You know the ones – when your mind simply will not focus, and everything you feel like saying is best summarized by that 4-bar phrase from the song that passes through your head, just long enough to create an impression and then disappear, before a different one from a different song, takes its place. On those nights, I feel scattered.
And tonight is one of those nights.
I am sitting on the studio floor; no, make that the sofa, and then, occasionally the stuffed chair in the corner – most comfortable – using a makeshift ottoman (an office chair that swivels uncontrollably under the weight of my legs as I continually reposition them to shift my weight.)
There are over two dozen CDs on the floor next to the sofa and the player. I used to be sitting in the office next door, but after 14 hours in there, I’ve relocated everything to – a different room; because I just won’t stop yet. The stacks around me grow more chaotic, as the surfeit of my wandering musical attention seeks company with Freeform (“Prowl”), Sun Electric (“Kitchen”), Bisk (“Time”), David Toop (both in the literary and audio realms, as my copy of “Ocean Of Sound” sits as reference beside the CD Screen Ceremonies, which hasn’t left my bedside since 1995. Later, I explain to my girl that it’s the only disc I’ve established an on-demand rest-response to; conditioned during my recovery from a bout of surgery, and under the drowsy influence of Percocet some years ago.)
As my thoughts race, somehow some of them still make their way into the Olympus MP3 dictaphone, which stores individual files of my musical ideas, business meeting notes, and my occasional verbal diarrhea. At one point, I record a monologue of uninterrupted thought, about the frustrations of being one half of a business, and I use up 18 solid minutes without taking a breath. Nearby, my copy of the All-Music Guide To Electronica gets a repeated flicking-through as one name or sound bite conjures up another, and these references become a roadmap to tonight’s musical journey.
Today I realize that I have become a glutton for music ephemera, while I cut, copy and paste paragraphs like these, adjusting my thoughts onscreen, and attempt to grasp the symbiotic space of creation – where harmony of word and mind become one. Tonight, this impression never actually does come, but so many new ideas do so along the way, and all of these get noted down in its place.
My reference piles up higher; quickly I add my copy of the Designers Republic book 3D->2D and Kim Hiorthoy’s manifesto, Tree Weekend. I am inspired by sheer abstraction, and some of life’s more complex responsibilities evaporate, or at least, fade just slightly while I’m in this space.
* * * * *
I am repeatedly distracted by the silence coming from my studio; if I could clone myself now, I’d also be in there finishing up Mousse, the track which was borne in the wee hours of last night when I attempted to record a mere 2-bar riff – within minutes, what I had begun had descended into musical chaos, an amalgam of nine unmixed layers of Rhythm Factory. This logistical nightmare, employing a range of three keyboard sounds and several happy accidents — I found I’d left the track’s record-mode in overdub instead of replace) so I know that I have a lot of cleaning up to do.
This absorbs into my conflict, over which I exercise restraint of judgment, because I know that all will come to fruition, but only when the time is right.
There are some nights, when I am scattered like this. Many of them. And when I get up in the morning, everything gets put right again, before another day begins.