Cleaning Out the Musical Mindspace, Or How Dumeh Still Isn’t Done

ANOTHER LONG INTRO TO AN ESTABLISHED NOTION

Making music is a way for me to express myself. It combines the somewhat mechanical method of constructing something new out of existing parts, but it also allows me to emotionally imbue something in a symbolic way. When words fail to properly display how I’m feeling, creating structured sound sometimes does the trick.

However, a lot of the time composition just feels like a way to keep the OCD demons away. I have a tendency to cycle between CREATION and CONSUMPTION. When the cycle hits CREATION, usually brought on by prolonged exposure to something creative (my own or someone else’s), I get a bit preoccupied with making something new, be it a website or a song or even just reorganizing an existing thing. Borderline obsession can be observed in many cases. All events and interactions not associated with creation can become bothersome and annoying. It’s nothing personal — I’m just born this way. OMG, did I just reference Lady Gaga? I think that’s a first in anything I’ve ever written ever.

Ahem.

The creative surge usually sees me staring at OS X’s Finder, going over folders and files, poring over existing assets to refresh myself with the past. I have a habit of “repackaging” old songs in new ways (taking singles and putting them into albums, removing certain songs from old albums because I now think they don’t belong or weren’t up to par). Since all of my “finished” stuff is still largely in what you could call permanent beta (none of it is published in an official manner), it affords me the liberty of playing the Ministry of Truth and altering whatever I wanted to be then to be what I want now. It’s a dangerous proclivity because it theoretically never ends, but I can’t help it. One way I’ve staved off the itch is to move all archived/in-process projects to an external hard drive so that I can’t (easily) endlessly fool with them, leaving only rendered projects (MP3s) on the local HD to listen to, but not actually edit.

THE POINT (I.E. TL;DR)

All this is to say that I think, after doing several big projects last year and taken several months off, I might be ready to get back on the musical horse (colt-rane?). I’ve digested my last couple projects (Gamey Mixture and The Matic) and am ready for something new. By new, I’m being figurative. My next project is to actually finish an old project never quite completed called Dumeh. What’s Dumeh? It’s my hyper-pretentious opus. Yeah, it’s me being all “I can make a three-part symphony!” and, uh, trying to make a three-part symphony. It’s existed in some form for too many years already, but I have neither had a) a real orchestra to play it or b) sufficiently awesome samples to render it.

Since having a real orchestra play it was probably never going to happen, several demos using lower-quality samples or just a single guitar have been made, but none feel official. Of all the things I’ve created, I think it’s the only one to have had not one, but two musician friends play/remix it in some way. That’s pretty sweet, and it is the kind of support that makes me think that it’s worth finishing to the point of being capital-D Done, archived away, and ultimate happy thoughts derived from.

Well, I purchased Native Instruments’ Komplete 7 Elements, as well as some extra Session Strings samples, and I aim to employ them in a reimagining of the piece. I think I might tweak the actual piece a bit, too, since it could probably use some updating. There’s just one problem: it’s probably the most complex piece in Logic I’ve ever tried to make. Record producers would most likely scoff at that claim, as they produce stuff with 99 tracks all day long, but Dumeh‘s 20 or so tracks, rife with virtual instruments and effects aplenty, is enough to bring my 4 year-old Mac to its knees frequently. Without freezing every single track save for the one I’m editing at the moment, it’s kind of a pain to work on.

THE REAL POINT I SWEAR (I.E. TL;DRTL;DR)

I wish I had a better Mac. One with an actual graphics card. One with more than 2 GB of RAM. One…with frickin’ laser bea…uh, wait. No.

New computers can be expensive. I could go refurb, of course, but it’d still be some non-chumpinated amount of cash money. Until I can save up the requisite amount of dollars, I may still try to piecemeal update Dumeh. I doubt it will get done anytime soon, but it’s my project for the year. I plan to finish it one way or another by the end of 2011. Replete with accurate traditional sheet music that could conceivably be played by an orchestra if that ever happens.

Plans have a way of unraveling, so I don’t put much stock in this one coming to fruition judging by the years and years that have gone by without a finished Dumeh. Still, you gotta try.

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