Tuesday, April 30, 2013

listen, lovely, one, two, three

I went through this phase of writing lyrics with rhymed triplets.  Some long-range effect of my nearly inexcusable "transformation" of Dante's Inferno? Of course these odd little products ain't terza rima, just straight up triplets, and every time I read one I it's a structure I find deeply unsettling.  The ghost limb, that chopped off last half of the second couplet that never was, hangs off the end of every verse.  Are your children addicted to symmetry?

Monday, April 29, 2013

When I was a fool

I'm not going to lie to you, the idea behind which I conceived and launched Sick Tartar was for it to be the promotion, meta-commentary and monetization (the foulest word in any language) hub for the Songs of Days, but whoa, I'm really bad at that.  And seriously, do I have a product?  One of three critical legs of the Kickstarter stool* is that by buying in, you will make this thing happen, and if you don't, you know, maybe it won't.  And if you have an investment in whatever it is happening, then you feel responsible if you don't support it and it doesn't happen.  I've written almost 4,000 lyrics in virtual obscurity, I have a backlog of well over 2,000 songs to post.  I would be pressed to construct a compelling narrative that anything short of death or disaster would compel me to abandon it, and anyways,  if I did give up on the project and just kept posting the rest of what I had, nobody would know for 6 years.  This is a difficult situation to build tension around.

I guess that's not the real reason but anyway, I'm tired of thinking about what things aren't or why I don't.  While I continue to withhold my hilarious parody Sick Tartar campaign complete with bizarre non-pitch video and goals from the few hundred I'd need to finally get the fabulous home studio of tomorrow mark two set up all the way up to the final stretch goal of $100 billion that will render me the richest person on earth by a comfortable margin, I feel like the one component of the blog I can get behind is the meta-commentary.  Which is what this is.

To be able to write effective songs in the fashion of traditional classics, things like Scarborough Fair, Pretty Polly or When I Was In My Prime, is an aspiration as dear to my heart as to be able to write a pop lyric with the ear-worm hook of a One Hit Wonder.  While my efforts at the latter tend to be purely satirical I have taken regular stabs at the former that are embarrassingly earnest.  A bad wannabe catchy pop lyric merely falls flat but a fabricated "traditional" effort adds a mawkish buffoonery of ersatz old-timey-ness.  Still if I'm going to cringe and wince every time the tone of a song of the day is pure tin clank I could never go on.  I am reminded of the line (I think from an old edition of the Rolling Stone Record Guide) that noted Led Zeppelin's "When the Levee Breaks" as something to the effect of being their first blues rework that didn't sound like a "bizarre parody".

This being said, an interesting thing that's happening as I post songs these days is that I hardly remember writing any of them.  The first series of 1,001 songs wasn't like this.  I'd held onto the finished series for over 5 years before I started posting it online.  I'd done other things with the songs, some versions, some performance, and I'd picked the books up and read selections of them many times.  I'd picked my favorites.  These days though I'm looking at songs I've generally looked at once (with a few exceptions) since I wrote them, they day I transcribed them into an electronic text document.  Sometimes they stand out in that process but I tend to be pushing to transcribe things as quickly as I can.  Most of what I'm posting was transcribed something like a year ago.  It's fun, meeting these songs for the first time (well, when I like them it's fun, not as much otherwise although some things I hate so much that it's funny).

In any event, it is only to observe that I think that Narcissus may be my first pseudo-traditional effort that I actually like.  I don't know that it's quite a classic, but I like it.

*I forgot at the time to list what the other 2 legs of this theoretical "stool" are and have since forgotten.  Someday I will perhaps reconstruct this thought and enlighten everyone.

Wednesday, April 24, 2013

Maybe never will there be rewards

A hypothetical consumer of the full spectrum of my prodigious textual output could tell you for nothing that I am borderline obsessed with Kickstarter.  I dig the weird fairy tales it creates, the psychological structuring of successful stretch-goal fueled campaigns, the actually pretty regular very cool things it actuates in the real world.  In my innermost demon-haunted world though I'm ensorcled by the whole hypothetical merit-based lottery aspect of it, I love the fantasy of the big bucks, even if it's probably mostly an illusion, the hyper-successes being a portal for their unfortunate creators into a world of manufacturing hassles, brutal reward fulfillment schedules and razor-thin margins that can tip a projects budget so quickly into the red (see Steve Jackson's comments on the massive Ogre Kickstarter, ferisntance, or the ongoing commentary of Double Fine's hugely goal-breaking and currently fund-strapped adventure game project).

I can personally never come up with a project though because the only thing I routinely produce is, as previously mentioned, volumes of text.  My most routine output being, for want of a better term, poetry, for God's sake.  I used to make a little bit of music and very occasionally make a little visual art (observe my bold and original logo design for this new little corner of the increasingly irrelevant text-o-sphere) but I've found it terribly difficult to persist in these pursuits lately.

If I had my druthers, if I were free of the specter of need, that is, I do believe this is what I would do though: my scribbles, my tunes, my doodles.  I know I do not deserve these things, that I have not earned them.  And the bootstrap gospel with its good news revival message of the path to pull oneself up to the next level of everything is a book I've not yet found to read.

But anyway I was joking with Thomas over dinner the other night that I couldn't deal with the hoops and restrictions of Kickstarter anyway and as such I was going to roll my own project and call it Sick Tartar and now here it is and I'm scratching my head, wondering what am I going to do with this now?  If nothing else I guess I can use it to cut any and all talk of lucre, of my pessimistic musings on the utility of my dismal obsession with putting one word after another, of my ponderings on existing as a creator on the thinner than hair thing mile-long trailing edge of the long long tail from my other textual properties.  Maybe it is just a joke.  Maybe I'll show it to no one, ever.  I chose to begin it, nevertheless.

And the title? Naturally, from a song of the day.

Wednesday, April 17, 2013

hello cruel world

My old nemesis!... We meet again, but this time the advantage is mine! Ha! Ha! Ha!