New music! Subscriber only 12 minute track that wanders through a fair few way points on its journey 🙂 head to stevelawson.bandcamp.com/subscribe to hear it if you're already subscribed or to find out more if you're not (the link is also in my bio if you… instagr.am/p/CSwJB4vs7AD/
er...what @andylong said. My wife has just asked me to put the Haydn back on, so I'll give it a proper listen after lunch
I have to say this is my least favourite track you've released. I'm wanting to fill my ears with boiling wax but I'll add it to CoC.
Ah that's really interesting. Don't add it to CoC then! Feel free to leave it to one side... One of the freedoms of the subscription model is the space to make music that's broader in spectrum than any one person's taste... I'm more than happy for you to ignore it :)
I like the bass noodle, the back beat is dull & the hi-hat is making my skin crawl. Sorry to be blunt but it wasn't your best idea
the skin crawl thing is definitely one end of the possible range of experience I heard in there! I listened it to quite a few times before deciding that it was worth putting out, that 'incessant' has two very different meanings and some people definitely be at the negative end!
Your curatorial role in understanding what I do, along with @MikeKSmith, is embedded more deeply in how all of this stuff can be recontextualised. The compilations you've put together tell a particular and really satisfying story about what I do, both by inclusion and omission...
which is what makes this the most satisfying possible conversation about someone hating a thing that I made! To have a genuine tension and obligation-free conversation about what works and what doesn't for a listener as familiar with my work as you are is an extraordinary gift :)
Well I did include some drum based songs in those selections, purely for balance but yes I do veer away from those.
ahhh, this is so interesting - see what @derrwood wrote about it here: stevelawson.bandcamp.com/album/skitter - the sense that it soundtracks his unease is definitely the counter weight to your experience of it...
I'm with DM on the HH and Kick+Snare parts. If you had taken the drum loop, sliced it and glitched it up I might have been down with that. Even if you had taken a HH part, sliced it and glitched it, it might have been more my bag.
I'm honoured but I can only respond as a listener, not as the creator or performer so there will be limits to what that opinion is worth.
You and @andylong represent a particular and deeply useful perspective on what I do, coming from a position where instrumental skill is highly valued within the music. The drum stuff veers well away from that. @MikeKSmith's take on it is a critique from an electronic aesthetic..
I don't suppose you have a version without the backbeat? Or stems of everything? I feel a remix coming on...
I've go the creator bit covered, it's the listener perspective that's useful, especially when it's informed by 20 years of engagement with the entire body of work...
I certainly see that as valid & tbh on another day I might feel the same way but not today
sadly not, the current set up just records stereo - there's no loop breakout version, cos I'm still waiting for @moddevices to add both the @looperlative plugins and support for USB multichannel audio :)
Try again tomorrow, DM. If it's possible for you to tune out the HH, there's some nice stuff going on.
what I enjoy about your perspective Mike is that you come to it with an expectation of the kind of complexity that is possible with the glitch tools/Ableton that you use. As one end of the 'how far can solo live unedited improv go?' question, it's a useful one to have in my head!
there'll be way more music with this set up for sure... we'll see what happens. I got a new bass a couple of days ago that sounds SO different from anything else I own, so there'll be some other stuff happening too. But I've still got a PhD to finish as well 😂
& that's sadly how it sounds. You are the master of your bass but the drum machine feels merely a toy you're playing with.
Ah. But you need to see what Dan Derks does with the Norns + Grid + Cheat Codes. Live glitch. youtube.com/watch?v=dNlWIG…
Srsly - can you record the chord progression and send me stems? It's a lovely progression and the tone is BEA-UTIFUL
We really need to do a remote collab like that at some point... Let's revisit it in Sept/Oct, cos I think it would be super-rewarding!
I like this a lot - the interesting progression for me is integration aspects of glitch aesthetic into the rest of what I do and steering it away from anything with a click that's defining the subdivision of everything else, and all operable live while playing :)
Ha! More like an MikeKSmith / Solobasssteve collab with Ambient washes, bass chords and wibbles. With or without drum glitchiness... Frankly, who knows... ;-)
Right. This video was what inspired my tweet last night about Norns and community scripts. The depth of functionality that's available is mind-blowing. And it seems that Dan is a A1+ collaborator.
