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Little watchers

little watchers

 

Sometimes when I am completely focused on what is going on on the screen, I tend to jump. This odd shape to my left sometimes makes a sudden move, and I just barely register it in the corner of my eye.

It’s nothing mystical about of course, it’s just this wonderful old window unwillingly allowing the outside to be seen. Through this punctured window that looks as if it has been washed with sand, tar and various other thick substances before it was left to dry in the sun, sometimes the alarmingly human silhuette of a branch is revealed.

It never makes much of its presence, but when it does, I always jump. It’s the immediate «what was that?!» reaction that makes me turn my head, scout through the darkness for a few seconds, before I notice the branch again. Almost hiding. It’s like he’s toying with me. But it’s nice in a way. He’s close enough to be seen even during the night, as the light from the room gently casts soft highlights onto the slowly greying leaves.

Having such an enthusiastic neighbour I tend to end up looking out the window a lot. Last night I got more a little more than I bargained for. Since I don’t eat meat, shun violent behaviour, would never put my feet in leather shoes, and would literally not hurt a fly (honest, I capture them and let them outside), what caught my eye was a bit disturbing.

As I looked for my friend the branch I noticed another shape in hectic motion. After careful scouting I noticed a Crane fly desparately struggling in the net of a spider. One of the advantages of living pretty much in the middle of the forest is that their webs are never far away, so my viewing distance was about two inches from my nose.

It is hard to describe the feeling of watching a large spider fly accross his web at the speed of light, and wrap it’s victim in webbing in mere seconds. It’s strange I haven’t witnessed this first hand before, I’ve always seen the web before, or immediately after the trapping happens. But now I saw the whole thing. It can’t have been more than ten seconds. Ten seconds from this blissfully unaware creature landed in the trap and until it was securely wrapped.

studio

the studio needs a little work still

So by now you might be sitting there thinking that there is some point to all of this. That there is reasoning behind it. And no, there isn’t. They are all just… exeriences and I suppose a glimpse into what my evenings consist of now that I have a new home. I haven’t moved, I’ve just finally cleaned out an old guest room, thrown the bed out, and set up my own studio there.

I have no idea why I haven’t started this sooner, but now it is here. I have many new things to play with and create sounds through, and my greatest challenge now is just to relax, destress, and let the myriad ideas I have settle down. So many small snippets flow through me that it’s hard to stay with one for long. Sitting down and focusing on one of them is hard.

But this room helps. It makes me feel free. It’s an escape within my home. I’ve started painting the walls with odd shapes, and thinking about what this room will become in a month, six months, a year or more genuinely excites me.

Well, I should clean my brushes. My bass is eyeing me. His strings haven’t turned my fingers sore yet today, and he’s not very appreciative of that.

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Darkest days

 

Look at the image above. Take your time and really observe what is happening.

This is how the heart answers acts of violence.

Today has been a horrible day. I have continuously failed keeping my tears back as I’ve watched the devastating tapestry of today’s events unfold. First a colleague in Oslo says he hears a loud noise, others say the same. We wonder what is going on, and we check the news.

Nothing.

Somebody says something about a bomb, and we start to worry. Gradually the news pop up. A massive explosion had hit the center of Oslo, the capitol of my home country of Norway. In disbelief I watch the images of streets I’ve walked down several times, looking like they were images from a war movie. Debris fill the streets. Windows have been shattered in a radius over a mile from where the devastating blast hit.

How do you react to something like this? You worry about how many have been injured. How many have been killed, and thankfully as the news crept in, the numbers weren’t as high as I immediately feared they would be.

But that was then. Not long after the blast a man found his way to the youth camp for the Norwegian labor party. Dressed as a police officer he made his way to the island where hundreds of kids, teenagers and youths were gathered. According to witnesses and reports, he claimed he was there to do a check due to the events in Oslo. He gathered people around him.

And then he pulled out his gun.

As I try to write this all I can think of are the images I’ve seen.

The bodies scattered along the rocks by the water.

The bodies floating in the water.

The thought of what they must have gone through. Trapped on an island while a madman opens fire on them. Hiding behind rocks, trees, or jumping in the sea to escape.

It’s heartbreaking, and it’s difficult to comprehend that this has even happened.

And then the aftermath. Many jumped to conclusions. It is only natural to speculate, wonder who did this. And due to previous events around the world, it is not surprising who one would think might have done it.

Some innocents were beaten up today. For not being white.

Some innocents were beaten up today. For being Muslims.

Many depressing and ugly words were being said about both, by people jumping to conclusions, and judging the many for the acts of a few. And in this case the few after all information released so far, was neither. According to witnesses, he was a tall, blond Norwegian man.

My heart is filled with sadness today. It feels like it’s breaking. I feel helpless and weak.

But I find strength in this picture. Even through the fearful and hostile eyes he must have met today from people judging out of uneducated fear, he was among the first ones there.

Not to harm anyone. But to help.

Downpour

It’s raining again.

It’s been raining for days, or weeks… or months. I’m not sure anymore. It’s every day, and remembering the last day the sun shone undisturbed becomes a trickier challenge by the minute.

I like rain. It has a its values. I like sitting outside, hearing the drumming on the roof. The sound as it crashes against the leaves. Watching how the continuing fall washes away the mountains on the other side of the fjord. From one second to the next the horizon comes and goes. Like waves in an angry ocean I see their contours as everything becomes a haze.

The sounds are different. Where on days with gentle rain I can hear all the different denizens of the forest conversing with each other, they all go silent when the heavy clouds build up and release. I wonder if they are, like me, sitting under cover. Just watching as the drops washes away the previous day, making room for the next. Watch the ever growing rivers and waterfalls carve new paths where before there was solid ground.

