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Category: music

Rethinking creative process

Over the last few months i’ve been practicing guitar at least 5 times a week, in an effort to regain the abilities I lost by neglecting to play or compose music the last ten years or so. It’s been exciting to see how fast it can come back by simply practicing consistently and challenging myself. What i’d really like to do is get back in shape enough to start writing music again—and I’m pretty close. As i was writing in my journal the other day, it occurred to me that what i was thinking about in terms of my creative process for writing music hadn’t evolved in twenty years (which is the last period of time I was writing regularly). I just expect the inspiration to strike and whatever comes out to work or not work.

I’ve learned a lot about making things and harnessing my creativity in the last twenty years, and I’m excited to apply what i’ve learned to music writing for the first time. In every other creative discipline i’ve actively pursued, my process has evolved to include a lot of research and planning and more formal iterative processes.

Right now, I’m just at the beginning. Instead of jumping in on a new song, I’m taking some time to listen to the songs that move me the most, and observe what i like best about them. I’m writing sketches and short ideas without judgement and without diving into them deeper to force them into a song. I’m laying the groundwork, and it’s fun.

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mix: twenty from eighteen

From 2004 to 2008 it was my habit to make a compilation of the twenty best songs I heard first during that year. After nearly ten years off, the music I heard in 2018 inspired me enough to put the work into making a new mix. This year, rather than linking each mp3 individually I’ve decided to present it as a single mp3 (link removed in 2020, contact me if you’d like a copy).

As i was whittling the list down from about 80 contenders, I noticed that lyrics played a big role in what made the cut. 2018 has been a rough year for me, full of change and hardships as well as personal leaps. Nearly all of these songs are ones that resonated with my emotional landscape in some way, and I find every one of these songs sonically engaging. The track-list below includes my favorite lyric from each song.

I hope you’ll download and listen and tell me what you think.

Listen to “twenty from eighteen” on spotify

1. The Man Who Has Everything – Chance the Rapper
“please, man, we need some freeze pops”

2. Need A Little Time – Courtney Barnett
“I’m sorry that I lost my patience. you deserve better, It’s true”

3. The Return – Logic
“And all that superficial shit you love I’m just not into”

4. everything (feat. The-Dream & Kanye West) – Nas
“See cause you’ve never been the same as anyone else, don’t think the same as everyone else”

5. Lifting You – Michael Blume
“You gotta trust your insides, you gotta fuck with your own shine”

6. These Days – Manwolves
“I am getting so tough, but it’s getting so rough”

7. Loading Zones – Kurt Vile
“Cause I walk the beat like I’m the mayor of some god-forsaken town”

8. Thinking About Leaving – Mooneye
“I’ve seen it all before my eyes”

9. C’est La Vie No.2 – Phosphorescent
“I don’t wait up for days for your voice to answer to me no more.”

10. Fall Apart – Scott Orr
“I still feel like i did when we were just starting out”

11. If The Car Beside You Moves Ahead – James Blake
“as much as it feels as though (as though) your dead (dead)”

12. Fly – Low
“I don’t know, and I don’t mind”

13. Cómo Me Quieres – Khruangbin

14. Quand on arrive en ville – Fhin
“On prend tout c’qu’on peut prend en attendant, Quand on arrive en”

15. Nanã – Polo & Pan

16. What the Hell – So Percussion

17. Pay No Mind – Beach House
“Not dumber just a little bit older”

18. Gonna Love Me – Teyana Taylor
“I’m sorry if I made you feel less than you are”

19. Parking Lot – Anderson .Paak
“Alone in my own thoughts, enough is enough”

20. Reborn – KIDS SEE GHOSTS
“Had so much on mind, i didn’t know where to go”

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Fixing up the old Fernandes

I picked up this guitar off craigslist some time ago, and then it sat in storage for awhile. As I am getting back into a regular practice, i thought it would be a good idea to re-string, fix, and polish up the axe. Got it hanging up in my room now and it looks pretty!

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