First post of last year here.
Last year pretty much started the same as this one. In a dark room - a soft backlight as to not take away focus from the occasional outside fireworks - and me by the computer. Writing up last-minute resolutions, hoping to have time to reflect on a New Year and a New Me but not quite taking and/or having the time.
I felt like I wrote little last year, but it seems it'll be even less now.
I talked about a storm then, but the fireworks were so much stronger this time around. Who would have thought? 2020 marked the start of a new decade - an at the time hopeful new phase for humankind, but this years all the more savage a showcase of fire and flame and sparkle seems to show that it's just a number after all. Even if it seemed awesome at the time we didn't really need the new as we do now.
I watched those decorative flares with a stupid grin on my face now. Growing wider and wider as more and more light struck the sky, soon lighting up a thick layer of smoke: the haze of aftermath.
I felt invigorated. All the more hopeful about how 2021 might turn out. All the more confident in my own abilities, and joyous that so many others seem to share the same sentiments. That so many of us really hope that this time it better be better. This time we start the decade that last New Year was supposed to.
I won't say 2020's been all bad - but it's been laden with uncertainty and unwanted tension, all too much stress, a couple breakdowns, the clarity of an ongoing midlife crisis I've been able to somewhat mask behind a veil of distractions during prior years, that this wave of isolation forced me to face. Thus my #1 resolution for the year. I know it'll sound vague to anyone who reads it, but it's vague to me too. I'm not sure how to transform; to get where I need to be. Not sure where to start. Maybe with a little more reflection time I could've drawn out some pointers.
Maybe I will! And it seems this post is growing longer than I expected it to already and possibly uncomfortably introspective considering the air of festivity we should currently be trying to breath in - never mind that fosfor haze!
I guess I started this journey last year, but it's probably safe to say that things got in the way of the change I crave and one day maybe (I mean this year) will hail and brave. Slay my dragon. Let the tail prevail.
It hasn't been all bad! I sure posted more during 2020 than 2019 - albeit still not as much as I hoped to. I made some music I'm proud of. I managed to travel a bit despite all the roadblocks this 'rona thing tried to throw in my way. I've interacted with a bunch of cool people - both new and old acquaintances - mostly online unfortunately/fortunately/would-be-more-fortunately-if-I-was-interacting-a-bit-more-IRL-too, and I've come to all kinds of self-realizations that I am absolutely positive (not corona positive - don't worry - took a drive-through test last week) that a normal year would never have given me as ideal circumstances to find. For good or bad.
Whatever change this year might bring I plan to keep blogging though, keep on writing, and most importantly keep making music.
You can find my subsequent yearly resolutions post here - from the other side of the yearly divide - for anyone who maybe stumbles upon this outside the main stream.
I hope you managed to get some good out of last year too; here's to the new! The one we've all been waiting for. So long. It's done.
So so long 2020! And Happy 2021.
And good night. I'll revise more tomorrow.
Tried a little Gingerbread gadget without a reset button. It's art alright?
Happy Holidays all who stumble by here! Hope you're having some warm and cozy days no matter how strange ways we closely face! Just mosy on and those will fade. Just like the snow that unfroze today.
Whatever the play Happy Holidays!
The Fruits (why fruits though why don't we ever say vegetables or nuts or berries or something?) of Inktober
Hold up! Before I delve into a long-winded and long overdue recollection and ramble on the potential crops of labor this my second year of audial Inktober may have produced, let me first give you this.
It may not be all instrumental, it may not be all metal (maybe not at all metal?), but for me at least it is somewhat monumental! And maybe momentarily a little mental - but I meant all that I sent y'all.
INK 19 is all of last year's daily material in mixtape form, with thorough additional mixing and mastering by the one and only @Jabun! Starring @S3C, @HOTSTUFFDX, @Father-of-Death, @JamesHeart, @Jabun here too, @littlbox and WyteNoiz on occasional instrumentals/beats/boxes, and a few exclusive leftover bits from way back when. Everything's fully revisited; balanced; hopefully as good as recording quality allows it to be.
