Sunday, 21 July 2013

Music blogging is hard

So a quick, and quite self-indulgent, post on why music blogging is not all that easy (and why I currently have writers block).

The main thing is that music is not the easiest of things to write about as the very medium is not a written one. You can do the history of it, the state of the industry, or the lyrics really well but the only true way you can experience music is by listening to it. Some second-hand emotions can be expressed but "the band came out for the second encore and the crowd went wild" or "the album is like a slap to the senses" doesn't express anything much. Even if you break it down into technicalities of time signatures and note sequence you are not going to get what is happening until you actually hear the tune itself. So writing about music (as has been proven by the music press again and again and again) actually becomes a list of dates, vague intentions, and observations about your own biases rather than the actual thing itself. This is why the more successful music press has CDs on the front of their journals, so you can actually do in thirty minutes the thing that they have spent 100 pages trying to explain.

Negativity also plays its part in slowing down my writing, which may come as a surprise. It is always much easier to write why you dislike something than it is as to why you like it, mostly because you just need to find one or two negative points to be able to totally reject a musicians work. Saying why something is good is a whole different story though, as you have to open up and build an argument for why someone should take the time to listen to whatever it is you have found that you think sounds that good. Slamming a band or a situation is a quick and cheap write, but it's not a path I want to go down on this blog as I'd rather tell you about a great new find than some shit that you either have already heard or are never going to have bother you. This is obviously not helped when the bulk of music I get forced on me from the main-stream 'pop' world is such weakarse garbage, the temptation to just lashout at that is sometimes overwhelming.

And then there is time, the eternal enemy of all creativity but especially so when it comes such a consumed medium. Not time to sit down and write but time to sit down and enjoy the music itself so that I can write. If I want to write an album review it's a six hour process as, IMO, you need to listen to the thing that many times to get a real feel for it. Now that shouldn't be too much of an issue but at the same time I have got a collection of tens of thousands of hours of music already that I want to listen to again, on top of the opportunity to just go tune surfing on youtube or something similar. And I mean 'just listen to the music', not 'listen to it whilst trying to come up with something smart to say about it' as those are two totally separate things.

This is before you hit generic issues like 'not sure what to write about', 'not sure if people will give a monkeys about what I write' (which if you are doing a blog you have to care about otherwise it becomes pure ego-wanking into the void) and 'do I blog or do some house work/cook the dinner/play with the cat ' etc.

Not the greatest of situations to be in, but on the plus side I had the rather excellent new album "Echogenetic" by FrontLine Assembly playing whilst doing it so all was not lost.
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