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Topic: Question for the musicians here, I hope someone answers this< Next Oldest | Next Newest >
Sir Mustapha Offline




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Posted: Mar. 22 2005, 06:25

I'm not going to deny that I do listen to my music regularly. Not too often, though - I far prefer discovering some new music or listen to an old favourite after not touching it for months - but I do make music for myself, and I like listening to it sometimes. There's just one doubt that appears to me on occasions like that. Do I get too critical of my own work at times? I'm fairly sure that a musician isn't always the best judge of his own work, and I have seen friends of mine, who are excellent writers, criticising some of their own works and calling them bad when a considerable amount of people consider it excellent. I'd hate to fall in that trap, but how do I know when I'm right? I hope I'm making myself clear. I'm having some problems with that. To be more specific, I can't stand "The Binary Sounds Of Nature" anymore, and I think it should be reworked. But, believe me, I've seen that album being praised, so how will I know if it's just me being overly critic of my own work, or if I'm right? To ask a better question: how do you, personally, deal with this? Should I just let my album rest or do something about it? I've also been more and more disappointed by the current recording of "Musics For Highways", and I also think I should rework it, but I don't want to turn into Mike Oldfield!

Erm... I mean... sorry. Any suggestions?


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familyjules Offline




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Posted: Mar. 22 2005, 06:38

Quote (Sir Mustapha @ Mar. 22 2005, 06:25)
Do I get too critical of my own work at times? I'm fairly sure that a musician isn't always the best judge of his own work, and I have seen friends of mine, who are excellent writers, criticising some of their own works and calling them bad when a considerable amount of people consider it excellent.

Sir M, I'm exactly the same.  I recorded a solo album last year that is due out now-ish and if I had my way I'd scrap it and start over.  All I can hear are mistakes and weaknesses and bad mixdown decisions.

'Tis the curse of the musician to have appalling perspective regarding your own work.  I guess sometimes you just have to leave it be and move on and hope your listeners aren't as fernickity as you are!

Part of the sensitivity you need to be a creative artist means you'll always be sensitive to the shortcomings of the art you create.  Them's the breaks, my man!

:/

Jules


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raven4x4x Offline




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Posted: Mar. 22 2005, 06:45

I haven't actually heard your music yet (sorry about that, but I will soon), but my comment doesn't exactly concern that. What I want to say is: I take exception to your belief that you can call a piece of music bad and think that you are right. As I've said so many times before, taste is music is subjective. I believe that there is no 'bad' music, only music that you don't like. If people like a piece of music that you don't, then surely you must recognise that it does have quality, even if you can't hear it. I know you don't like Tubular Bells II or III (hate may be a more appropiate word), but would you like to tell the fans of those albums that they are wrong and they are actually listening to bad music? No, and I'm sure you won't try. Similarly, don't be tempted to brand any of your music as 'bad'. You may think it is, but if other people like it then it's good to them. The only piece of music I would definitively call bad is the music that no-one on the whole world likes. I don't think that music will ever be written.

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BOOsTER Offline




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Posted: Mar. 22 2005, 09:31

if I write a new song I love it first...I am the king, I can fly I have my head in the sky for a few days...but hey this feeling is why I do it...

then I start nitpicking my own mistakes and start to hate the song which in the beginning I thought was excellent...nevermind it...an artist can't love all his songs...as a mother can't love all her children the same...


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DarkenedEdo Offline




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Posted: Mar. 22 2005, 09:40

that's why i can't go on with my projects for a long time.

