Category Archives: compositional exercises

Sketch the Third

A bit late this round, but I was done with it more than on time. Life gets in the way of the blog from time to time. I like where these sketches are going, but it’s going to take time to get them fleshed out. We shall see.

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Quartet 03 – 23-Jan-2012 by J.C. Wilson is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial-ShareAlike 3.0 Unported License.
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      1. www.othertime.com
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Permissions beyond the scope of this license may be available at http://othertime.com.

Sketch the Second

So here is this week’s fare. Things are picking up and these sketches are unfolding nicely. I don’t want to jinx it, but I might have a year’s worth of material before the end of March. That would be nice. Very nice.

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Quartet 02 – 15-Jan-2012 by J.C. Wilson is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial-ShareAlike 3.0 Unported License.
Based on a work at

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

Sketch The First

Way, way back in the olden times of the ’90s, I was in school and twice a week I met with my classmates in our composition seminar. We showed whatever we had done in the past few days. There was no real judgement. We explained what we were trying to do and then, when we were in a good place for it, asked for feedback. It was a rough time when things weren’t coming along, but when I was deep into sweating out a piece, there was nothing better. So I’m going back to my roots.

Each week I am going to post whatever it was I did that week whether or not it’s “done” or “good” or even “listenable.”

This week, I was working with several guitar tracks to create a texture unlike the project I just finished up with cloxco. I don’t know where this falls, but I think that it is the opening to a larger piece. More on that as it goes along.

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Quartet 01 – 08-Jan-2012 by J.C. Wilson is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial-ShareAlike 3.0 Unported License.
Based on a work at www.othertime.com.
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writing

So I was wrong yesterday. I didn’t recording anything. I left the computer alone and did some writing. With a pen a paper, that is. When I was a student I often wrote things out before I picked up an instrument. In fact, I had a very strict rule when composing for the guitar that I would never have the instrument in my hand when writing for it because I didn’t want my fingers pushing me around. There are some shapes that are too comfortable and some great sounds to be had when (my) technique is pushed. When I moved back to the steel string guitar, I left some of that discipline behind because my approach is more improvisational with that instrument. It’s funny that I’d never thought about it that way until last night.

Life needs balance and as such I decided to try it the old way. I’m rusty, but it felt pretty good to force myself into it. The old muscles are there, if a little weak from lack of use. I’ll see how it sounds in my next session. Maybe it will provide the spark that I need right now.

something shiny

Casting about for a new project makes for a moody guy in my case. It’s easy when there’s a plan. But what do you do when inspiration hasn’t dropped in lately? Pressfield and dozens of others tell us to show up. And they’re right. You never know when it will strike and you definitely want to be in the room when it does. I’m also making headway by tying my work to a place. Being sure that I’m physically in my studio ensures that even if I’m not making obvious progress, I’m putting in the time. There’s an association between the work and the place. I don’t think people realize how powerful that can be. We know it when it comes to jobs. When you’re at work you’re “at work.” Why should that be different for other things? It isn’t.

I’m still honoring my commitment to write down five things that I have done each day. Going into my studio always generates a point for that list. Sometimes more than one. This is great for general motivation. My current lack of direction could easily have led to a week off and I have to be honest and credit my wife’s TV show being on last night for putting me into the physical space. That simple pressure (I hate the theme music on her show…and yes, I’ve long accepted the fact that I’m a freak) coupled with my need to have five things for my notebook put me into the room physically. But once I was in there, good things happened despite the absence of a plan.

As it turns out, getting results is pretty easy when you show up. The hard part is finding the mechanisms that ensure you do.

back to tunes

finally, another new song. one night in the studio this week was all i could pull off for many reasons. sometimes, life just gets in the way. and that’s OK. more ambient weirdness. that’s all i have time to say. a bigger post will be out next tuesday as i return to the topic of creativity and production. how on earth do we get stuff done when we don’t do it for a living but rather because we live.

sketch-06-may-2009

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sketch-06-may-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.