It's been an interesting start to 2016, both for the project and for that ever-dominating "rest of life".
After a nice conclusion to Season 02 of the Weekly Videos, plus a string of special releases to wrap up the year, both i and the project enjoyed a nice rest for the holidays. Upon returning, things got very busy on the "real-life" front, which i suppose was reasonably well-timed given the between-season break. With Season 03 now underway, though, i'm actively working to level that off again so as to ensure that i have a little time for music.
... and not a moment too soon. For those who haven't heard yet, on 01 February i announced what might be my least well-thought-out idea yet: Joe's Concept Album Month, a. k. a. JoCoAlbMo.
Inspired by National Novel Writing Month (NaNoWriMo), JoCoAlbMo issues an aggressive creative challenge to musicians and sound artists: to create a full-length concept album in one month. The rules allow for some limited use of existing material, but the spirit of the challenge is to truly craft the album entirely between the 1st and 31st of March.
Despite the relatively recent announcement, the truth is that i've actually been pondering this idea for quite some time. Inspiration came from multiple places, but a lot of it really came from the tons of music i've been pouring into my head over the past year or so. Through my "Adventures In Bandcamp" and other explorations, i've been reminded of just how rich the world of music is out there. While the things i heard varied in production level from highly professional to unapologetically raw, so many of them across the spectrum felt so clearly like works inspired by free creativity. Artists are out there filling the universe with ideas -- some with tremendous skill and attention to detail, others with carefree abandon. Slowly, over months of time, i felt welling up in me the desire to rejoin them, limitations and expectations be damned.
Similarly, that's how i eventually knew that JoCoAlbMo, which i first dreamed up some months ago, was something worth doing. No matter how crazy or downright scary it seemed, i still found myself slowly becoming more and more excited about the idea. That motivation and drive -- especially in concert with the recent letting go of fears about living up to North's legacy -- is the long-awaited fuel that the project has needed to start creating entirely new material more aggressively.
Thankfully, even beyond this, the piles of music to which i've been listening have provided loads of ideas. The wide variety has included ranges of stuff from genius string-pop to raw garage rock, danceable electronica to ambient near-noise, uplifting a cappella to rageful metalcore. ... and, in there, some very cool concept albums. As all of that swirls around, possibilities start to crystalize for things i'd like to try.
... and i fully embrace the fact that "try" is the operative word here. I have no idea what will come out of this, and i'm not entirely sure that i care. "Success" and "failure" are not terms that apply to this venture. It's an experiment. Here, the well-worn words of Master Yoda don't quite apply. Here, the trying is the doing, and the doing -- not the acquiring or winning or impressing -- is the goal.
I expect that i'll have a lot more to say about all this as the next several weeks unfold. For now, i'm enjoying the excitement while i can, and i look forward to sharing it with you as i go. Thanks for reading.
Find out more (and perhaps join the madness?) at JoCoAlbMo.com.