Plus I really haven't had any Burning Big Music Ideas, but I always eventually realize that it is the actual process of doing music, the real-world activity of sitting and making/designing sounds that is the source of personal importance. So I got out my happy new guitar (I gotta guitar!) and plugged it into my laptop at night for the past week or so. The results are the seven little pieces above.
I adopted an approach for producing these that I thought Brian Eno had employed on his ambient-music record On Land, but looking up his notes for the original record I think I mis-remembered. He talks about "recycling" material from other projects, other recordings, but somehow I recalled him saying that he had used a 'painterly' concept in that anything he did to the canvas -- i.e. the sonic canvas, the recording -- would remain in some form and contribute to the final product. I didn't find anything quite like that beyond the "recycling" verbiage, but this research into what Eno said happened after making the music above... in fact it happened while writing this web page.
What I did was to stack up a lot of signal-processing plugins and mess around until I heard interesting sounds. Everything I added in the process of doing this messing-around I kept in the final version. After getting everything set, I simply improvised on the guitar and recorded the results, so each of the seven pieces is essentially a real-time performance. On two of them I faded a few effects up and down after-the-fact, but everything else just happened. My laptop/processing skills also help hide the fact that I really can't play the guitar very well. This is fun!
Secret Totally Unrelated Bonus Music!
I mentioned above something about class-related music. Well, here it is! In my graduate Computer Music seminar this year, we're exploring different notions of soundscapes and space. For the first time in a loooong time, I actually made an assignment for the class to do (and they all did really well; I'm hoping to get the projects up on the web page soon). I decided to buckle down and try the assignment myself, so I spent about an hour the night before class doing Part 2 ("Create a sound or piece that you would consider 'meditative' and/or 'sacred' in some way"). I figured the quickest way to instant sacred music would be to use a choir with massive amounts of cathedral-like reverberation. Not having direct access to a choir, I stole a few chords from some recordings I had and modified them a bit. Here's my sacred/meditative result: