used to create an album. Brilliant stuff.

  4. furiousBall Says:

    I think you’ve got a head start on the minimalism so far, I’d go that route.

  5. dkeifer Says:

    That idea of writing an alternate soundtrack to an existant movie is interesting, too.

  6. Bud Buckley Says:

    Sounds like some fruitful thought there. I think it’s a good idea to write a sound track for a movie of a book you like. I’ve been toying with that thought for my next one after i finish this one.

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