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It’s New Years Again …

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Well, it’s that time of year again … the time when I don’t make a New Year’s resolution.
Except this year.

First, the easiest one: Get an album produced and released in 2023. I say easiest, but the reality is that it will, in fact, be a lot of work — there’s music to compose and artwork to create and some writing to be done.

But that’s okay! I’ve given myself a year to do it! Getting it done will, in part, will hinge on the second resolution…

Get my studio, The Disaster Room, finished and working by the end of January. What started as a 1-2 month project is now finally seeing the proverbial light at the end of the tunnel, after three years. The walls are painted and the shelving is in place. I’ve got some artwork for the walls, and I’m almost done the lighting. Today, I’ll be hanging some draperies and getting a rug on the floor. The only “big thing” left is building another workstation, and I’m even well along on that!

Honestly, I’m so close now that this will also be a reasonable goal that should be easily achievable.

This video by Brandon D’Eon speaks to the third “resolution.”

That’s right. I am resolving to play the kinds of music that I want to play. Or more specifically, I’m resolving to not play the kinds of music I don’t want to play.

I’ve said before that I like almost all music, and I do enjoy listening to almost anything with the exception of opera and gangster rap. But I don’t enjoy playing it all. And, I’m simply not going to, even if it means giving up playing in 7Souls, the reasonably successful cover band I’ve been in the for the past five years.

I was just talking to a good friend of mine from another band, and I told him how I was feeling. He said he thought that sounded sad, but I was quick to say that it’s really not. These are things that happen in bands. As members leave and new member come in to replace them, there are always directional shifts. I’ve rolled with a couple of them over the course of the life of 7Souls, but there’s now a heavy push to appeal to an audience that I’m just not interested in appealing to.

And that’s okay. I’m not angry about it, or even sad. It’s a thing that happens in bands. My leaving will allow them to find someone new, probably younger, who will enjoy it and subsequently do a much better job at playing the newer material than I ever would.

The up side is that the change will free up time and resources for my original music and for the duo project I’m involved with, Shaggy ‘n’ Scooby.

Next up, come hell or high water, I’m going to be attending as many electronic music related events as I can. While I’m reasonably well involved in the electronic music community on line, I really feel that “pressing the flesh” is a huge benefit. So far, my list includes making regular visits to the Modular On The Mall events, as well as some local Synth Picnics and as many other area electronic music performances as I can. Those are reasonably local, occurring in DC and Columbia and Baltimore. I’m also determined to get to Knobcon in Chicago and the New England Synthesizer Festival in 2023.

Not all of my resolutions are related to music. I’ve also been neglecting some other interests, including photography. I really should be carrying some sort of camera with me everywhere I go, and I don’t mean the camera in my iPhone which, frankly, has been really disappointing — the camera is probably the thing I miss the most about the Google Pixel phones. But, I digress.

Phone company workers, Manhattan.
More images from this trip to NYC can be seen here.

With my father’s passing this past September, I have inherited, among other things, a Canon G7x MkII camera that he purchased very shortly before he became to ill to make use of it. It is almost as delightful a little camera as my little Fujifilm X10. It’s great for street and travel shots, as well as taking pictures of events, bands and performers. The image quality is excellent, it’s got a great little zoom lens, and the build quality is lovely. It even makes beautiful video. The only things it “misses” are no input for an external microphone, and there’s no hot shoe for a flash or attaching other accessories. It does, however, fit in a jacket pocket. I had already started to carry it sporadically, but going forward, it will be going everywhere with me (with only a very few exceptions).

I’m making a point of bringing back the YouTube channel. Right now, the plan is that it will center mostly around electronic music, and will feature live performance and “jam” streams as well as discussions about various gear, software, and techniques. And I’ll also talk about how this relates to some of the history of electronic music. And, just as all of my resolutions are not related to music, I’ll also present some videos on other topics, such as photography or technology or woodworking or model making … or whatever else comes to mind. I don’t know when the videos will start flowing again, but there won’t be much until the studio is ready. I’m not shooting anything else from the dungeon.

Camping. We will go camping, dammit! Getting away from the daily hubbub is really important to my mental health. There’s really nothing like getting out somewhere in nature and just vegging out or watching a river flow by or hiking or walking along a beach. Camping trips also provide opportunities for making photographs and music. But unlike camping trips we’ve taken over the past couple of years, this year I fully intend to actually get away, as in, not allow interruptions from work, which is really difficult when your job is, realistically, a 24/7 kind of operation now that the pandemic has taught the world that “going to work” is really unnecessary for many people — basically, if there’s cell service, people expect that you’re going to work. Well, as a rule, I ain’t doin’ that any more.

Finally, one that everyone says: eat better and get in better shape, because I’m woefully out of shape. I’m “famous” for saying things like “I’m in shape! Round is a shape!” But being as out of shape as I am at this age — pushing sixty — does not bode well for a happy and healthy old age. Heck, it doesn’t even bode well for any old age. I’ve already starting working on the eating better part, though it’s often not easy to be able to eat decent meals, especially when I’m traveling, even locally. Crappy food is easy to find and eat on the go, and relatively cheap. Better food, not so much. But, I think even staying out of McDonald’s and Burger King and Sheetz as much as possible will help a lot, even if “better” just means going to Subway.

Wow! That’s more than I thought. I guess that’s what I get for not making any resolutions for so many years. So, there you have it: as another old friend would have said, “Onward through the fog” and into what will hopefully be a happier and more productive 2023!

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