Sound Fascination!

blue sonar
Creative Commons License photo credit: TheAlieness GiselaGiardino²³

Creativity is a peculiar word. It’s a noun, and its basic meaning is something like ‘the capacity or tendency to be creative’ – that is, it’s directly related to the adjective ‘creative’, as applied to people or actions. So we’re given to understand that what we’re talking about is a quality – and therefore, that people who are creative are inherently and/or always creative, and that they do creative things. But the reality is that many people who are quite capable of doing creative things (i.e. everyone) actually spend a lot of time not doing them. Witness, for example, myself.

I have called myself a composer for quite a few years now. Not because that word is a perfect fit for what I do (when I do it) but because I’m not aware of a better one. I have made a bunch of original music, which didn’t exist before I made it and afterwards did, and I guess that process is called composition. I don’t have any kind of ‘legitimate’ training in composition per se, but I do have a fair amount of knowledge about how to put notes and rhythms and textures and ideas together (some of it even acquired in a formal educational context!). Does this make me a composer? I’m not exactly sure. Does it make me creative? That I can answer: no, it doesn’t. Why not? Because I haven’t done much of it at all for a long time now.

Creativity, in my mind, should refer more to the verb than to the adjective. That is to say, I’m more interested in creating than I am in ‘being creative’. But I cannot say I’ve done a lot of the former over the last while – at least not in the realm of music, which is after all my home turf. So I’ve determined that it’s time I started walking the talk again…

This is a journey into sound…

All this is by way of introducing a new project (starting new projects is something I’m really good at!), called: Sound Fascination. Subtitled ‘A journal of sound explorations, improvisations and other adventures’, it’s the first new musical work I’ve undertaken, aside from a couple of for-hire pieces, in quite some time. The goal is to create and release a new piece of music every day, or at least most days.

Of course, this is a bit insane, so I should clarify that there is some method to my madness…

First, these are intended as sketches, not finished masterpieces. The idea is to start something every day, or almost every day, and spend a little time on it – ideally not more than an hour – and get it to a point where it has some shape and a few ideas roughed in and someone can listen to it and get the idea. I may pick some of them up and develop them further later on, or use them as the foundation for other experiments.

Second, on a more philosophical level, I’m trying to put into practice something I’ve believed in for a long time, which is that a great deal of the creative process can be summed up in three very powerful words: Dare To Suck.

This doesn’t mean you want to suck, but you have to be ready to risk it. Be prepared to do something that isn’t brilliant, accept the possibility (well the certainty actually) that some people might think your work isn’t particularly good, or interesting, or valuable. In fact, there’s a good chance that you yourself might not think everything you do is brilliant – actually, it’s probably a bad sign if you do. Some things are going to work better than others. You need to be OK with that, and start things anyway.

details, details…

I’ll be writing some more about that in the next little while, as this new project takes shape… there are more details about the process and the sounds and so on over at the main project site (and on a few satellites here and there) – if what I’ve said here catches your interest, head on over and check it out!

Here’s a teaser to whet your appetite!

Oh, and the name? Well, fascination is another big part of my model of the creative process – once you get over the Dare To Suck resistance, get in and get your hands dirty, you have to be open to becoming fascinated by what emerges from the process. Fascination is what drives us to go further into things, find out where they go… So that’s basically what I’m trying to do with this new project. Start with my pre-existing fascination with sound, put it into a format that encourages me to get something started every day, and let things take their course.

And focus on the verb, not the adjective!

As always, I’d be more than happy to hear your thoughts, just use the comment zone below…