Their sounds fascinate me. Not too long ago I recorded a good 30 minutes of it. Mostly rain, but listening back you can easily hear how as soon as the rain gives way, the voices come back. One at first, then another, and yet another. As if they’re telling each other that it is safe to come out.

I like rain, it’s alive and ever changing. I wish it would take a small break from it’s duty now though. I’m feeling a slight surge of inspiration again, but I’m not so sure I want to risk destroying anything by working during a thunderstorm.

Unplugged it is.

 

Reasoning

For quite some time now I have struggled to even consider working on songs. I have found all kinds of reasons for it. Excuse after excuse. Lack of equipment that can get the job done. Lack of time. Lack of a decent workspace. Various negative mood states.

It’s pretty much dawned on me that this is all false. I have everything I need. In fact, I have things that would probably make a lot of aspiring musicians envious. I have all those sounds I longed for years ago. I have the tools.

But I don’t have any love for it. I write, and I work, and all I can think of is all the other things I would rather be doing. Or no, that’s not it. When I’m not working I’m not really doing anything worthwhile anymore. There might be tedious work that needs to be done in order to provide for myself, but this is in no way in the category of “things I’d rather be doing”. The truth is, working on music has become a chore. I can’t build up any motivation for it anymore. I haven’t produced anything in a long time, and I’m slowly realizing that I just don’t enjoy it anymore, and that is the reason. I’d rather sit around doing nothing, than recording another song.

Am I able to create things? Yes, I am. But I don’t enjoy the process anymore. The thought of playing the guitar fills me with disgust. I don’t like my music anymore, and I can’t for the life of me understand why anyone else would either. Come to think of it, I hardly like any music anymore. I prefer silence. I might turn something on out of old habit, but I quickly turn it off again.

I haven’t found the lasting motivation to work on this over periods of time for what must be years now.

Maybe it’s a phase, I don’t know. I have hardly anything in my life that I care about anymore, so this could be influenced by that.

Sometimes I wish I had never started, it would have saved me a lot of headaches.

Encouragement

I’m listening to something I just wrote, but I’m having this weird sensation that I sometimes get. Sometimes, when a melody just “clicks” I start to wonder if it clicks too much and it has possibly been used before by someone else that I just can’t remember.

I’m having that very sensation right now. The sound of it just works really well. Muted guitars rumbling under strings and pianos. It sounds refreshing. Like it could go places.

It’s one of those time when inspiration just hits. Like you have the entire idea in your head before you even start. Like all of it is already completed.

I like those. I work on impulse, I don’t plan, and I don’t like planning either. I’ve never agreed to any kind of tutor who says you need to reiterate and reiterate, and then reiterate some more. I don’t sketch and plan and make sure I know what I’m doing before I do it. That robs the value of the experience. Creating as you explore is the whole point for me, and the first idea tends to be the best.

I’ve received quite a bit of positive feedback lately. I’ve been away from this so long that I had almost forgotten how that feels. It’s hard to describe in words. Every single person who says something encouraging fuels me and makes me feel like there is a point in doing this. I started out writing songs just for myself, and I still do since writing for any other reason probably wouldn’t lead to the greatest results, but hearing what people have to say about it makes me want to do it more.

I try to reply to everyone, but it’s difficult. I want to say something different every time so you’ll all know I’ve seen your words and taken them to heart. But I don’t have to say “thank you” many times before I feel like I repeat myself.

My responses might seem cut and paste at times, but my emotional reaction is not.

I am very grateful for every word.

Confidence

Confidence

I suffer from a lack of confidence.

It is something that has always been there to shed doubts on what I’m doing when I’m right in the middle of doing it. And this lack of confidence trancends any compliment I might recieve.

This goes back to when I was young and would sit and draw. People would compliment me on pretty much anything I did, and this bothered me to the point of almost upsetting me and thinking less of them.

Why couldn’t they see that this wasn’t really that good? All I ever saw were the things that needed improving, the things that weren’t quite right. And until I got them right, there was no use in saying it was any good.

I have now written, or rather, I’m now in the middle of writing two songs. Two very different songs that I feel both capture well both what The Dead Birds is, and what I am. Which all in all is pretty much the same, but there are still facets of me that doesn’t end up in the music.

The problem I face now is the problem I’m now starting to remember that I always face when I’m at this stage.

Doubt.

Severe doubt.

I’m starting to not be so sure wether or not the songs that a couple of days ago sounded fantastic, are any good. It’s like the initial rush has settled. I’m at the point where I listen and listen and listen, and I get so lost in the listening that I have no idea how to progress.

Should I add vocals or not? And if I do, what should they be?

I don’t think in words when it comes to music, I think i melodies, and this almost always ensures that words and voices are the last thing to end up in a song.

I think I need to step away for a few days to get some distance and try again with fresh ears.

Guitar blog image

It is almost a bizarre feeling to be sitting here again. I’ve been so consumed by this thing called life for so long that the parts of me that truly matter have all but withered away.

But here I sit. The room would for all eyes but mine be the very definition of chaos. Cables have turned the wooden floors into a tangled jungle of black lines painting it’s odd shapes. Guitar picks lie scattered, various effect producing equipment force their way up between the neverending stream of cables, and to the side my trusted guitar stands proud, no longer gathering dust.

I wish I had shown him more love these past few years.

I carve a space to sit down, amongst notebooks and scattered pieces of paper containing unintelligible sketches of ideas that might some day come to fruition.

Not having done this for so long makes me feel like I’ve aged in all the wrong ways.

But now I sit here, eyes tired and fixed on the notes playing out before me. Until I lie my head back and close my eyes.

This is where I belong, and I’ve missed it dearly. If these sounds are not allowed to escape me so they can form living entities, I am nothing.

Never stop creating.

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