Monday, 20 June 2011

So weit, so gut.

Hi all. I'm just checking in to let you know how things are progressing with my writing. This weekend I was working on a section of the book about the early eighties and, having discussed Manuel Gottsching's projects during this period I have moved on to Harald Grosskopf and his 1980 album Synthesist. Writing this book I've found time and time again that albums I've started off liking a great deal I've ended up loving. There's something about studying a record in great detail that really allows one to appreciate the art behind it. We live in busy times and as a result of this sensory overload is almost inevitable. I remember a time when I only had ten CDs in my collection and knew each one intimately. Now they're always popping through the door because I'm eternally curious. There's an awful lot of sound out there to explore but writing this book has made me contemplate slowing down and trying to appreciate music more before ordering that next record. I'm not sure whether this will ever happen, though....

This weekend also provided me with a reminder of what writing about music is like in the early stages. For quite a while now I've been rewriting sections of the book but over the last few days I've almost been starting from scratch. I've been lucky enough to have plenty of interview quotes from Mr. Grosskopf (big thanks, Harald), which I pasted into roughly the right part of my Word document. I then get my general thoughts about the album down. This week I've been listening to Synthesist fairly intensely on the way to and from work and in the backyard after work with a glass of wine whilst the cats roam around (and jump on me).

When it comes to the actual writing, though, a scatter shot approach seems to work best for me. I put the music on and as each track plays I record any thoughts I've been storing up or may have at that point on the page with no regard for whether the English is good: a series of descriptive words, anything the sounds may evoke etc. Then of course we've got the context and the details for the album. What happened in the run up to the recording process? Where was it recorded and who produced it? Is there a concept behind the sleeve? Are there any associated stories?

...and then.....and then it's all there on the page, like a forbidding heap of scrap waiting to be sorted into something that is hopefully worth looking at. At this point I start scratching my head, getting up and going to make cups of coffee, checking my e-mails and browsing on the Web to see which records I'm going to buy next but the point inevitably comes when the task is unavoidable. No more excuses. I have to sit and get the job done, so I do and sometimes I'm happy with the results. I'm fairly pleased with my short section about Synthesist and now I don't just like the album. I love it. I'd call that a good weekend. Next stop: Lutz Ulbrich's 1981 album Luul. See you soon.......

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