Monthly Archives: December 2009

An Opening Track Nick Hornby Would Approve Of

The Album that wasn’t:

I’ve been working on an “album” for close to two years now, setting arbitrary deadlines for finishing and fantasizing about how it’s going to be released. Needless to say, it hasn’t happened.

Not because I haven’t been making music. Far from it. For the last two years the only times I haven’t been fixated on music (making, hearing, buying, downloading, reading about… etc.) is when I’m eating, sleeping or making love – and that might even be a bit of a stretch.

I never leave the house without headphones, I record constantly on my laptop at home, when I have downtime at work I drum on my thighs. If I watch TV it’s with a guitar in my hands.┬áTo put it mildly, I’m obsessed.

Recently it occurred to me that I was getting less and less of my music from second-hand record stores and more and more of it from the internet. Blogs, specifically. I troll blogs for illegal downloads on a daily basis hoping that the most exciting, farthest out, or just plain best listening can be found a click away. It usually can.

A second thought dawned on me, that the album I have been trying to make for two years, this outpouring of musical-go-nowhere-ness, doesn’t need to be an “album”. It doesn’t need a cover and track listing and record label. It could be a blog. A diary of my musical activity. And much like my musical activity, it will follow my whims. It doesn’t need cohesion, it doesn’t need an opening track that Nick Hornby would approve of. It doesn’t need an A&R man. It doesn’t need to get reviewed in Eye Weekly. It just needs to happen once a week for a year. And that’s what I plan to do.

Please find below the first recording released on the Heroic Age of Exploration blog:

You remember High Fidelity (either book or movie will do). I think they talk about opening tracks and how important they are. Everyone who really “likes” music does at some point.

“Brown Sugar? Great opener, man!”

“Side 1 cut 1. Rainy Day Woman # 12 & 35!”

“I think “Wouldn’t It Be Nice” really sets the tone for the whole album.”

You get the idea. There is a lot of pressure on openers. This one might deliver – it is a short piece for eight clarinets and percussion. It was all improvised around a single clarinet figure that is lost in the background:

I originally wanted to call this song “Emily Blunt Naked” in order to attract some random google action – but I think Octet is classier.