As a rule, I don't react well to critique of the 'you know what you should do...' type or 'I don't like this because you don't meet the expectations created by ****'. the subscriber community, & you 3 in particular combine an internal knowledge about the body of work with taste..
so I don't feel like I'm be undermined, or like someone is telling me what to do, or even like I've let you down by making music you don't like…it all REALLY helps me understand what I'm up to in a way I imagine an extremely well functioning producer/artist relationship would
When @jazzshark was co-producing Behind Every Word, her feedback was always 'there's a better version of this that's closer to what I can hear you trying to do' - because she understood that what 'works' or doesn't was internally referenced not external and she knew my work well
she knew that It didn't need to be more like someone else, it needed to be more like what I was aiming for. I recently found multple versions of the track Behind Every Word, which went through SO many versions. All single take/live but each one with me leaning on her guidance...
My critique brings my own choices about what I like to hear... I have NO background in listening to the hip-hop influences you have. I'm coming more from ambient and glitchy electronica, so... yeah.
In the collabs I've done I have created / sent stems which the other person has used as the basis of a track. I get little say (I don't need it) in the form of the final track, because that's the deal. Similarly when my collaborators have sent me stuff.
which I think is where the dialectic of incessant(good) vs incessant(bad) comes from - glitch is about constant transformation, hip hop has a component that's about rhythm being hypnotic, and glitch being baked in to the internal logic of the piece, rather than a transformation…
...but that's the beauty of it. I listen to a bunch of stems and then go "AHA! THAT'S the one that I can do something with..." I would never presume to tell you what to do (I think I tried that ONCE back in the 90s)...
I usually hesitate in giving negative feedback because Steve knows where he's going & if I don't want to go there, that's my problem, not his but on this occasion he had expressed doubt about releasing it. It felt like he wanted the conversation to push the idea forward.
but often I listen to your music and think "Wow, now THERE'S a sound / stem / progression that I could do something with." But often it's buried and impossible for me to extract to remix. Not that I haven't tried... ;-)
😂 I think this is what we're getting to here - that 'right' to expect music to do what we want it to do is inherent to the producer/consumer model of music-under-capitalism. The notion of the subscribers as a Community Of Practice removes much of that willful entitlement
To my ears the HH and kick / snare could have used a little automation on the envelope / filter / something to keep the interest up... There's incessant, there's insistent and then there's INCESSANT.
but removing the entitlement frees me up to learn from the collective knowledge within the community, & for it to be gathered together without the need for a constant flow of nostalgia about the cultural primacy of old work. There's a cumulative aspect to the knowledge gathering
but that knowledge gathering HAS to have room for dissent and negative reaction, hence me sometimes framing specific work as 'in progress' - relinquishing any sense that I have the only valid take on what this stuff is and whether it works... And I learn new stuff EVERY time.
There are a number of LFO-based controls inside the DuoX, assignable to any parameter, so maybe I look at possible filters there. Thanks :)
Here's the thing: will this feedback influence future tunes? Because you know: user feedback is vital for product development. You can take this as a UX feedback session.
It absolutely influences it - because I long ago let go of the idea that music ever exists without an imagined audience - the range of reactions from subscribers becomes the parameters that define the field I work in. The breadth of permission relies on there being limits :)
I have a number of things that influence what I'm doing at any one time, and both the subscriber invitation to experiment and the sense that I don't want to just dump a bunch of experimental half-ideas on the community is really freeing. It gives a vitality to the process...
But it also gives me a set of opinions and responses against which to justify (internally) choices that go beyond those. On Cabinet Of Curiosities, I mention in the sleeve notes that there's something there for everyone to dislike, because I'm aware of the lines I'm crossing...
You have the choice. Release finished works which we either love or don't
release unfinished work & ask for opinions.
Personally I prefer the former but I'm glad you feel confident enough for the latter
So rather than being constrained by 'Ah, better not do drums cos Andy and Tom prefer music without it' I think 'if I'm going to do this, it needs to be purposeful and have value and I need to have a reason. to release it beyond the simpler transaction of 'give em what they want'
I think in the response we get to wrestle with the idea of anything being 'finished' - the invitation to share an opinion on anything I've done is open to all subscribers, & nothing is ever re-made so is 'finished' in the sense that new work happens that incorporates the response
Far better that way. You aren't writing music for me, this is about your voice & I'm delighted to support that
There's a lovely Paddy McAlloon interview with @sodajerker where he talks about the listener finishing the song. For him, I imagine that's mostly about the meaning of the lyrics, but for me the music absolutely lives beyond its point of release and is constructed by the community
As a Crim fan, you'll have seen the degree of entitlement that fandoms of that degree often express over what they see as music 'for them'-'the customer knows'. What you're expressing is a familial care & the gift of attention that's pretty much the opposite of aggressive fandom
of course the joy of this conversation is that it'll all reignite later on when @andylong finishes playing trains and adds his own snark to it all ;)
Be grateful you're not like Haydn who had to write 17 CDs worth of Baryton Trios at a time when they'd gone out of fashion, just because his employer wanted them
There are so many different ways that the meaning is expressed - lots of people reference Grace And Gratitude as a significant album for them. But there are others that have had a consensus in the response on Bandcamp via reviews or subscriber discussion, & some that are ignored
I know many artists say that songs evolve between writing / studio / performance. But since you do all three only once, they don’t really EVOLVE, right?
