Less to show for FAWM than I hoped this week, but I do have three ideas in progress that I’m going to revisit. Two of them felt like pulling teeth, but the third idea’s first cut came down cleanly. Seems like I need to have a piano keyboard in front of me to write effectively. Riptide was demoed on piano before being arranged. Being reminded where my fluency lies isn’t a bad thing.
I have been listening to some classic albums, old favorites of mine, that I haven’t listened to in years.
Relationship of Command – At the Drive-in
I miss being in a rock band and having access to a rehearsal room. I watched the Rick Beato’s What Makes This Song Great for One Armed Scissor. The key thing is vibe. It’s just the band rocking out in the studio. And it’s great! It doesn’t matter that the guitars are out of tune. The performance is just fantastic.
Their performance on Later… with Jools Holland is immensely chaotic. By the end of the song, Omar’s thrown his guitar away. And then they’re followed by by Robbie Williams. The video seems to have been purged from the web, but you can see a screen grab of Robbie’s face here.
The Downward Spiral – Nine Inch Nails
The Needle Drop did a classic album review of it recently. So I went back for a relisten. It is so detailed and textured, there are so many different sounds. I just marvel at the ability to I create that with 1994 gear. As Anthony points out, that Closer got club play is a feat of balancing the weirdness with production slick.
When the Pawn… – Fiona Apple
I can’t remember the last time I listened to this. Nice to reminded recently. A lot more laid back than the other two. The lyrics touch on some dark topics, but with a personable vulnerable tone. The albums also has the longest full title of any I know:
When the Pawn Hits the Conflicts He Thinks Like a King What He Knows Throws the Blows When He Goes to the Fight and He’ll Win the Whole Thing ‘fore He Enters the Ring There’s No Body to Batter When Your Mind Is Your Might So When You Go Solo, You Hold Your Own Hand and Remember That Depth Is the Greatest of Heights and If You Know Where You Stand, Then You Know Where to Land and If You Fall It Won’t Matter, Cuz You’ll Know That You’re Right
It feels like last chewed me up and spat me out. It’s not been the best past couple of weeks. I’ve spent way more time than expected battling a configuration change that would not die. But, along the way I learned a few things.
February Album Writing Month didn’t get much progress until the weekend either. But, I practice some productive procrastination. I’m trialing a different note taking approach, and I’ve started collecting song ideas. The FAWM forum has been some help there. I did manage to get a couple quick ideas down.
AWS Lambdas using Docker Containers
AWS have recently added support for Docker containers in Lambda. But the web is pretty sparse on information about these things. There’s some official documentation, which seems to be missing a couple of bits. And that’s about it. Searching “docker lambda” gets you how to run the AWS CLI from Docker, which is not what I’m looking for.
One of the sources of confusion is the difference between ROLLBACK_COMPLETE and UPDATE_ROLLBACK_COMPLETE when creating a Cloudformation Stack. With the latter, you can just retry. But if you have an error with the initial setup call the Stack ends up in a bad state and it needs to get cleaned up. These commands can clean it up.
JDO posted a couple blog posts on the writing process recently. One saying a book needs 70 ideas. Just collect them. And when you have the core of the book, you can write an investigative draft. Which is non-linear and impressionistic, but something you can edit and rewrite from.
I’ve posted two tracks for FAWM so far, and the first felt like pulling teeth. But a few hours coming up with ideas (and borrowing them from the forum), I’m looking forward to trying out a few things.
Three tracks in one month. What a wild ride. Three tracks brought to you by a time box and peer accountability. I’m amazed at the number of hours that I managed to find. A few too many ready-meals and too much evening screen-time, though.
Now the time sprint is over, there’s flood of ideas that have returned. After final submission last Tuesday I’ve, put the tools down and let the divergent thinking back in. I’ve picked up a book I was putting off.
I pre-committed myself to doing February Album Writing Month again. When I did I hadn’t expected to spent so much focused time in January. It’s very much a how you play is what you win scenario. The first year I had zero expectations, and hit the 14 things target. Some were instrumentals and some were only lyrics. Last year, I tried towards a coherent album and flamed out. I have pages of notes, but mixing ideation and editing really stifled me.
This year, I’m still ruminating on what a personal metric of success is. Ultimately, something that keeps me creating in March. I’ve learnt how much of my process is in an “I hate this” or “I don’t know where this is going” phase. It’s a lot. Yet, I can push through all the way to something shareable, if I put the time in.
And that’s the crux; putting the time in, regularly. And, working towards finishing a specific song. My meta-goal for FAWM is process, and I’ll hang out in the community while I’m at it.
Of course, I spent my downtime reading about working styles. Which if I keep it up is a failure mode all on its own. So, I’ll spare you details this week, but Andy Matuschak’s thoughts on satisfaction and progress, and ratcheting habits are relevant here.
Writing three tracks to a releasable standard has been an intense month. And the pressure of having not-terrible lyrics for the third track has been a time drain. Much thoughts, but after the final submission for peer feedback tomorrow.