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Sir Mustapha Offline




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Posted: Mar. 22 2005, 10:20

Thanks a lot, Jules (EDIT: also Booster and Edo - they wrote their replies as I was writing this), your post was very enlightening. Glad to hear that from someone who's having problems similar to mine! :)

Okay, leaving the initials TBIII aside before my ears start screaming obscenities, I also have that belief that the definition "bad music" is inadequate in almost all cases. The problem comes when I'm analysing my own music. It's not the kind of enjoyment I get from Mike Oldfield, you see: it's analysing myself, the person I was at the time I made the album, the influences I had, the knowledge, experience, etc. And the really frustrating part is that at the time I was mixing down "The Binary Sounds Of Nature" to its final form, I honestly thought it was awesome, easily the best thing I had ever done. But now, there are several things on that album that are an embarrassment. And yet, I'm very proud of the previous album ("Highways"). I got worse with time?! :D

It's very tough when I'm looking at my own music, because I'll never know if I can see those embarrassments just because I made it. Everyone here saw me rant about Tubular Bells 2003, and I even jokingly said in my website that the "imperfections" Mike saw on the album are all actually in his brain (that was extremely rude, of course, but everything on the website is). So if I reworked "Binary" now, would everyone think the same about me? I.e. the imperfections are in my brain, after all? Irritating.

I can't just be satisfied thinking that people may be liking something that I think isn't good. Calling someone else's work "bad" is something, but an artist knows his work. And if I think "Binary" sucks, if someone else likes it, them something isn't quite right... I don't want to say they have bad taste, but I'm pretty sure the album is subpar to my standards. Would they still like it if I "improved" it, based on my standards? What if it became better to me, but it sucked to they? I'm not making music just to please myself, and I care about whomever's listening to it (2 or 3 people? :D ). My consolation is that my issue is only with "Binary" and not with all my music. Of course, I'm not mentioning my FIRST "album", which is a complete pile of garbage and crap and filth with "Water" stuck in the middle. That IS bad music.


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Check out http://ferniecanto.com.br for all my music, including my latest albums: Don't Stay in the City, Making Amends and Builders of Worlds.
Also check my Bandcamp page: http://ferniecanto.bandcamp.com
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MusicallyInspired Offline




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Posted: Mar. 22 2005, 11:18

I know with me I have a vision of the music in my head. A version that nobody else hears or will ever hear. And if I make a tune and it's not exactly as it is in my head I'm not entirely happy with it and I want to change it, even though other people would probably love it. But all they are hearing is the version that I made...they don't see my vision of the song in my head...unless I record it exactly as it is in my head and I'm happy with it. Not only that, everyone has different likes and dislikes for music..they might like something about your version of a song that you had recorded but wasn't exactly the same as in your head. Thus they see something else than what you originally intended and like it maybe better than what you had in your head. So for me, I love hearing what other people think about my music and I accept tips and advice on things and sometimes I'll yield and abandon what I originally had in my mind to work out what I had recorded and people liked instead, but generally and mostly, I consider myself the best critic about my music because only I can see what I want it to be in my head. And no matter how I could explain it I could never bring it accross to somebody else for them to understand fully what's in my head because they're not me (obviously) and can't read my mind and everyone is different and has different styles and likes and tastes and wouldn't be able to see my vision of it.

I suppose there are a couple exceptions, but generally that's the way I feel about it. I hope that doesn't sound too conceited or stuck up snobbish :).

Quote
...as a mother can't love all her children the same...


If you mean unequally by that, then I disagree.


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familyjules Offline




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Posted: Mar. 22 2005, 11:28

Quote (Sir Mustapha @ Mar. 22 2005, 10:20)
Everyone here saw me rant about Tubular Bells 2003, and I even jokingly said in my website that the "imperfections" Mike saw on the album are all actually in his brain (that was extremely rude, of course, but everything on the website is). So if I reworked "Binary" now, would everyone think the same about me? I.e. the imperfections are in my brain, after all? Irritating.

Recently I wrote a totally dismissive review of Neil Young's most recent studio album.  I called it badly produced, badly mixed, poorly played etc etc.  Of course now I'm about to release an album where I could make all the same criticisms about myself, and if someone else were to do just that, I'd be devastated (even if I agreed with 'em to an extent).

Does this mean my opinion about Neil Young's album is no longer valid?  No.

Does this mean I should never say anything negative about another man's work of art on a public forum?  Maybe.

It's tricky when one's own hyper critical nature is turned back upon one's own work.  If I can call an album by Neil Young or Mike Oldfield 'poor' or 'shoddy' or 'below par', then surely I should be able to handle such criticism about my own stuff?

But I'm less that ready to handle it.

