I recently got an email with some positive feedback around my third album, Messy’s Pace. It resurfaced a very specific memory around this album and Burning Man, which in an alternate reality would be taking place right now.
Back in 2005, I made 500 CDs of my brand new album (Messy’s Pace) to give out at Burning Man. Late in the week, I gifted it to someone who had an art car with a huge sound system. This was a moment I had fantasized about ever since I decided to make the CDs. I would finally hear one of my tunes at full volume. I was elated.
They started blasting the first track. It starts with a very percussive and abrasive kick. It wasn’t pleasant sounding at high volume. The captain immediately turned the system way down. I felt the impact of this moment in a powerfully negative way.
I felt like I had made a huge mistake when I constructed that song, which then triggered all sorts of insecurities I had about my new album. I had a panic attack that night when I was going to bed. In my tent, lying awake, feeling deep regret, thinking I should have taken more time to finish the album. Wishing I had done things differently. A rough sleepless night, unable to let go.
The impact of that moment stayed with me. The beginning moments of every album have been gentle ever since (albums 4 - 8). I’m still easily able to revisit that deep feeling of shame, but also observe it from my 44 year old self. It’s a reminder of the powerful emotional stories and worlds I create for myself.
Honestly, I feel good about Messy’s Pace now. It holds up, 15 years later. A little bit of it makes me cringe, but it feels so appropriate for where I was at then. I really began to find my voice as general fuzz in that album. It was the first time I collaborated with musician friends. It’s trippy and melodic and different from the kind of music I was hearing in ‘05 - it was the kind of music I wanted to hear. Red Balloon and Sliding Forward are my favorites.
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