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WRONG NOTES: a blog of ear reverence

Wrong Notes collects posts on music, art, culture and fun stuff. Also included: news about the Ear Reverends.

Croque Madame 1

An image for the new music I am creating right now.

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Exicited is a start

Sometimes when you experience something a lot, you stop noticing the "event" of it—it's more like a constant.

Music has been like a constant in my life, but I sometimes have to ask "why" about it, given the gap between what I feel about music and (the lack of) what I actually do on some days.

But, I noticed something the other day—that I hadn't really noticed before: I wake up every morning completely excited about music.

I can't figure out what more to say about it without sounding totally corny. But, literally, every morning, I wake up excited about music.

For me, at least, it sort-of explains some things, just recognizing that "event" and its frequency.

And, it doesn't answer any "why" for me, but it maybe gives me less reason to even ask. Or, if I ask:

Q: Why?

A: Because it's there.

I am excited aboard, about, above, across, after, along, alongside, amid, amidst, among, amongst, around, as, aside, astride, at, athwart, atop, before, behind, below, beneath, beside, between, beyond, by, circa, concerning, during, following, for, from, given, in, inside, into, like, near, next, of, off, on, onto, over, pace, past, per, plus, regarding, round, save, since, through, throughout, till, times, to, toward, towards, under, underneath, upon, via, with, within, according to, ahead of, as regards, as per, because of, close to, due to, in to, inside of, near to, next to, on to, owing to, prior to, pursuant to, subsequent to, that of, as far as, by means of, in accordance with, in case of, in front of, on account of, on behalf of, on top of, with regard to, with respect to, anent, behither, betwixt, cum, ere, fornenst, fornent, pro, qua, re, vis-á-vis music.

Wrong answer, right place, it’s time

Welcome Mike Gordon fans. . . and anyone else sent here for being wrong.

So, if you're here because you've gotten an answer wrong at Mike Gordon's Andelmans' Yardsale, and you're reading this (I can picture your mouse ascending to that great back button in the sky), hello, sit down, stay awhile—had I'd known you were going to be here I would have made some tea, but I hope this will do.

Click through to a few pages and check out some of the Ear Reverends' music: Entaruption, Plastic Toys, Wing Drops, Riddle. There's more—feel free to snag any mp3s you find—they're just lying around all over the site and looking for good homes.

Thanks kindly Mike!

Coachella Metal Bounce

Coachella Metal Bounce (2009).

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The web page is the new shiny disc

I started writing this as an email to Lucas Gonze.

This is an extended comment where I elaborate on why Lucas's new Wax MP3 Player is exciting to me—how it seems to match-up with something I've been thinking about and working on (e.g., for Err or Man in the recent past, and for new stuff for the future). It seemed like a good topic to post about here on Wrong Notes:

As I've started developing HereJam, I've been thinking about the new role of the record label, in relationship to releases: the new release is (going to be) all about how the music appears on / across the web.

The files and discs are almost irrelevant—definitely secondary. They do need to exist, but, really, once they are published, anyone can get them anywhere. But, the player / interface is primary, because it's actually about that "content" that is the music—about getting into that music.

So, I see the record label as having the role of providing musicians with new web players—i.e., the new formula is:

musician's new music + record label's new player = a new release

This kind of relationship between the label and the artist is easily non-exclusive (though it can work as exclusive one, as well): one new kind of "remix" will be in the multiple different web players created for the same music. The players can be made of all kinds of things that complement the music: visual art, photographs, videos, interactive games, factual information, lyrics, fiction, poetry, nonsense, etc.

Put another way: the player itself is the new format for music. And, rather than it being a single / fixed format, it is instead of the web (e.g., like a website—it is a web page or website). Each player can be distinctive in design, but all players will have at least a few common, idiomatic, elements that make it similar to other players. They marry idioms of the web with idioms of the music player—both provide nearly unlimited opportunities for design—for being turned into products.

You'll know it's a music player when you see it (e.g., maybe it has something to click to make it play), but the player format can be totally free to be any kind of web page(s), which can have original and distinctive shapes, structures, semantics, contexts, interactions, looks, feels, etc. The web page is the new shiny disc.

So, I think Lucas is really on to that!

The whole and the piece

I started noticing a pattern when I was a kid, where I'd keep making things bigger — more multifaceted, typically.

So one question, with the Ear Reverends' music, has been about the size of works. Is this thing I am working on a song, an album — more? less? Is it, as music, just what one will hear? What about other aspects of its experience, perceptual and conceptual?

Part of what I've been doing lately is evaluating the relationship between planning and doing. In particular, between talking about plans and doing them.

This blog has always been a question, in terms of what is said and what is presented, in relationship to the music. And, same with the website—the web is a part of this music, as an interface to it.

I am working on some things. Maybe they will be bigger things, and take more time. Maybe taking a lot more time.

So, Wrong Notes may be slow for a while.

