May has been quite the oxymoron as months go - Busy and not-so-busy at the same time. I have found myself drifting back and forth from my music composition work and shifting more towards the black art of programming. And so, like Foucault's Pendulum, it continues. I have been diving through more and more conspiracy theories when I get the time. Being in Delhi, perhaps gives me that luxury - to really delve into where my interests lie. It is a difficult game. To try and figure yourself out. Life is so much easier when you have it all mapped out for you - a 9 to 5 or maybe a year in school. But perhaps, that is not where my future lies.
Once in a while you need a kickstart to really snap out of a period of low creativity. Watching this, perhaps did that for me. But clearly that didn't last long either. Seeing that I am stuck somewhere between doing creative things like making music and writing code, I decided to make light of my situation and start a Github. Follow me there, to find some pretty interesting code that I'll be working on in the few coming months. Of all things, perhaps that is the only thing I have to show for now. There is a lot of code I've been working on, and work on that will probably continue. Some of it might make it there, some of it might not.
I've always been skeptical about things that are fairly open source in nature. It's one of those things where it contradicts so hard with your inner belief system, it becomes pretty hard to reconcile. You think about questions like 'what about copyright?' and 'is it safe?' among other fairly darker questions. Some of my apprehensions were fuelled when I stumbled upon this article. But seeing how things are, I figured there was no other way to perhaps demonstrate my coding chops.
Having finished working on a WAV format audio player using C++ right before June came knocking, I feel that I have embarked reasonably well on my journey through coding and audio and all the wonderful, interesting and headache-inducing goodness of it all. The question is, there are so many formats and approaches to implementing audio with code, one really is spoilt for choice. Having first started by taking a jab using SFML and trying to implement audio, I had several problematic things going on. But I'm getting way ahead of myself here, you would probably ask 'why work with audio and code in the first place?!'
Well, that is probably because, these days I have found this slight itch. An itch to 'solve problems' so to speak. There really are no two other ways about it. What do you do if you don't have a problem to solve? Well, you create one. But even before that, perhaps you seek problems. It is that pursuit that actually proved to be fruitful. After a fair amount of tweeting, DM'ing and Facebook'ing people, I came across a developer that wanted to build a cross-platform game that could play audio. It was not supposed to be something very complicated or complex. But it turned out to be quite the same. Seeing that things were not working that well with implementing audio using SFML, my initial approach was to try and seek out a fairly simple framework dependent on C++ that could play audio.
Methodically and carefully, I have been chipping at Processing the past few months, and I quite saw similarities between using something like Processing that already had a lot of functionality built-in and creating a simple audio player. My next obvious response was to seek out a framework that could provide all this functionality and then delve into how it managed to work. A reverse-engineering process so to speak. The first framework that seemed to be usable (from what I could see) was openFrameworks. However, I eventually gave up on using that, owing to its huge size. What I needed was something smaller and simple. Which is how I ended up at using SDL for my audio player. And that's pretty much what it still uses. The next question to dabble with is whether I should try other frameworks or continue forward developing more functionality into the current audio player. I've found that the latter would perhaps be the best way to move forward.
Moving on to creative things, work continues on music for a video game as well as short film. There should probably be a demo for the game by the end of the month, while I am yet to start on music for the film. There are another couple of tracks in the works as well. While the current situation means that I have my hands full, financially perhaps - maybe things could have been better. But I suppose that is something you have to sacrifice trying to build a career on your own. One of the major issues going forward seems to be, more people asking for work and lesser people willing to afford the cost. This is a sad situation for any creative person. But, perhaps there is a silver lining in all of this - I just don't totally see it yet. Sadly, this also sometimes leads to projects unfinished or abandoned in pursuit of greener pastures so to speak. Staying in a creative field can become quite the challenge as years pass by and things get progressively harder. All the numbers - they add up or they don't. But I always told myself I would never abandon my creative pursuits - and so that remains.
Back to my cup of coffee and looking at planes for now.
It has been an interesting few months. I have been busy redeveloping my website and rethinking certain ways of visual representation. There has been a huge perspective change owing to my experiences and interactions in Valencia, Spain. Blog posts will happen more frequently starting this week. Feel free to roam and hang around my website. You might find some cool unexplored musical artefacts.
Stay updated and stay curious!
To me, art is revolt. I don't see perfect skies or the beauty of a flawless breeze. I don't want to filter reality and craft a clean masterpiece. To me art is all that burns and decays. The graffiti on the pavement. The windows bashed in with a hammer by the rioting mob. The error in my jpg file. I want my art to speak. To talk. To feel. To mean something. More than anything else. #art #abstract #glitch #perspective #music #thoughts #truth
A few months ago, while I was still in the middle of recording my solo remix EP 'Reimaginations of a Different Universe', I realised the album needed some strong visuals and art to complement it. I tried getting in touch with a lot of different people who were into creating artwork and visuals for album covers. While some people were ridiculously amazing at what they did, They required much more in terms of money and time than I could have afforded, and since it was a small debut effort and not a full blown album, things were even more difficult to sort out.
I set out to look for somebody who could really create artwork the way I was imagining it in my head. One night while going through random Facebook profiles, I happened across Shrey Kathuria's profile. We had previously collaborated together when he wanted to get his vocal cover recorded, I realised it was a good time to ask for his help and aid.
Next day, I discussed some minor details with Shrey over Facebook and he seemed willing to try working on the artwork over the course of a few weeks. I gave him a few guidelines about the kind of artwork I wanted. It had to be colourful and there needed to be a giant eye smack in the centre. Even though initially, I thought a spider or an animal would have looked better, After talking and having long discussions stretching over a few days, I realised I needed something like a three-headed face.
Another interesting point to note about the artwork for Reimaginations was that the first idea I had regarding the artwork was drastically different than the one we eventually gravitated towards using. I thought a little futuristic theme could have been a little fitting as well, but that idea did not work out well in particular.
The futuristic idea came into my head from the fact that the entire album had mostly re-workings of earlier songs and giving it a futuristic avatar would be nice, primarily because I heard the 'Reanimation' album by Linkin Park when I was a kid and as much as you move away from your first influences as you grow up and change, I feel that there is always a small part of you that clings to things you liked when you were a kid regardless of how much it is frowned down upon or not taken seriously in the 'grown up' world.
There were plenty of directions and avenues the artwork could have eventually moved towards, but I'm glad it moved towards the direction it did, and for that I'm quite thankful for all the advice and help Shrey Kathuria provided me with. It's always nice when a fellow musician pitches in and helps you work out things you would otherwise have a very hard time figuring out.
Creative people are awesome. end of story.