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Meta: The style of this blog, and closing operations.

Just a quick note. I’ve noticed that this blog is reading a bit too ‘Dear Diary’ so I want to change that. I’ll try to more concrete posts setting our goals, and then reviewing their success.


Also, I figure it is good practise to write a review for every goal I set, so that I’m keeping honest with myself about how my performance is.


Re-establish priorities, let’s get some structure going on.


My three week university holidays have just started, what are my goals for it?


  • Human computer interaction assignment, I’m working with others, to get it done.

  • Math assignment, it’s doing some cryptography. Get that done.

  • Physics, catch up the whole term, so I’m feeling competant by the time school goes back.

  • Physics lab report. Perhaps hook up with someone in the class to get that done.

  • Software engineering – have to make steady progress on this, and hopefully sort out the dyamics of this group.

  • Get some work on my oscillator program done.

  • Try sort something out with WE Produce to perhaps give seminar/tutorial.

  • Talk to my summer research project about possibly redoing the end of the project. I feel disapointed that I didn’t totally explore the project, and given that I’ve got my mind around the algorithm, I want to see the results of the different versions. But the problem with this, is that it looks like I’m already pretty busy. Perhaps I can chip away at it.

  • In the meantime, keep making a little bit of music, or writing a little bit of my book each night.


I’m thinking I’ve got to keep updating this as well. The ‘do a project in a week’ thing is pretty good. But at the moment I’m enjoying just working freestyle on this track. So I’m going to keep doing that. But I think I’ll just little updates about the workflow etc.


For example, tonight, was finding making a track difficult. Had put in a melody last night. When I came to it tonight, I mucked around with the sound of the melody a bit, didn’t really do anything. Then I decided I need to put an extra sweep sound in that spot. But wasn’t happy with the sound I was making (pitch bending a saw wave, put a bandpass filter on it). But I think this is a pitfall here, rather than moving on with the track (which sounds pretty good), getting stuck on one small part of it. Rather, I should use the momentum of the track, to keep building on it.


I’m thinking instead of writing each of these small updates as an individual post, I’ll just make them paragraphs in a weekly post.  

I screwed up.

I don’t really feel like getting into it – because it’s pretty murky and we could get lost. But – I have a habit of self destructive binging, where it’s like a switch goes off and I start being unhealthy and unproductive – the anti-thesis of what this blog is about. These periods can last days or weeks. This last one went for about six weeks, which is quite long. So now it’s back to reestablishing my good habits, and hopefully never going there again.


The screw up occurred in the context of a sunday afternoon. It being a weekend, and having been productive on my summer project during the week, I figured I’d spend the day making some music – operation make a bunch of short track ideas. I was working on ‘Syndicate’ – and it just wasn’t going anywhere. What I had already got down was really good and sounded nice, but I simply could n’t get anything going with it. What I think the screw up was – was that I was going outside of the bounds of what I had set for myself. I think I had decided ‘Alright, I’ll make these into full tracks’ – that was never the plan – I shouldn’t change the goals like that willy nilly. The goal was small enough that I could have finished it first (I still had the southpark idea to start, the strike commander idea possibly wasn’t going to happen, as it was proving difficult to find a version of the game with sound). If I had wanted to move on to full tracks, I could have done it at the end of the 10 days.

I think I would have been happier and more motivated when working on the track if my mindset had me ‘Alright, all I’m doing is adding a couple of ideas to this, and then I’m leaving it’, rather than ‘I’m trying to make a whole track here’.


So the lesson here is:
– Don’t deviate from the goal you’ve set yourself willy nilly.

Or: – If you are freestyling, then make sure you are having fun.


So where to from here?

I’m thinking: – Finish off this short goal thing. Which basically is maybe add a few more ideas to Doom, Wolfenstien, Syndicate, do something for South Park, and I’ll investigate Strike Commander, but that might happen.


Then, next task: ‘Make music for one hour, each night for a week’. It’s fairly simple, it’s just to get used to making music again, get my bearings. Infact, I don’t even really care what I get down for finishing this existing task. Anything rubbishy at all, just so long as I put something down.  


(Note: I ended up binging for another of weeks, didn’t post this till about a month later, things are getting back on track). 

Experiment: Get home and first thing I do is make music.

So I’ve just got home after having a somewhat productive day (admittedly – it didn’t start till 1pm – I slept in, then went for a run). I feel a bit exhausted. My feet hurt.

I could sit back and watch an episode. Or eat.


But let’s try making some music.

TBH I’ve been feeling a bit frustrated by it recently – it’s just seeming to not happen, and I think ‘perhaps I’ll never be a good musician’. This is opposed to me and programming, where I know what I’m doing and what the difficulties are. When I sit down and program, I can see the progress I’m making.
I’m thinking in regards to that – I should try being more deliberate in my workflow (‘I’m going to build this thing, then this thing, then move on’), rather than just mucking around.

‘The groove’.

I’m talking about when you’re making music, it’s coming along. There’s always this resistance – ‘let’s do something else’ but you stick with it, and it’s going.

But then if you do fall off, it’s hard to get back there.

It’s currently 2pm here. I slept in today – got up at 9am. Went for a run, had breakfast. Watched some TED Talks, mucked around seeing if I could record sound from the videos in linux (no easy solution), downloaded some torrents, blah blah blah. Other than writing these couple of blog posts, I haven’t really done anything.

How do I make myself start? I feel like if I were to just open the track and get working on it, I’d be straight up against this wall.
Well, I do have three different tracks I can work on. Just pick one, see what I can do with it?

Also – I think I’ll have a lie down, and think about what I really want to do with my day. I don’t have to be making music. Could probably give my room a bit of a tidy.

I need to have a plan to make music more effectively.

These projects that I’ve set for myself are good. But it feels that when I’m doing them, I’m still banging my head against a wall. I produce something eventually, but I could be doing a lot better. Being more effective, more creative.

I think I need to:

– Watch more tutorial videos, and then actively do what the tutorial tells me.

– Go in with a plan. Always have an idea of what I’m going to be doing next.

I’ve thought of a new project – ‘shamelessly copy a track’. That is – I’ll find a track that I like, of a style that I want to do – and listen to it and pretty much just copy each element. Drums in the same place (or similar), lead loops of the same time, repeating the same time of numbers, build ups in the same place, of the same style etc. This would give me a good idea of how to write a track in each genre.

I also think I’ll try write my plan for a track first. Eg. ‘Create kick and bass, get them to gel. Copy that out to 32 bars, then 8 bars of just bass, then another 32 bars. Create drums to overlay – 16 bar loop. Now add the first lead sound through that first part’. Etc. Just writing this kind of gives me an idea of how much of a clue I don’t have. I’m thinking for this plan, I could also ask for input from the forums I post on.

Also – looking at this post, point #6 sticks out at me. Perhaps for my projects I should focus on just making sounds first (createing the kind of atmospheres and feelings that I want), and then having a separate session to arrange them.

All this said though – I kind of do just feel like diving in. Or ‘I’ll finish what I’m working on first, and then next new track I’ll follow these ideas’.

Watch this space.

Legit question: what if I can’t sleep?

I really like the getting up at 6am thing. Admittedly, I think I’ve only done it twice this year so far. Last night I couldn’t sleep – so I got up and watched an episode of Madmen. Come 6am, alarm went off, but I so turned it off and went back to sleep till 8:30.

Could I just say – alright – if I can’t sleep – watch an episode or whatever (admittedly – I did get to sleep fine after that episode), but still make yourself get up at 6am. You might be tired that day, but you’ll sleep well that night!

The problem with not being able to sleep, and then sleeping in, is that it then makes it hard to goto sleep early the next night.