Thanks to the way Twitter threads things, it'll take a bit of digging, but the conversation that spun off from this tweet with a few of my Bandcamp subscribers is a fascinating look at where the value in this model is for me. THIS is the community of practice my PhD is all about.
That gets to the heart of what's happening here - it's not about the existence of any one 'product', the story of the response to any one piece of music is woven into the fabric of the music after it, into how I understand what I just did and what I'm about to do...
each track yes, but each track is informed by an unfolding aesthetic/vocabularly/tech environment that has continuity - so the whole thing is more episodic than perhaps the bandcamp framing of 'albums' and 'singles' would indicate.
it's another of the dialectics at work - product vs episode. Each track is completely fixed and self contained, a document of a moment, of that amount of focused music making. But it also connects back and forward, so you get to hear old ideas reappear and new stuff emerge...
“Community of practice” suggests that WE’RE also creating your tunes. Which we’re NOT. But in another way, that’s the point. In a weird way through this conversation we ARE….
which is another set of constraints: the familiar vs the willfully novel. I don't want to constantly retread old ground, but I also really like what I've done & want to build on it. The acknowledgement that the core essence of my solo musical journey has remained intact since '99
exactly, and that's the contribution to knowledge - theorising 'non-playing' audience expertise as a significant contribution to the creative process, within the context of a community that accumulates knowledge and expertise and familiarity that is shared.
en masse, the subscriber community embodies more knowledge about the work I've created than I have. I don't think any one individual possesses that (though Tom prob comes close ;) ) but collectively, you know more about what I've done than I do. THAT'S the community of practice
The songs may not evolve but I've always thought of Steve's music as snapshots of a journey. Postcards from along the way
this discussion has been IMMENSELY useful today. I'm supposed to be writing my PhD, and it took a while before I realised that I have been ;) (just in case @paulthompson81 is reading ;) )
It’s like the conversations I have at conferences over coffee… They’re WAY better than the didactic presentations…
For those interested, here's an archive of the conversation about my new subscriber release, with a few of my subscribers - particularly useful if you're wondering whether or not there's a point where artistic critique becomes valid, earned and useful exquisitetweets.com/collection/sol…
I did have a little listen on the train on the way home, using a device we likes to call 'yurphones' (I wasn't driving at the time). My initial verdict is that it was..... alright.... quite enjoyed it as it happens. Still not a big fan of the drum loops though.
Get the cutlery drawer and throw the contents down the stairs. Sample it, loop it...
Sorry. Picking the scab off this conversation...
If I sent a track with drums like that to communities I'm in, I'd get some raised eyebrows for sure. Most electronic production folks would tell me that it needs more work.
I mean, my drum programming is not worth a thing - my Tayus album and most recent album DO NOT FEATURE DRUMS for that reason. But I think that may also be because I know in my head what I want the sound to be, but can't achieve that easily. Or I'm too lazy to micro-edit.
Also there are many styles - from Daft Punk to Max Cooper... My taste is nearer Max Cooper's end of things...
For sure - as is more obvious from the wonky stuff, I actively avoid the aesthetics of most electronica even while skirting round the sonic pallette, so I'd expect considerable pushback from anyone judging it through that lens. It definitely fails as electronica 😂
That has always been a tension in your music for me: it’s inflected by ambient sounds, but as you say avoiding the electronica aesthetic…
Definitely - I think knowing how you react to hearing the conspicuous interacting of two musicians vs the construction of real time looped parts that can be manipulated and responded to but don't represent a performative impulse in anything like the way the bass does is v useful
Not wanting to continually explain (apologise for?) that tension is another huge advantage of the subscription context 🙂
Skitter - @solobasssteve
A second listen to dig a little deeper. Whilst I can see the whats and whys, the how of this track still disappoints. Those drum loops are still annoying me and distracting from some excellent noodling
I suppose my thought is @solobasssteve shouldn't give up on drum programming but I'd like him to refine his technique a bit more to the point that it matches his mastery of the bass
Morning Chris. I try to be but don't like posting negative criticism. This was a follow up to a long discussion yesterday and I'd promised to give the piece another listen. Second time through was a more coherent experience but also confirmed my original thoughts