Happy 2017, everyone.
I came here by way of the Disquiet Junto and I'm glad to be spending lots of time (mostly lurking) here. As a non-modular/-monome person who dislikes forums, I'm quietly learning a lot and really glad that the vibe here isn't full of snark, trolling and shitposting.
2016 was a good year for me on the creative front.
After contributing sporadically to the Disquiet Junto over the last few years with long fallow periods inbetween, 2016 picked up and I was happy to take part in a lot of fun and rewarding projects.
I really do love the format:
“Here are your instructions, constraints and timeline: GO!”
I can plug into that process easily because we did the same in my art/design school days- a lot of the strongest work happened when we had to bang something out in a short time period within a set of restrictions, rather than spend too much time overthinking like with a term or thesis project. Plus there are lots of thoughtful, attentive listeners in the Junto who contribute constructive feedback-- kind of like artskool again, but actually productive! (If you've ever had to sit through endless crits, you'll know what I mean.)
The Junto was really really helpful in terms of keeping the creative flow going and opening up certain channels… There were some weeks where I would start working on a project and it would go off in a totally different direction and become another piece on its own, and I ended up with folders full of ideas that I could go back into later. Big thanks to Marc @disquiet and all involved. It really is a great springboard, as it puts the onus on you to finish a track, or at least have a presentable rough sketch that you can fine-tune later, and I find it's really good for clearing out the cobwebs whenever I'm feeling blocked.
Another good point was meeting Joshua a.k.a. @endurance, a fellow Canadian here in Nara, Japan who makes drone and ambient music. We gaijin/foreigners are already rare here but to meet someone who also digs on and creates leftfield/experimental sound stuff in the same small city is pretty remarkable, especially considering we kept passing each other like ships in the night for the better part of the 5 years that I've lived here. We even worked part-time at the same company for a short while but on different days! Go figure. He makes good work, released a bunch of cassettes in 2016 and I want to pass on big thanks to him for his encouragement and some good jams as well.
On the subject of cassettes, I released my debut tape along with a compilation track on Metaphysical Circuits, so I'm really happy about that! I also have a track on a compilation SD card put out by Niceshopsu in Osaka. A year of firsts!
In terms of live performance, I learned that I'm not ready nor confident enough yet. Occasional casual improv drones with Endurance on bar nights have been fun but the one time I tried playing solo live this year I think I went down in flames because I just wasn't ready--- not enough presentable material and no workable live set-up at the time, since all of my recorded work is either jammed out and then picked apart and assembled with tweezers at home or else it takes half an hour of noodling before I can get my toys (Volcas, pedals) to a point where I like what they’re doing. Plus, nerves seem to get the better of me every time! I remember that shaky-hands sinking feeling from theatre class in high school to playing in a band way back when. Heck, even thinking of playing live makes me feel like I'm gonna have an ulcer or acid reflux -which is odd, because DJing -which I also did a bunch of times this year- is always fun and I find the stress part of it exhilarating. Stand-up comics always talk about how you need to bomb, especially those first few times, in order to strengthen your act. Perspective. The rest of the night was full of really good performances, and I’m honoured to have shared the stage with H Takahashi, 7FO, Overscan, ootsusan and Bastian Void/Joe Bastardo.
Also- My wife and I finally hit IKEA and organised the spare room and I moved my workspace up off the tatami mats and onto a desk. I finally have a battle station to work at and it's much easier on this old man's back!
Re: 2017--I'll save that for the "Goals" thread!