the persistence of momentum

one of the most exciting times in making music is as it's coming into being. the ideas you had are transforming before your ears. no longer sketches or vague promises of potential to live up to, you can feel it becoming a reality. a combination of the instant gratification of feeling and hearing what you're playing combined with the more esoteric sensation that comes when doing something new. something most of the world hasn't heard yet.

and in the opposite corner, its nemesis: the loss of momentum. that's a big part of what drives creativity into that special place. on the one hand, you can dream up all kinds of ideas that never get fully realized. on the other, you can spend hours playing for fun, or playing while searching fruitlessly for the right part. but when the two come together it completes a circuit in the brain and gives the work momentum.

lack of momentum is one of the biggest obstacles we've faced in working on new music, whether due to other projects, scheduling, time, sickness, personnel, or technical issues. to have that feeling of being there, or at least getting there, and then having to stop, is almost physically painful. it's like suddenly going from breathing fresh mountain air to being in a poorly-ventilated basement.

being able to work partially on a laptop helps get work done, but not in terms of momentum. in fact, it splits up the process further, into different times and places. there's only so much editing that can be done in headphones while in transit, or waiting for something else to happen. at some point it needs to move to a decent studio and involve live performers and reliable playback.

as i write this, i'm on a train. but my thoughts are elsewhere. back in the studio, with the lights low, listening to bryin's distorted beats and slicing loops while i wrench notes out of a 5-string fuzz bass. hearing the words in my head and making up melodies as i sing along. a version of a song suspended halfway between the flashpoint of inspiration and the final realization.