Share if you like! Enjoy, and go check out @Jabun's solo material too if you haven't already - or his showreel if you need a master master!
Now over to that long overdue; by now old and fruity Inktober rant:
Inktober turned out awesome this year. Wasn't sure it'd match up to last, but how wrong was I? It all comes back to you, and then some.
I started with a lot of resistance, but as Steven Pressfield says you just gotta learn to overcome that systemically to stay creative; keep pushing yourself and make new things. The War of Art. Thanks @BenTibbetts for that great random (to me at the time - very thought-out otherwise) reading recommendation a few years back!
I ended up collabing with NG peeps on more than half of the daily recordings this year, of which at least 3-4 were pretty elaborate. @ninjamuffin99 and @KillerRATband handled the mixes on theirs for appreciatively different flavors, but everything else is yours truly. For now. Potential reinterpretations and improvements on a few of the better ones may be on route, like this just recently. And this a while earlier - that one's been a looong time coming now!
Hope to do even more next year. Collabs I mean. Collabs every day? Is that possible? Without planning ahead too much and thus entirely bypassing the very essence of what Inktober is meant to be?
I felt like I burnt myself out enough with what I did this year, but then again I felt the same way last year and that amounted to just half as much, and nothing after, with shorter acapellas too on most days with no collabs. It feels like you realize when you push yourself that you're capable of so much more than you think.
It's an inspiring feeling; something only this particular challenge has truly brought forth in me for the past two years now. So maybe I need to push myself even further to truly greet that greatness I desire to aspire?
You learn to handle stress better too. You grow efficient by necessity. You effectivize your workflow in ways you never knew you needed to until you just don't have the time to do things the hard way, like how I just recently learned how much more efficient the envelope tool in Audacity might be at consistently adjusting the flow of the sound instead of manually amplifying individual bits up and down (thanks for that one @Jabun). And compression. I need to use that. Probably. And panning. Production game be stepping. Up!
So I'm definitely getting back to this 2021! No matter how much resistance I might feel for it at that particular point in time. And hopefully I won't have that familiar phase before then where I drop these creative pursuits entirely; need to warm up to the idea of it all over again. It's all too easy to get into a rut. To get comfortable. To let that spark diminish. Don't let it!
Lemme know if y'all want to collab again next year! Or whenever. I'm down now. Life's looking up. Days are busy but awesome. And here you go again, don't miss that mixtape! Revised somewhat by me with additional mixing and mastering by the one and only y'allreadyknow @Jabun!
We've been going back and forth on this the past month now, and though the original recordings are far from best source quality (I'll blame those daily deadlines and frequent lack of time overall but should probably be blaming my recording/production ethics) I'm really happy with how this turned out! Going to be playing it on every drive to work for a while now; rap along with myself. Good practice; efficient jam sessions; suitable methods of keeping you awake and stimulated whilst on those dark and wet wintery roads that just started getting brighter again! This time's the time it all turns.
This really turned into a rant, or maybe more so a causerie of observations and experiences regarding this particular yearly event. Also read up on the controversy surrounding the Inktober name back when I wrote the above. It's trademarked. Though with non-profit things it should be no problem, so I guess I'll keep using it anyway since I've done so thus far! Until a better name comes along.
TLDR (but do read anyway cause you do get better at longer reading the longer you read long writing): I had a blast this year and I think I might've improved a little since last! I'll let this play in conclusion:
Was going to list some favorites but I can't just choose a few now. Here's a playlist for this year and last and again last year all properly mixed and mastered and possibly with a little more material than the original and this link's local but go check out the NG version above too.
Thanks again @Jabun on that mastering magic on the mix! :) Happy this came to fruition, and happy with this year too! All in time to have a listen as we unwind and greet the new.
And this is why I do tune into the show sometimes!
The one talkshow that doesn't just walk slow but... you know. Chalks though. I don't know what I'm saying anymore but yo man Conan - and all folks at Team Coco - they do things totes dope. On occasion a great one.