Been thinking about the single-of-the-month approach. I’ve made new material available this way since April, one fully-mastered hi-fi track at a time, with the occasional pause for an album-length release. And I really like it.
The 7th of every month is my day. (If you’re reading this because you give a shit, then let’s call it our day!) I can keep music steadily rolling out while working at my usual deliberate pace behind the scenes. Costs stay down because I’m not biting off entire albums at once. And every new track becomes important because each is featured for an entire month. It’s good. I feel like all the model needs is some fine-tuning.
First of all, I’m gonna start folding Sevendys tracks into the process. I think it’s confusing and distracting to say I’m gonna bring out one thing every month on such and such a day, but then go ahead and release additional tracks at random. Whenever a Sevendys track is ready, it’ll come out simultaneously on my music site and the Sevendys site on the 7th of the month.
Also, I still like albums. I like to think of songs as belonging with a collection of other contextually appropriate songs, best enjoyed together and offered in an optional physical format which might enhance the listening experience even further. Every single I’ve released since April has been, in my mind, lifted from an album to come.
I’m going to meet the process halfway on this one. Going forward, I’m going to define “album” a little differently than I have been: no longer so much an aggregate of component songs as it is a container for songs.
For example, I have ten songs that I’ve been working on which, in my opinion, will sound great together as an album I’ve decided to call Failing Upwards. Four of them are mixed and ready to go; six are still being polished. I am slowly filling up the Failing Upwards bucket with finished tracks. When the bucket is full, you get the whole thing at once with a physical version offered. Prior to that, the tracks arrive as completed, one at a time, mixed in with other singles-of-the-month which are slowly filling other buckets.
So I kind of no longer make albums; I make music buckets.
I’ve already been doing this in a way with the Green Plaid Recordings. I bring those out as they happen and kind of sneak them up onto that page. If I can make one sound better after it’s been put online, I’ll just replace it. There’s no real plan for that stuff; I don’t even know how much of it there actually is. But eventually all of the appropriate material will be there, and it will sound as good as my crack team of engineers can make it sound, and then I’ll consider that bucket full and get you a nicely mastered digital version and an interesting physical version.
I can tell you that right now I am working to fill quite a few buckets, with the goal of completing at least one a year. These include, but are not limited to: three solo buckets, the Sevendys bucket, the Green Plaid bucket, two Skyscape buckets and two Hanslick Rebellion buckets (one of which used to be the Jeebus bucket, but it’s the same exact band so we figured what the fuck). And a Rise and Shine bucket.
One more thing.
Lately I’ve been listening back to some of my mid-90s sequence-based stuff: Physics, We’re All Going To Jail!, Blowing Shit Up. A great deal of this material was written to be performed by live musicians on acoustic and analog instruments, but I didn’t have access to any of the above so it’s all programmed and recorded right out of my keyboard – everything from the drums and bass to the horns and piano. I’ve often considered going back and reworking the recordings with a band, ditching the canned sounds. In fact, the Rebellion has cut new versions of some BSU stuff, which you’ll hear eventually, and a few of the WAGTJ songs may end up getting reimagined by Sevendys because the fit is there. On the whole, though, I don’t think I’ll be doing any full-scale rebooting of these albums. While far from perfect, they kind of are what they are – raw, of their time and not without charm. I’d rather forge ahead with new material for now.