the deep end
kamimono. reflections. creation.

josh saddler
date: Jul. 23rd, 2012 @ 11:48 pm
subject: day 366: reflection
visible: Public
tags: creative.thing


self portrait. quick sketch with 3H pencil.

* * *

one year of doing something creative, artistic, every single day, finished. (it's a leap year -- thus the extra day.)

a review is appropriate, though i don't know where to begin. so much has happened. i know where to end, though, so that's coming.

beginnings

this whole thing began when my wife and i got back from our vacation in new mexico. i recorded a piano improvisation, and that led to two straight weeks of music recordings. (most of those tracks would turn into my first album, Ghost i/o.) during the first week, i realized that i could continue making little bits of art, one thing every day. and so . . . i added it to my daily routine.

over the last several years, i've come to be a very all-or-nothing person. i either go in strong, or i don't go at all. there's little room for leeway. this is a blessing and a detriment at times, but it's how i tackled this project. with this constant internal pressure, i set out to create a variety of things.

i knew that i wanted to make a lot of different kinds of art. primarily music -- i still wish i'd made more tunes -- but also painting, drawing, videos, poetry, writing, coding...anything and everything.

i tended to focus on creating a finished product. other folks who've done a one-a-day have learned about process over results, but that's a lesson that i never took to heart. i threw everything i could into getting something finished by midnight, if only so that i would have an interesting project to document. again, pressure. self-imposed.

i haven't done exact counts, nor examined finished vs. incomplete pieces, but i did something like 100+ songs, 12 videos, 3 albums, 2 poems, 1 short story, and 280+ pieces of visual art. clearly, my numbers are off, since that doesn't add up to the 366 actual days of work, but still. i'm surprised by just how much i did, whether traditional art or something a bit exotic, like coding or website design.

highlights

each album. the process behind creating and performing bit rain. skytower. hyperfine. too many to list.

disappointments

not everything i made was good art. often, if i was pressed for time, i'd just take a picture in the afternoon and work on it that evening, transforming, altering, and mangling it. not always; sometimes there were technical difficulties that necessitated abandoning original plans. often there were software glitches when i was trying to write, record, and upload music or videos.

overall, i'm not happy with the ratio of pieces that thrill me to pieces that make me wince. i could have done better. and yes, i was learning the whole time, about my own internal and external process and abilities/limitations, and about how to make certain kinds of art in the first place, but still. were i to do another year, i'd have to push myself more.

i wish i'd attempted more physically challenging projects. made stuff with my hands, whether out of clay, wood, metal, etc. mechanical projects. i lack the tools and the workspace for many of the things i thought of, so i had to settle for something else.

i shouldn't have just settled so much, shouldn't have made compromises for the sake of time. should have planned ahead more each day, maintained more iron self control and willpower to push through and make something amazing, each and every single time.

realistic? no. but it's what i should aim for.

futures

i could do another year. i could continue making time for it, just as i've done for other daily activities in my life for the last several years. but i think i need more time to be creative.

don't get me wrong; some of the loveliest things that i still don't believe i made came together in just a couple of hours, maybe just one afternoon. but my process is not usually that rapid. i normally need more time, especially if it's in something that frustrates me, that i'm not good at...like using the computer to make music or videos.

i'll still do creative things. i still want to make music, look at the world through a camera lens, and smear chalk on the sidewalk. i feel that i'll do better without the constant pressure of a daily deadline. by taking more time, hopefully i can make better, more introspective art.

what i'd like to do is purchase more webspace or switch to a different hosting provider entirely, so that i can better document each day's output. livejournal is a confusing mess to navigate.

endings

this long adventure, the knowledge that i really could begin, stick with it, and finish a solid year of doing something every single day, i owe to Jesus Christ. i know beyond the shadow of a doubt that whatever small talent i have, whether or not i made something good with it, comes from Him. i couldn't have begun those first few piano recordings, nor finished with the last few, without being lit up by the Holy Spirit. it's the truth, plain and simple. and in my daily reviews, i certainly saw my art fall as my physical health deteriorated, or i struggled in my walk with God. there were moments of pure joy, of knowing that i was doing exactly what i should be doing, which is taking a gift, sharing it with others, and giving God the credit for its beauty. and other moments when i realized that because of poor choices i'd been making in my life, i was trying to put things together purely from my own resources, which are finite and pitiful.

every good & perfect gift is from God. no question in my mind; i see it played out constantly in my life. and whatever talents i have...are not for me. not to be hidden, but to be used to bless someone else. if my motivation is not from love, the endeavor cannot succeed.

thanks

my wife melanie, for putting up with this effort every day, every night, for a whole year. even as it pushed around our schedules and was hard on both of us. i wish that i could re-do the year and make more time for her, and make it less about getting this thing done by midnight.

jared and charlie, for being inspirations to start one of these in the first place, after seeing your work. you were constantly supportive and challenging, even if you didn't know it. and to all the musicians, artists, photographers, and the like that i've crossed paths with, even if it was only online. i saw your work, and it resonated in some way with me: inspired me, challenged me, made me stop and think.

family and friends for your support. a word here, a comment there, even hitting the "like" and "share" buttons. these simple things that brought me joy in the midst of some dark times. helped me know that despite the pressure of putting this out into the endless void that is the internet, i was accomplishing something.

