Thoughts on Arranging

Consistency in creative efforts requires the gradual and disciplined build-up of habits that make you do certain actions on a consistent basis. By doing something every day, you are somehow able to invite creativity in your life daily. Recently I’ve been trying to learn new things in terms of music creation in order to expand and improve.

I’ve been working specifically on arranging and how to turn your regular 8-bar loop into a full-fledged song. The more I dive into it, the more I realize that many people (including myself) can get stuck in the 8-bar loop. Coming up with strategies to overcome this is crucial. Through my own experience, and the suggestion of more experienced producers, I realized that the key to this is making your 8 bar loop as full and complete as possible. With this complete 8 bar loop you can now create a big “block” of sound by repeating this sequence for the duration you’d like. Go ahead and copy paste this 8 bar loop until you hit the 6 minute mark.

8 Bar Loop

From there, you can do “subtractive” arranging. “You are like a sculptor chopping away at the woodblock to create a work of art.” Thomas Hoffknecht mentions this in his masterclass. I can relate this to an assemblage artist: finding small fragments of materials as they come to the shore of your “mind”, then you put it together to form an entirely new piece.

8 bar loop, extended to 6 mins in length

This was enlightening as it organizes the creative process by making the artist/producer focus on one thing at a time. The production and “raw material gathering” is where one deals with recording a performance, sound design, programming, and etc. (Steve Roach compares this to the shooting phase in making a film) After one is able to shoot interesting “scenes” and you have all the footage you need, you can proceed to editing the film. Going back to music – arranging.

Sound sculpture

I’m hoping this will translate to more finished works.

Everyday Art

For many years it has been my goal to create art & music on a daily basis. To be honest, this is quite hard to attain. It is but a dream given the realities of life. There are signs though that it is possible. I’d like to share an idea of how it can be done – how you can possibly not run out of ideas.

Everyday our mind is filled with thoughts, emotions, and memories, both positive and negative. In a moment-to-moment basis these thoughts continually evolve just like how clouds in the sky continually change. Can art and music be perceived as objects or “clouds” of creativity? The blank canvas is the sky and the ever changing clouds are your potential pieces of art.

What if I could somehow take these clouds, harness them, and create a corresponding piece of art. Those creative impulses will relate to my day, to my life. I know that they will be unique because every day is different. The music or the art will have the “essence” of that particular day embedded in it.

Art as a Practice

So what I present here is somewhat of a different form of art, because there is no aim of creating a “hit” or creating a masterpiece. The aim is simply to transform raw energy, raw creative impulse, to a tangible or audible thing.

In this way, the creating becomes a practice, and thus is integrated in the person’s life. The creation becomes a mirror of life rather than a novelty which is meant to purely excite the senses.

Artimer JA
Thought Object: Systemic Pain, 2020
Colored Pencil and Pen on sketchbook paper

I’d like to encourage anyone who stumbles into this blog post to take a look at this short clip about the electronic music composer Steve Roach to see how he approaches music.