so i haven't really told many people about my 2016, my experiment. throughout the year of 2016, i intentionally did not write a single note down on staff paper. i've struggled as an artist, determining what i want to say--what is important to me. discovering your aesthetic is not really an easy task. it's like asking the perennial questions of "who am i?", "why am i here?". in one of my classes at the university, our professor put forth this idea: what does it mean to be an artist in a world where anything and everything is considered art?
i think what i have to say is unique in the sense that my music has never been about appeasing other people. for me, it is a profoundly personal experience. writing music has been my version of keeping a journal. my music through the years contains storied away pieces of my life--tiny anecdotes from different versions of myself.
in a conversation with a friend from a long time ago, he encouraged me never to look back with anything other than kindness upon my own earlier works. i never quite understood what he meant until recently. i hear things that i would do differently now. i don't change them. some composers tirelessly poured over the same works, constantly tweaking them until they were 'perfect'. i don't think this is what i want to say as an artist. i'd rather there be tiny tableaus of imperfections. with that idea in mind, my 2016 was not a year completely devoid of creative thought. i ventured further into the study of different forms of artwork. i have constantly thought about exploring painting, sculpting, poetry, or writing short stories. many of these i attempted, but they will remain closely and intensely personal for the time being.
i became infatuated to the point of obsession with self-actualization. like what it says on my home page: music to me is like an organic entity. i treat it like it is alive, pulsating and vibrant. it is a great privilege to mold sound into music. many would argue that sound is music if one so chooses to observe it as such, and that is fine. i sort-of take the approach that molding a specific series of sound events into being is like creating life. i am choosing to have the listener perceive these sound events in a certain way, it's mine. again, what do i have to say?
finally we come to the great experiment. over the course of 12 months of intentional silence, i sat at the piano and recorded 200 improvisations. using my MIDI keyboard and my DAW, i created a series of tableaus. i would improvise based off of a musical idea, an image, an episode from netflix that i had just finished, a particularly striking encounter with someone, etc. i actually created a digital journal of my life in sound.
my newest project, to find my aesthetic, culminates in the dissection of these 200 improvisations. to parse over this material and piece together a 'self-portrait'. hopefully the piece will be finished within the summer months. it will be released as an anachronistic self-portrait of 2016. the good, the bad, everything in between.
life could be summed up as a series of memory events.
music can be summed up as a series of sound events.
i think i now understand john cage's philosophy. everything is up to chance and everything is art or music. one just simply has to alter their perspective.