Music is for sharing

One of main attributes that we enjoy in music is that music is a way of sharing enjoyment between people.

This is just a couple thoughts:

The main thing we want to do with music we enjoy is share it. A fundamental part of the enjoyment of music is that the enjoyment can be shared, just by sharing the music. Music is a way of sharing enjoyment (and more, deeper, feelings), and enjoyment is often shared through music.

So, if we're ever interested in paying for anything with music, it's the opportunity to share music better. That's the real, timeless, music business: giving people some opportunity to share some music, for which they will gladly pay something reasonable—just to ensure that opportunity.

When we want to own some music on a CD, it's because having a disc gives us more potential opportunities to share the music. When we want to have some music in mp3s, it's because having a digital files gives us other potential opportunities to share the music.

There are very few reasons to relate to music in terms of totally private purposes, without sharing. There are some—and I assume that most people have some bit of music that they like to listen to privately more than with others. But, even then, just because I like to listen to some song when I am alone doesn't mean I don't want to share that song with others—it's not really that private. At best, some music is kept truly private by some people in rare cases!

But, the rest of the time, we just want to share the fuck out of every piece of music we love!

My new SAD (song-a-day) diet

I started a new thing, what I call my SAD (song-a-day) diet.

Last week, I started a practice of writing and recording a song everyday. In the ideal, that would be all 7 days a week. Practically, I've got time blocked out on Monday–Thursday, so it may be more like 4 days a week.

On Monday last week, I ended up using my block of time to finish some rearranging and setup in HereJam studio. Then, Tuesday–Thursday, I wrote and recorded three new songs. Friday–Sunday, I also wrote a song / piece each day, but didn't recorded anything. And, today, I wrote and recorded another song / piece.

Given the constraints of this practice, one of the things I now find myself doing is remembering ideas for musical things I want to try—and writing and recording with those. So far, I've recorded a psychedelic pop song, a surf punk instrumental, a goofy pastoral with banjo and tuba, and an electronic funk piece based around the samples of dying audio chip's last sounds.

Here's some more background on why I started doing this, and what I've learned so far:

Over the years (since I was a kid, really) I've had a lot of days where I've written new music for hours and not recorded any of it. And—especially more recently, I've had a lot of other days where I spent hours fiddling with the same recording, over and over.

Between the time that I completed Err or Man and the beginning of this year, as I started preparing to record the next Ear Reverends' album, I realized that I was spending a lot of time waiting for big chunks of free time to write and record. And, then when I finally got those chunks, I felt a lot of pressure to get a lot done. And, so to relieve that unnecessary pressure, sometimes, I just wouldn't try to get anything done and would "goof off" and have fun in the studio (which worked temporarily to relieve the pressure).

So, I came to appreciate that all of this was a pretty extreme way of working, that was not really what I wanted. But, I was stuck in that pattern for a while and not sure what to do differently.

I know of a number of authors who write for a specific period of time everyday—either a set number of words, or a number of pages, or a number of hours. My cousin Lisa does this, and talking with her about it has been helpful. I also found Cory Doctorow's description of his practice, and the idea of leaving a rough edge, to be useful.


When I original started Wrong Notes, and recorded the Wrong Notes Music in 2004–2007, I thought I would use the blog format and ideal of posting daily to drive myself to write and record and post more music. But, I found that publishing / releasing creates its own pressures. And, altogether, the blog format doesn't encourage the kind of editing / curating that tends to become an essential differentiator between a "work" and a "practice."

So, with this current song-a-day practice, I'll release some things at some points, but I am not in any way thinking of each song / piece as "the next blog post."


A couple other observations:

Getting up in the morning and getting immediately into writing and recording is just really great. I don't get online or deal with stuff until after the morning session.

Stopping is hard. It's too much fun to stop in the middle of a creative moment. I am trying to stop "on time" everyday. Still working on that a bit.

Having a fixed time to work changes what I write and how I record it. My definition of "recording" for the SAD diet is pretty loose. I've been doing multitrack recordings everyday so far, but I am sure I'll write some stuff on paper or do a quick demo on days when I am writing something with more depth. So far, the songs / pieces I've written are simple in some ways—but, even so, the time limit forces me "marry" simplicity when I might otherwise tend to "fool around" with more elaborate options.

I don't usually write lyrics in the morning, unless they are carrying over from something in a dream. I've only recorded lyrics on one day so far (started in a dream). I'll probably start using lyrics written at other times (which times, I realize now, are generally at night).

All of the songs I've recorded so far are now "almost done." I know from past experience that there's potentially a big difference between almost done and done. I am not sure yet whether or when I'll finish these. Sometimes I think it's good to just leave them as is and keep moving forward—right now, that's the point in some sense: no going back and getting bogged down in something from the past / always being open to the next new thing. But, I'll see in a few weeks what's what.


If you've ever done something like this and/or if you have some practices that you find useful, I'd love to hear more about your experience.

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nearby posts:




. . . the new music player is very coming soon and such . . .