...and the Lord, for giving me the ability to create in the first place: to reflect His glory. to bring some kind of beauty to you.

* * *

it's been an amazing experience. thanks for sticking around.
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josh saddler
date: Jul. 22nd, 2012 @ 1:48 pm
subject: day 365: ioflow - distance
visible: Public
tags: creative.thing, distance, music, piano
new album: distance by ioflow.



free download. solo piano improvisations. recorded over four days, one track per day. these are the final pieces for my year-long creative one-a-day, which began in july 2011 and ended in july 2012.
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josh saddler
date: Jul. 21st, 2012 @ 9:32 pm
subject: day 364: ioflow - so close
visible: Public
tags: creative.thing, distance, music, piano
new music: so close by ioflow.

acoustic piano improvisation. excerpt from an album to be released very soon. this 30-second preview was later made available as the full track: so close, from the album distance.
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josh saddler
date: Jul. 20th, 2012 @ 11:52 pm
subject: day 363: ioflow - near
visible: Public
tags: creative.thing, excursions, music, piano


new music: near by ioflow



solo acoustic piano. evening improvisation following an afternoon at crown point.
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josh saddler
date: Jul. 19th, 2012 @ 10:39 pm
subject: day 362: ioflow - glimpse
visible: Public
tags: creative.thing, music, piano
new music: glimpse by ioflow



solo acoustic piano. evening improvisation.
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josh saddler
date: Jul. 18th, 2012 @ 8:30 pm
subject: day 361: ioflow - almost
visible: Public
tags: creative.thing, music, piano
new music: almost by ioflow



solo acoustic piano. evening improvisation.
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josh saddler
date: Jul. 17th, 2012 @ 11:51 pm
subject: day 360: ioflow - 20120717
visible: Public
tags: creative.thing, music, software
new music: 20120717 by ioflow



very short chiptune experiment. i took a musical motif i've played with in the past and sketched a sub-one-minute piece with it, using only renoise and the C64-like sounds of Bleep' VST. all on linux, too.

nine instances of Bleep' eventually led to some glitching when i tried to render the track. renoise crashed and didn't reload the instruments with my settings, so this track is a fairly close reconstruction of the original.

i ended up having to hit Play in renoise, and record the live audio stream with jack timemachine, since renoise could not render a glitch-free final track. too many crashes, hitches, and static junk in the renoise-produced audio file.

much as i like the sounds of the SID chip, Bleep' and renoise are a very troublesome combination. there aren't any other plugins for generating C64 sounds in linux as far as i know, so i might have to rely on samples from here on out. also, Bleep' is pretty limited...it's not easy to work with (or turn off) the LFO once more than one oscillator is activated, for example.
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josh saddler
date: Jul. 16th, 2012 @ 11:55 pm
subject: day 359: ioflow - cheetah
visible: Public
tags: creative.thing, music, software
new music: cheetah by ioflow



remixing/reworking Ochiita by Xesús Valle, for the 28th disquiet junto, netlabel.

i loaded the original track into paulstretch, then smeared it, by setting the length to 1, but upping the window size to a fairly high sample number. this washed out the sound, turning it into pads with a decent amount of harmonics.

next, i took this altered version, and fed it back into paulstretch, this time shrinking the whole track to 33% of its original length, with the same window/sample size, further smearing and spreading out the audio.

i duplicated the resulting track and reversed it, then put them into renoise. they begin at the same time; i just adjusted mixer levels so that the tracks fade into and around each other, with neither dominating the track.

with this base, i began pulling little sections out of the track, squashing and repitching them with renoise, so that they began to sound like percussion. a simple four-to-the-floor beat worked nicely, once i figured out how to imitate sidechain compression by adding a signal follower to the kick, which controlled a gainer in a send. the two pad/melodic tracks were fed into the send, which had a little bit of attack/release added to get a nice rhythmic pumping that matched the beat. this is the first time i've ever done this kinda stuff, so it may be a bit more subtle than i intended.

to spice up the basic beat, i added several higher-pitched sounds, using the original glitch/clicks from Valle's Ochiita, repitched, filtered, distorted, etc. i also figured out how to synthesize my own clap-like hits, by copy/pasting the click into itself, separated by a tiny margin. repitching these sounds throughout the track added some lowpass-filter-like variations.

i began this project at 8:30PM, and finished at 11:20. this is probably the fastest i've ever worked for a track as complicated as this one.
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josh saddler
date: Jul. 15th, 2012 @ 9:10 pm
subject: day 358: water front
visible: Public
tags: creative.thing, excursions, health


small segment of a picture i took yesterday at sea world. experimenting with 80s-video-ifying little bits of art at a time, instead of the whole image.

am very drained...back is hurting too much to record the companion piano piece for this image. soon, hopefully.
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josh saddler
date: Jul. 14th, 2012 @ 8:42 pm
subject: day 357: vellum
visible: Public
tags: creative.thing, excursions, health


discovered this among the photos i took today at sea world. i have no idea what it is, or how it happened. musta hit a few buttons while putting the camera back in my pocket. it's a happy accident, and i only lightly touched it up to bring out the textures and patterns.

oh yeah: my health is improving. a few days after my third or fourth chiropractic session, and i was able to go outside to sea world for about half an hour, near sunset.
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