I feel a little bit all over the place. Some things are good and some things are bad but everything is a little overwhelming constantly. The urge to just remain still and relax and be comfortable and inactive is very real. Why don't I lay down and cease to move?
The work on the next OK Glass album has not been happening lately, mostly because I have had an abundance of work that pays me. Day job and music for other people both. But I do feel like I spend a lot of the time at my day job daydreaming about the OK Glass music, which is nice. This is how it used to be when I had non-music jobs, working at a warehouse for 12 hours sort of writing songs in my head, but then coming home and being too tired to actually do anything about it. I always thought when I switched to working primarily music/creative jobs for money it sort of changed my mindset, where I got some creative fulfillment out of the work and no longer felt the crazy push in the back of my mind constantly. But I am still at those jobs now and I still think about it.
I have so much material right now. I just have to sit down and scrape it together into songs that make sense. Giant stacks of concepts, of lyrics, of scraps of music, of theory. I think I've always done this, I remember writing songs for FAWM or whatever and wanting to include like a list of every single thought or piece of inspiration that went into the song, and then feeling like that is way too self-indulgent and nobody would want to read it. And sometimes (kind of rarely tbh) I would just take notes for myself and have a weird long file for just one song that is a pile of Thoughts that might inform the outcome of the song.
One example - I am writing this without permission, but it feels like a god tier example of the thoughts I have. My best friend was here a month ago and I would be constantly taking voice memo recordings of little songs either or both of us would make up in conversation. I don't know if this particular example is bound to be an OK Glass song or a song at all or something completely separate that the two of us do, but here we go - the melody and lyric "singing inside of your box / singing inside of your coffin."
And thinking about the little recording space I rent, a windowless 9x10 room with quite a bit of acoustic treatment and soundproofing, where someone could die inside and maybe nobody would know for days (my friend Amy actually wrote lyric "could've murdered you in a quiet place" about this room, on an album I recorded with her!). Anything can be a coffin. I work for my day job in a basement office, also windowless, even smaller than my space. Sure feels crazy to leave work at like 6:30 pm and the Sun is still out. Used to live in a radio station at college, that was a windowless basement room with sound isolating properties where it got completely pitch black.
And thinking about a coffin in a very semantic way as a Room that Isolates One Person from the rest of Society. And thinking about writing songs with my friend usually across the internet but sometimes in person too. And thinking about the isolation across distance that the internet helps overcome, but to think about singing with someone on a VOIP call and how there is lag so it's always a little bit off for one of the people, but finding the musical application or even beauty in the lag. The acknowledgment of the distance and separation, making it intentional. And I thought about songs that rely on other types of musical delay. Like this one song I wrote, Arms Of Mine. Or this absolutely incredible self-harmonizing song I Haven't Seen You In Forever by They Might Be Giants, such a thorough exploration of the musical qualities of delay. Speaking of thorough, Amy X Neuburg does this on almost every song of hers, layering and looping her voice, finding ways to leave space for herself or double up to intentionally create power or chaos. Or this absolutely beautiful moment of delay in the second verse to Inside Out by Spoon (which I've written about before) - honestly probably one of the most beautiful Studio Tricks I've ever heard.
But also thinking about Janine by Soul Coughing. What we would probably identify as the Song, what Mike Doughty plays Live, is a sort of basic sounding guitar and vocal ballad, there are some nice musical moments and beautiful lyrics in it, but it is the sort of song we have heard dozens of times by dozens of other artists. But in the recording, he had his then girlfriend go to a payphone in a park and call his answering machine and improvise a song. Starts with "Lemon Tree" by Peter, Paul and Mary but gets to meander very quickly. And when they recorded the version of Janine on the Ruby Vroom album, it starts with the answering machine message, and it weaves in and out of sync with the guitar song. I don't know exactly the chronology, which came first: the message or the song. But I thought that was a beautiful way to convey the feeling of closeness with someone who is physically distant.
This is the sort of thought process that goes into almost all of my songs. It feels good to think about but it also feels unproductive, like I am putting all this thought into it without making any actual progress. Have I written about Ze Frank here?
Sometimes it is just hard to get out of Theory Mode and into Production Mode. Sometimes it is too easy to stay in bed being cozy and enjoying thoughts. Sometimes the rest of the world or the rest of your life makes it so that it is difficult to do anything BUT that. And it is comforting to have in the brain.
I have a lot less work next week, maybe I'll be able to lock myself in my music coffin and make some sounds.