Track 40 is in the pipeline. Refreshing you on my goals, it was my intention to make at least 40 tracks this year, and I have achieved it. I’m still working on adding finishing touches, cleaning up the mix, and fixing things, but even if I die right after I hit publish on this blog post, it will still show up on Saturday at noon Arizona time in my SoundCloud with my latest mixdown, which is functionally complete.
When I started this project, I frankly thought my self-sabotaging, imposter syndrome-ridden, nearly bipolar brain would torpedo it before I got 10 tracks in. If you’ve been following along, you know that even though it was track 15, that very nearly happened in early May. I got up, dusted myself off, and got back to work. That incidentally happened during my most productive stretch where I did 7 tracks in a row. Related? I don’t think so, but I won’t discount the possibility. It wasn’t burn-out because that meltdown was earlier in that 7 week streak.
There’s been highs and lows since then, but by and large manageable. And while I’m gratified that I did hit this goal, it feels…anticlimactic? Maybe it’s because even though I’ve learned so much in this last year I’ve also learned even more clearly how much I don’t know.
Maybe it’s also because it’s no secret I’ve been chafing at my self-imposed limitations for a good part of the year. I’ve had so many ideas I wanted to chase but that “GODDAMNED seven day sprint” idea made that impractical. I’m eager to start the new year and work more in-depth on the album that comes from the “Best Of Saturday Sounds” and also to start some new projects that are less death march time bound. I know it’s okay to change your goals if they no longer align with what you hope to accomplish, but I think it was important to me to stick to this goal because if I changed it, I don’t think I would’ve learned as fast. I am MUCH better at operating Ableton Live than I was when I started that, and certainly just limited to DAW operations, I am comfortably higher up the “Slope Of Enlightenment” than in the broader “music production” sense.
I know for a fact that I’ve improved my critical ear. I hear things that I didn’t hear before, and moreover can even map those things to things I would do. “Yeah, sounds like a little boost at 2kHz, and just a hint of a room reverb”. I’ve been doing SoundGym too and I started out at around 15th percentile and now I’m at 67th percentile. Figuring out compression parameters still kicks my ass but I am getting a little better. Still tons of improvement to go there! What I listen for there sounds much more subtle to me now and I suspect the next 10th percentile will take me as much time as the first 50 did.
So, while I’ve bristled and chafed against this straitjacket I’ve put on, I think it was necessary to jump start my growth as a composer, musician, and producer.
Anyhow, come back Saturday for the big 40! I will warn you it’s pretty weird. I’ve spent most of December listening to nothing but 90s ambient electronic music, so to say that’s been a big influence is an understatement!