Waking the General

One of the major fears I grappled with during Stina’s pregnancy was that my musical self would become seriously diminished. Now, on the other side of the baby fence, I’m relieved to find the fuzz fire still burning. While life is certainly fuller, its not going to be a Herculean effort to carve out time to make sweet love to my keyboard.

I’m in an interesting place with my music. I have 10-11 songs in my pocket – some finished, some on their way. Instead of kicking into high gear trying to finish up the album, I’m attempting to soak in the satisfaction of being flush with songs. In the last few years, I finally realized it’s more about journey then the destination, and the journey is a lot more fun when it has clear direction.

I’ve also been working on a secondary album – one that will be a bit of a departure from my previous releases. I’ve been working on some far more aggressive songs. It’s been super fun to crank the speakers and rock out. I’ve always had a love affair with quality aggressive music – Metallica,  Audioslave, the Crystal Method, etc. These new songs will most likely alienate my core audience – so I’ll need to strategize how to release it. One idea is to release it under a different pseudonym, but it seems a shame not to capitalize any fan base that I’ve built.

My fourth album, Cool Aberrations, spanned from super mellow to some somewhat uptempo. Like all my previous albums, it was really just a snap shot of all the songs that I had been working on at the time. After releasing Cool Aberrations, I decided that I wanted my next album to set a chill vibe and maintain it. Its amazing, and frankly surprising, to say two years after I released Soulful Filling that I still have no regrets about it. It came out exactly the way I wanted it to. I can’t say that about any of my previous releases. I doubt I’ll say that about my next one, but it’s a nice goal to have.

In the past two years I’ve also written a couple of fun mid tempo tunes. So I’m trying to determine whether I should put these tracks on my next album (like I did in albums 1-4) or spin off yet another album of mostly midtempo tracks. I go back and forth on this. It’s a little stressful for to think about, so I’m trying to coax the decision to be more playful then stressful. Should an album be a snapshot of my current work, or should I continue to try and maintain a vibe? I’m not sure. This next album won’t be as consistent as Soulful Filling regardless of my decision. That’s fine. It’ll take a listener on a fine melodic journey.

Another thing I’m also considering is changing my tag line. Currently, its “lush melodic instrumental electronica”. While that’s as succinct a way I can describe my music, its not very targeted. I’ve discovered that my fan base is largely comprised of folks who enjoy new age music/lifestyle, which is kinda funny since thats not my bag anymore. I certainly listened to a fair bit of new age music when I was a teenager, but that was 20 years ago.  Anyhow, I was thinking of trying to capitalize on that fact, and change the tag to something like “new age 2.0”. I was originally thinking “new age evolved”, but Stina thought that sounded condescending to new age music. Anyhow, it’s just another idea to kick around as the album coalesces.

Recently, I’ve seen a bunch of studios of artists that I admire. They are all chock full of synths, analog tape machines, and other electronic music gear. I get by quite nicely with a computer, two midi controllers,  and a mic. Here’s a picture of my studio in our east bay house. The posters extend all the way around the room. It’s a little ironic that I’m such a live music fan yet I produce and compose very precise electronic music.

Anyhow, I’m definitely interested in any feedback you might have on album composition or tagline ideas. . . .


Micha » 13 Jul 2010 » Reply

Considered “newer age”? “brand-spanking-new age”? “so fresh its bloody new age”? “raw and nasty age”? Maybe still condescending…

Patrick » 14 Jul 2010 » Reply

How about “Now Age”? Also, I suggest spin off a new album. Why is it either /or? Your core fans will like it or not and have an opportunity to decide. They can get the “snapshot” or the “vibe” depending on taste. Just my 2 cents. I love your stuff, by the way. Turned quite a few friends on to it.

    generalfuzz » 14 Jul 2010 » Reply

    Thats a very interesting idea. I could create create multiple albums. Which then spurred the idea of creating some additional alternate albums – an acoustic one, a “best of” (since I’ll eventually have 6+ albums), a super mellow one, etc.

Steve » 14 Jul 2010 » Reply

Do you consider your music new age? If not, I’d steer clear of the label, or even a riff on the label. It’s great that new age folks dig it, but is there a need to cater to them in your tag line? Seems like the tag should represent you and your music, not who listens to it.

On the multiple album question – as a fiction student, you always are told to make decisions. You can’t write a 1000 page book and expect someone to read it. Cut back cut back cut back, and find the essential 300 pages worth of material that will really blow the socks off your reader. Or put another way – the 1000 page version you write only for yourself, the 300 page version you write for everyone else. I wonder if there is a parallel with multiple albums versus one blow your socks off set of songs. Dont know, just a thought.

Thanks for sharing, I’ve been loving throwing on the Fuzz from time to time.

    generalfuzz » 14 Jul 2010 » Reply

    I’m not sure if I consider my music new age. One of my favorite reviews was what reminded me that new age music was my roots. It basically said that my music was the evolution of new age music – hence the “new age evolved” tagline.

    As much as this project is something I do for the love of it, it would be really nice to expand my audience. I’m hoping to create a tagline thats a little more “sticky” Something that would make random people a little more inclined to check out my stuff. Obviously “new age” isn’t something that is universally liked, but someone who already enjoys new age music would probably enjoy my music as well. I’m totally open to other suggestions for taglines – ones that have nothing to do with new age music.

Jason » 28 Jul 2010 » Reply

My opinion: release the album however you want and don’t worry about alienating anyone. I think staying fresh is more important than worrying about a small group of people who might get pissed off.

Also love your stuff. Messy’s Pace is my favorite (not sure why I keep wanting to say Messy’s Place). Great set of tunes. ‘Smiling Perspective’ is my favorite off that one….fab song but everything is good on there. Love the electric piano all over the songs. Just great stuff.

Neil » 1 Aug 2010 » Reply

lush melodic new age? Not sure if that accomplishes the goal, but I hate to lose “lush melodic” from the tag since I believe it so accurately describes the most refined feature of your art.

anyway, anxiously looking forward to hearing your coming album(s). take care, father fuzz

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