Creative Compost

The ramblings and musings of a composer.

Intellectual landfill, musical dump, creative compost.

Walk Upon These Shores  

Been thinking a lot about immigration, what the UK might look like post-Brexit and post-pandemic, and more generally thinking about the movement of people. Place and displace. Woke up with a tune in my head which wouldn't go away until I got something down, so here's the opening of a new song. It needs a choir, but let me know what you think. Jamm x

Manifesto Musicale 

"A public declaration of principles and intentions, often political in nature," according to whoever got at Wikipedia first. I'm not sure about political, although we all move and act in ways that are politically influenced without realising. 

With the intention of giving my musical output a more focused identity, I've set about creating myself a manifesto of my own. I'm calling it my Music Manifesto, for now but I know it will be more specific eventually. I'm a big advocate of manifesting things into being. It's a trick that seems a little hokey at first but over the last 20 years it's proved itself very effective. The most simple method of doing it begins with identifying precisely what it is you want. And that alone is an achievement. 

I have a notebook of affirmations and manifestations, several now actually, and they're filled with nothing but exactly what I want: Things I want to bring into being. I write them in the present tense, so that if you say them out loud, you're saying that it exists already. They include everything from finding a favourite pencil sharpener I lost years ago - buying a property that I wanted to live in - visiting a certain place - curing a friend of cancer. Obviously, my role in that last one was purely intentional as I'm not an oncologist, but the important thing is this: 

The more specific the affirmation, the more likely it will manifest. 

This little tip has proved itself over and over to me. Almost every single affirmation in my notebooks has a little tick next to it, with a date of when and how it came to be. The ones that didn't manifest all have something in common: they were too broad or too vague. In other words, not specific enough. 

So with that in mind, I'm trying to find a way to apply this knowledge to a Music Manifesto of my own. I've looked up some online: I found a lot of those ghastly blocks of words in friendly fonts, telling you to believe in your soul, and just breathe, and walk in the forest every day, renew your inspiration, stab your eyes out with a rusty fork, murder your siblings etc. 

So my manifesto will be a bit more direct. I like direct. And specific. And as soon as I write it (any day now, I'm sure of it) I will publish it, because it's just a to-do list, not a manifesto, until it's declared publicly. 

You hear the word manifest a lot on ships. It's an odd word because it's used onboard in several contexts. For example, Ship's Manifest could mean a list of guests' names, or it could mean a description of what crates have been offloaded today, or a list of what musical instruments are currently onboard. Nevertheless, the important thing is that it's a list of specific, identifiable, unique things. So it's simply a case of identifying those specific things that apply uniquely to me and my music.

You're a composer huh? 

So here’s a thing... whenever I tell somebody I’m a composer, the first question is always this: What do you compose?

Well, I’ll tell you: Whenever you think of contemporary composers, you often imagine somebody making crazy, modern, outlandish sounds. Music that clashes on the ear or challenges your musical tastes. That kind of thing.

That’s not me. Well it is me a little bit, but basically, my goal is to create music that is beautiful, accessible, moving, interesting. The kind of music that transports you to another world where you forget about time and space. Music that makes you FEEL something.

It can be dramatic or romantic or happy or angry or absurd or surreal, all kinds, but I aim for my music to always be accessible and understandable and most of all enjoyable.

To make all of those things happen, the shape my music takes varies, a lot, but I’m always drawn back to the idea or melody that makes you feel in a way that is familiar but still new. Always new. After all, everyone needs new ways to dream.

Social Needier 

I'm not on Snapchat, I don't have an Instagram account, I don't have any "followers" online, I barely use social media and don't really understand Tumblr. The reason is this: they're not real. Everything about social media feels manufactured to me and that's an unreliable indicator of where I am in life and how I'm doing. And they all seem to require full-time administration.

Life is very, very short and nobody on their death bed is ever going to say, "I wish I uploaded more photos of my lunch to the internet". Besides, I'm too busy making music. That is what I've been put on this earth to do, not provide visual content for billion-dollar corporations who essentially do nothing for us in return, except bombard us with adverts for crap we don’t need.

So I keep it simple: I have my website and I make my music and if anyone enjoys it, then that's enough, I'm happy.

That said, Facebook does provide a useful platform to stay in touch without being intrusive. So pop over to my fb page, hit the Like button and I'll magically appear in your life from time to time with updates and invites and nice things like that.