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
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 :)
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 :)
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..
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 😂
Ah. But you need to see what Dan Derks does with the Norns + Grid + Cheat Codes. Live glitch. youtube.com/watch?v=dNlWIG…
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 :)
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.
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…
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.
😂 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.
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...
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
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
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
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...
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
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 ;) )
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.
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 😂
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
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
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