Tag Archives: Music

CDs and Burgers

I’ve been buying a lot of CDs lately.  (For some more thoughts on physical versus digital media, see The Great Physical/Electronic Media Disparity.)

Having the physical products reminds me how much I enjoy having the album artwork and liner notes available.  At times, they don’t seem like they matter, but other times it makes it feel like a more complete product.  Plus, it’s a chance to show off cool artwork, and I’m a fan of that.

It also reminds me of my high school years.  I got a job at McDonald’s when I turned 16.  Steady pay and zero bills meant I had a lot of expendable cash that I spent on food, music, and video games.  My friend Rob and I would usually hit the mall:  Burger King (I wasn’t a vegetarian yet), then the arcades and CD stores.  This was mid-late 90s, so digital players (indeed, even the formats, really) hadn’t caught on yet or become widely available.

It always felt good to come home with new music.  A new disc was a prize.

I hated (and still hate) those stickers on the edges of the jewel cases, though. Frustrating.

Looking back, though, my knowledge of music and bands was so much more narrow than it was now.  The only way I found out about bands was MTV (remember when they played music?) and friends.  Or if an album cover / back looked particularly interesting and I took it home with me. A thought just now: how crazy is it that CDs don’t even have any text on the back?  Even paperback books have a little blurb about the story.  Why is there no text on the back of a CD?  Something to say what it’s about?  I’m still in the process of writing and recording a few different albums.  I’ll make a point to put something on the back in the event that the physical product is the first thing a person comes in contact with.

Nowdays, I can’t imagine trying to find new music without all the reviews, lists, recommendations, and song previews on Amazon and other sites like it.  Only now is the back text perhaps unnecessary.

I suppose the internet is every CD’s back text.

On Self-Promotion

What seems to be a fundamental truth is that the people who create things aren’t always the best person to spread the word about it.  There’s a fair amount of tooting-one’s-own-horn involved.  I’m trying to get better at it, and to remind myself that it is necessary. And not necessarily evil.

At the risk of sounding like every productivity coach / marketer / SEO-whatever / social media-whatever / self-help author out there, I’m going to blog about it here anyways.

I’ve begun asking myself:  “What did I do today to promote myself / my work?” It’s a simple question that accomplishes a few different things:

  • It ensures I’m always moving forward and keeping a critical eye on myself.
  • It reminds me that creating something is only one step: stories are better with readers, music is better with listeners. The feedback helps me get better and helps recharge my oomph batteries.
  • It also reminds me to be reasonable.  Just like stories are written one word at a time, journeys are one step at a time, and buildings are built one brick at a time, nothing happens overnight.  It takes long, continuous effort in small discrete steps to accomplish anything.
  • It ensures I don’t overwhelm myself by trying to do everything at once.

Because I like keeping track of things, I thought for a moment about writing it down each day, but then chucked the idea aside.  I have enough work to do as it is.

By trying to do one thing each day, I hope I’m laying seeds that will grow into something more: more readers, more exposure, more (hopefully) fans of my work.

And since we never know which way things are going to go, hopefully it will lead to future events / contacts / projects that I can’t even imagine at the moment.

Code Name: Hammers



“Hammers” is the code name I’ve given to a piano project I’ve been lugging around in my head since around 1999 or so.  All the pieces are in various states of done-ness.  It’s time to change that.

Began recording tonight on a piece that’s written completely.  That’s always nice.

The way I see this project shaping up is a lot of piano + cello duets.  I love both of the instruments and so it only seems right to pair them up.  Some of these pieces might end up being solo piano works, but I hope that I can bring something more to them by adding interplay with the cello.  It’ll also be a good way to learn more about composition without getting too crazy complicated.

So for tonight, I’ll just say that I’ve knocked the dust off of the piece and made some test recordings to get me started.

That seems progress enough for now.  What’s import is that the wheels are in motion.

The Secret To Productivity Is In The Code Names

Now that Norton’s Ghost is out, I feel free to turn my attention to other projects.  In this case, music.

Norton’s Ghost sat around in various stages of work after I finished it, and so too has the music I’ve written over the years.  It’s time to change that.

The secret to productivity, I think, is all in the code names.  I’ll be blogging about my various projects here under their respective code names.  This will hopefully allow me to keep track of my progress and perhaps interest people in them at the same time.

At the very least, hopefully I won’t look like such a slacker if I can keep steady progress updates.

You’ll notice a new menu item at the top of the screen:  Music.

It has begun.