Category Archives: Uncategorized - Page 2

new tune: system

Another simple song that needs vocal. I’ve been working up a lot of material lately that is going to have some singing on it. Fortunately for me, I have suddenly come into a surplus of singers. Well, not a surplus necessarily but a pile of talented folks who want to rock out. Good for me!

Download and enjoy!

      1. System

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System by J.C. Wilson is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-Noncommercial-No Derivative Works 3.0 United States License.
Based on a work at

      2. www.othertime.com
.
Permissions beyond the scope of this license may be available at http://othertime.com.

the cover

this notebook is my scratchpad for the current 10 days project. there is more to say about this and it will be said soon. saturday, august 01, 2009 i will post the final project.

notebookcover

beware of deep thoughts and banjos

i built a banjo a few years back as a part of some really heavy duty therapy. my entire world was falling apart around me and i sought refuge in a hot garage in iowa with some hand tools and a pile of kindling. slowly but surely i fashioned it into a not-half-bad banjo. i’d never played a banjo before and come to think of it, i don’t think i have since. well, a banjo other than the one i made that is. that was back on ’05. until this week, i never put the banjo in front of a mic.

the banjo is a deliciously difficult instrument to mic for someone with no experience. it sounds hollow and like it has its own reverb. it’s weird, but i had fun. the sketch this week is a simple improvisation on the banjo filled out with a rhythm guitar and bass. don’t be afraid. there are no faux drums on this track. i’m slowly but surely learning. check out the sketch at the bottom of the post.

as for the deep thoughts, well, i sent an email to my old buddy rande today. i think it makes for a good post on where my head is creatively so here it is.

I’m thinking a lot these days. My blog post from the other week was only the tiniest tip of the iceberg. The fact is, I’m focusing a lot of effort on my creative process and what it means to be creative in this time. I’ll be honest and say for the record that I’m one of those disaster nuts. I honestly think that in 30 years we will be looking back on this as one of the hardest times since the depression. I really do feel like we’re in free fall but there’s no window for us to see how fast we’re falling or how far. In a climate like that, what does a creative act mean?

What I was getting at on the blog, and you’re just going to have to suck it up and let me know if I’m nuts, is that this is a great time to be a creative person! We have more access to more stuff than at any time in history. Look at how many paintings da Vinci actually got to spend time with. How many pieces of music did Beethoven hear (before he went deaf)? We have so much input and there are so many voices that it’s hard not to get lost in it all.

The one drawback that I find is that the more I see, the more I feel like I need to be productive. Do you know what I mean? When you see hundreds or thousands of people each doing something it feels like I should be doing enough to match all of them together. It’s not good enough to create a song a week when I’m listening to a dozen or more new tunes every day. There’s no reason for this anxiety. At least no rational one. But there it is. Leave it to the human mind to take something so positive and generate a reason to worry about it.

There is so much to learn and with the access that we have today it’s really a question of deciding what’s worth investing time in and what’s not. And that leads to the larger question of: what do you want to spend your life doing? This implies that we have to pick and choose because we only have so much time. Mortality is a buzz kill.

I spend an hour in my studio every night. Usually 8 to 9 PM. This is after bed time for the dude and during a time when Stacey is usually doing something creative on her own. It’s only an hour, but I spend all day thinking about how I’m going to use it. I often find that I’ve done what I want to do in 30 minutes because after thinking about it for so long I’m so focused that it just comes out the way that it should. That’s not to say that what I post weekly is anything more than a sketch. These certainly aren’t polished products, but they’re “done for now.”

I’m also building instruments. It is so very relaxing, making things with my hands. I wish I had started sooner so that I could have built up more skill by now. Not that I need to be good at it, but it’d be nice. I generally work on that stuff on the weekends or do the odds and ends that are possible with a small boy running around the room or on my lap. It’s so very satisfying to have a tangible end product. That it feeds into what I’m doing in my other creative time is just a bonus.

What am I trying to say here? There are a million directions and I have chosen two for now. And there has never been a better time for doing either of them, I think.

Where is your head? Where is your process? What kind of time are you investing in your work?

And if I may be so bold, what’s your current creative goal? Do you have an end game? Because that’s where I am really stuck. I know I want to build my idea of The Guitar. I also know that I want to release at least one collection of new songs before the end of the year. But that’s all I know and it’s really vague. Or it feels vague.

that ends rather abruptly but the questions i pose to my buddy are valid for anyone who is creating today. where are you headed? what are you getting done?

today’s sketch: sketch-24-mar-2009

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sketch 24 mar 2009 by j.c. wilson is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-Noncommercial-No Derivative Works 3.0 United States License.
Based on a work at www.othertime.com.
Permissions beyond the scope of this license may be available at http://othertime.com.

some blues

when there’s no power and the heat settles in, it’s time for the blues. 

i think i sat and noodled with this tune the entire time my job was off due to not having electricity or access to our building.  it’s simple and feels good under the fingers.  it’s the sort of song you can play forever just to let the mind drift a little bit, like a steel string meditation.  after all, in that kind of heat and with that kind of stress, it’s important to let it go.

if you like it, let me know.

      1. ike's blues

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ike’s blues by j.c. wilson is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-Noncommercial-No Derivative Works 3.0 United States License.
Based on a work at
      2. www.othertime.com
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Permissions beyond the scope of this license may be available at http://othertime.com.

post hurricane music update

hurricane ike wrecked my mojo for a bit.  10 days without power really doesn’t do much for a laptop based studio.  or any studio for that matter.  i did manage to do some writing so that the latest project will have at least two hurricane blues tunes.  that seem appropriate, right?

in any case, i managed to get some rough mixing done on my latest track “moments before.”  it’s a very rough mix with me on dobro, guitar and bass.  i really like this tune.  i can listen to it on a loop for a long time before i get tired of it.  like my other mixes, this is temporary and i’m sure that there will be a pile of tweaks.  but we’ll just run with this for now.

what does the future hold?  a lot of time in the studio recording.  i have two more tracks to rework and then the two hurricane sketches to get down.  there is no way i will ever make my self-imposed, completely arbitrary deadline of october 3rd that i set way back in june or something silly like that.  though it was nothing that i was holding myself to i can’t say that i’m not a touch disapointed.  right now i want to see the whole thing wrapped up before the end of the year, but music is funny.  it’s done when it’s done and not one minute before.  i’m happy to be along for the ride.

i’m working on some thought pieces about various aspects of composing in the early 21st century.  there are some simple critiques of tools and a lot of what i’m thinking about is how the tools we use shape the music that we create.  it only makes sense that if you have a hammer and chisel you’ll make one kind of art and if you have a paintbrush you’ll make another.  my argument is more along the line of a clarinet vs. a marimba but you get my drift.  you can watch this space for musings along those lines.

also of note is the fact that i am in a blog update challenge with my buddy kevlar to have an update by thursday of every week.  i’m hoping that it’s yet another way of keeping myself honest and on track.  and speaking of tracks…

here is my latest mix from “my reasons”:  moments before

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moments before by j.c. wilson is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-Noncommercial-No Derivative Works 3.0 United States License.
Based on a work at

      1. www.othertime.com
.
Permissions beyond the scope of this license may be available at http://othertime.com.