2020: “Hit record”

My New Year’s resolution is “hit record.”

Very simply: it means that I will record a lot of my musical improvisations over the course of the year. I’m aiming for twice a week give or take, but I’m not going to be precious about it. I have ideas for what might happen after that, but that part will take its course. Some of might become ideas for Volte songs. Some of it might turn into new electronic work. Some of it might feed into another project. Recording might or might not make me more focused in my improvisational practice. We’ll see. The point is to make it simple: hit record, see what happens.

Perhaps you’ve heard about Prince’s vault. He made a gazillion recordings and only released a relative few because that’s how the music business worked: you risked flooding the market if you released too much music.

Things are changing now, at least on sites like Bandcamp, where prolific musicians can release as much music as they want, and subscribers support them. Often, though not always, this is linked to a more improvisation-based musical practice. I’ve been in regular touch with a couple people who do this kind of thing–Steve Lawson and Markus Reuter–and have benefitted from lessons from each of them in 2019. I been struck by how different their approach to creative work is. It’s neither precious nor perfectionist, which describes my approach to writing but less so to music.

In 2015, my new year’s resolution was “play a stringed instrument 15 minutes a day.” It was the only resolution I’ve ever really kept and keeping it changed my life. I am now in two bands and music is a huge part of my life again. I am happier for it. It worked because it was simple and let the implications come.

After my successful November of writing I considered signing up for “Jamuary” where artists record and release a track each day. But I neither want nor need that speed of output. I don’t actually write like that (the writing does not appear immediately after composition, except here). I’m looking to develop a long-term habit here, so it’s more about setting up and using recording templates in my software, and having my music space “ready to cook” just like my writing space is (they are also now the same space, which is really nice).