March 26, 2019

8.00 am: A communion, followed by an assault on my inbox. One of the insidious downsides of social-media platforms is their capacity to distract. We can fritter away our time on matters that don’t require a great deal of brain power to understand, and are easy to implement, ephemeral, and often incidental. As a consequence, our capacity to focus upon things of substance, consequence, and necessity is compromised. Moreover, our periods of intense concentration get shorter and shorter. Intellectually, we are like marathon runners who take pit-stops every few hundred yards. Such a habit will not cultivate fortitude and endurance. It’s not so much that we require distractions. Rather, distraction itself has become an addiction. (Further grumpy ruminations on the vices of technological hindrances can be read in my blog: ‘One-to-One-to-Many‘.)

I sensed that I was moving towards a further significant review and overhaul of the disciplines of body, mind, spirit, and heart. The exercise has often accompanied the end of one major project and the contemplation of the next.

9.00 am: A morning of multitasking (which is a form of forked-foci) at homebase, centred on mixing, postgraduate admin, forthcoming interviews and assessments, and a prevarication regarding my university email account’s password. I’ve only recently learned to remember the present one; now I’m forced to change it.

‘God Breathed’ was the focus of my attention at the outset of a glorious Spring morning. There were a number of frequencies in the 2.5–4kHz range that grated upon the ear. I’m not against unpleasant noise; some sound artists make a virtue of them. But, like plants growing in inappropriate places, they’re weeds in the garden of this composition.

On compromise (creative and otherwise):
What I want
What I’m presented with
What I accept

11.15 am: ‘The Lesser Light’ and ‘God Breathed’ are sister pieces. The former has a more metallic, rasping, and agitated complexion. In this composition, harsh noise has a function. I rested and played a composition by the abstract turntableist Maria Chavez, from her SoundCloud site. I find it helpful to expose myself to work that, while very different from my own in intent, construction, and sonority, has certain shared concerns with regard to technology and procedure. She is fundamentally an improviser, whereas I’m a composer.

Keeping up the pace. 12.00 pm: I listened again to the ‘All Scripture’ composition that I’d rejected. My editorial decision was confirmed. It’s good (but only good, and ‘only good’ isn’t good enough), and not appropriate for the CD album. Outtakes have their own merit: they can serve to illuminate why the other works were included, define the quality bar, and suggest directions for future exploration.

For ten minutes, I lay on my back on the floor of the studio in a patch of sunlight against the radiator. My face was warmed by both. I’d like to die with the sun in my eyes.

After lunch, I commenced an afternoon of MA fine art tutorials, beginning at the School and moving on to the Old College.

On my return, to my amazement, I managed to change my account password first time. (Gratitude and amazement, all in one.) 4.45 pm: The final tutorial of the day. 5.30 pm: Homeward.

7.30 pm: I began writing up my notes following my examination of the PhD Fine Art thesis over the weekend (with Joni Mitchell in the background).

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March 27, 2019

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