The J-Balls Adventures Resume

  • The verbal switch was unexpectedly thrown on sometime a few weeks back. All the sudden he starting asking for stuff by name and tossing out the odd verb. His mastery of consonants is a long way off , and he can get frustrated when his request gets lost in translation. We all need to level up on patience, but we are accumulating experience points. I’d say he learns a new word every day. For example, I was blissfully lost in my thoughts during my morning shower, when I hear “shower”. I look down to see a smiling Jasper in his PJs. He then pointed at my shlong, and said “wang!”. Or at least thought that while he pointed.

  • General cognition is on the rise, which is leading to all sorts of new activities. Back in the day (6 months ago), the highlight of our Fairyland visit was banging on a trash can with a stick. During our last visit, he was excited by just about everything, and the giant hugging bunny freaking blew his mind.
  • Contrasting sharply with last year, Halloween was a complete success. We ran across a skilled drum group in the madness that is Russell street, and Jasper went to town. He danced with them for over 20 minutes. His joy was very infectious (much like the rotovirus that hit us a week ago).

    The absolute highlight of Halloween was when we were walking home. I pointed up in the sky and asked Jasper what the big white thing was. I watched the comprehension sweep across his face, and he excitedly pointed and yelled “Moon”. It was the first time he knew what it was, and the moment was priceless.

  • We took our first family vacation – a long weekend in Santa Cruz. Baby steps.

  • He caught a plush ball for the first time. He didn’t inherit his Daddy’s lack of coordination. I saw him climb up a curvy slide today at 20 months old. This was shortly after he sat for almost 30 minutes during an orchestra concert for children. I totally rolled the dice with that one, but was super glad we went.
  • For all my posturing about how good I felt about my album, the crash eventually occurred. I had doubts about some songs. There were some smallish spikes of depression and anger. I attempted to allowed these feeling to occur, even somewhat expanding upon them, instead of immediately throwing up defensive emotional walls. These feelings were not overwhelming, and then after a week I felt better. Receiving a handful of emails and donations helped. Last week I learned that “miles tones” ranked #9 on echoes preliminary top 10 albums for 2011. Booyeah.
  • This seems like a very transitional time for a lot of people I know, myself inclusive. There’s a lot of changes going on at work, I have a number of large scale personal projects I’d like to tackle, my wife needs watering, there’s talking children at home, etc. My personal growth is on the rise, nicely balancing my lack of physical growth.

  • There’s been a few excellent extra curricular activities as of late. I saw an awesome house concert with Garren Benfield. I’m hoping to work with him for future general fuzz releases.
  • One of the added benifits of sending out a mass email about a new album is that I always reconnect with a few people whom I’ve lost touch with. An old acquaintance of mine realized my ultimate 10 year old fantasy and built a full arcade in his house. Occasionally he opens it up to his friends, so Zack (the actual original lego manaic) and I spent a blissful evening at the happiest place on earth.


miles tones reflections

I’ve never had such a positive experience finishing up an album as I did with this one. Not setting a hard deadline for finishing the album was an excellent decision. It eliminated the element of stress from the tedious and time consuming process of finishing up the tunes (final mixes and mastering). I made loose goals along the way so I had something to aim for, but didn’t feel bad if it took longer to achieve these goals. My free time has diminished greatly from my pre-fatherhood days, so I really wanted to make working on tunes a fun outlet as much as possible.

My drive to promote my music has greatly diminished. I used to spend a lot of time sending out cds and emails to outlets for consideration. I very rarely got any response. It can be fun to share my work with other people, but its also a labor intensive process with a lot of rejection along the way. At this point, a decade in, my music has found some of its audience. There are people who care about it, and that’s pretty sustaining to me. Of course I hope my audience continues to organically grow.

My favorite part of making music is when ideas are flowing well and starting to coming together. It’s not when I’ve finished a track / album. It took 6 or 7 years, but I did eventually learn that it’s really more about the journey then the destination.

I pour myself into these songs. It takes more time then I care to admit. The tracks on this album took many different directions before they were finished. There was a ton of content that was written and removed. Many times I had to remind myself  that trying things that don’t work out is not a waste of time.

All I used to create these songs was my computer, a mixer, two MIDI controllers, a mic, and speakers at slightly uneven heights (and a LOT of software). My recording room is completely untreated, with a tile floor, glass windows, several bikes, and a couple large plastic baby toys that need to be passed along. The recordings always sounded good enough to me. Thank goodness there are tools like RX and Melodyne to clean up my recordings though. I did outsource the some of tricky instrument recording though – thanks very much to the internet + skype.

In the past three years I’ve become aware of what an amateur I am at producing, mixing, and mastering music. I’ve attended workshops with Carmen Rizzo and Rena Jones. I have learned that there is a huge amount of knowledge that I’m lacking. They all have very strong opinions over what gear and software you should use, how to treat your audio, and to never self master your music. If you listen to one my tracks and then of their tracks, you can hear the difference. I don’t think of this as a failure on my part – I just know that there is a lot more to learn, and that later in life I hope to learn more about my craft.

I’ve been making music as general fuzz for over a decade now. I no longer feel the burning need to prove to myself that I can make an album. I also have no intentions to stop creating music. General fuzz has become such an important part of my identity. I hope to create music for the rest of my life, and in theory, I have a lot of time left. I do need to try vary the course some though. I’ve got to try working in different styles and collaborating with different people, so that I can grow as a musician. I need to also take breaks from music, and allow some time for inspiration and motivation to brew.

Releasing an album is very exciting for a number of reasons. One aspect that I have only become aware of recently is that it acts as snapshot of my life. I can now listen to my previous releases and remember what was going on at that time. It’s also something concrete which represents a step forward in my path as a musician.

Most importantly, I’m proud of what I made. So far I have no regrets about the album, which was my ultimate goal. I felt that way after “soulful filling”, and I learned that it was worth aiming for.

Also, this moment brought everything into alignment.