Maybe that's one reason why Mike has to distance himself from his fans - so that he doesn't have to keep having his music criticised by the people he hopes will love it.....

Just some thoughts.

Jules


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Alan D Offline




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Posted: Mar. 22 2005, 15:31

This is the situation that every creative artist has to face. He can seek the opinions of others, and they may or may not make a difference, but ultimately the artist has to live with what he produces, and the buck rests with him.

I've been there myself. I've suffered the embarrassment of people liking a drawing of mine that I knew to be poor, and the dismay of seeing indifference towards a drawing that I knew to be good. I've ached with frustration to watch a piece of my writing skimmed through like a newspaper column when I knew it expressed the uttermost best of what I can do. And I've also known the thrill of performing music when both I and the audience realise that some remarkable and unrepeatable piece of magic is happening.

Nowhere in this are there any absolutes. Nowhere is there a code of right conduct for the artist. In the words of George MacDonald: 'No man can do more than better what he can'; and so the artist consults his intuition, and goes with that.

Chuck the rulebook away, Sir M, is my advice. If your gut reaction tells you you need to rework this piece, then do it. You can't do more than put out what you believe to be your best - and that may mean reworking, or it may mean leaving it alone. Only you will know.

And you might get it 'wrong' according to some, many, or all, critics. That's part of the risk, and part of the exhilaration. But despite what the art critic may say, there aren't any absolutes. There's only this wonderful organic, pulsing thing called art, through which we can express ourselves as well as we possibly can and hope to be understood.
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familyjules Offline




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Posted: Mar. 23 2005, 04:21

Quote (Alan D @ Mar. 22 2005, 15:31)
In the words of George MacDonald: 'No man can do more than better what he can';

Ahh, George MacDonald!!  He also wrote the words to one of my favourite songs by the Waterboys, and I quote:-

"You go yours, and I go mine-
Many ways we wend;
Many days, and many ways,
Ending in one end.

Many a wrong, and its curing song;
Many a road, and many an inn;
Room to roam, but only one home
For all the world to win."

You're a man of good taste, Alan.  But then you knew that!  

;)

Jules


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raven4x4x Offline




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Posted: Mar. 23 2005, 05:22

I think it's natural for a person to be more critical of his or her own work than of others. I don't produce any art, but when I hand in a report or essay for school or my uni degree I'm never totally confident, and even if I get a good mark I'm always thinking about how I would have done it differently. All you can do is just work at getting the music as close as you can to what you think it should be, and don't worry if others don't like it. Of course, when I hand in a report I do need to worry if others like it, because I'm getting marked :) . No-one here is marking any music that gets put out, so there's no real need to worry.  

Quote (Sir Mustapha @ Mar. 21 2005, 22:20)
And if I think "Binary" sucks, if someone else likes it, them something isn't quite right... I don't want to say they have bad taste, but I'm pretty sure the album is subpar to my standards.


That just means that you and the listener have different ideas as to what music should be like. I'm sure it's happened many times that a band releases and album and the one song that they're not too happy with becomes a big hit, or the song they really love gets totally ignored. If you really want to remake the music, put both versions on your site. "The Binary Sounds of Nature" versions 1 and 2, or something like that.

Finally, just in case anyone misunderstood my first post, I wasn't saying that it's not OK to dislike an album. I just think that people should state their dislike as an opinion (such as 'I don't like this music';) rather than a fact ('this music is bad';). That way you won't offend people who do like it.


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Alan D Offline




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Posted: Mar. 23 2005, 07:29

Quote (raven4x4x @ Mar. 23 2005, 10:22)
I just think that people should state their dislike as an opinion (such as 'I don't like this music' ) rather than a fact ('this music is bad' ). That way you won't offend people who do like it.

A brief diversion from the topic (but not so very far) to observe that as often, Alex is bang on target.

It's so easy to project a personal dislike outwards and attempt to rationalise that dislike as a fault in the object. The worst of it is that we will almost always succeed (because you can prove almost anything if you're determined enough), and human history is littered with the folly of it, endlessly repeated down the ages.
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BOOsTER Offline




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Posted: Mar. 23 2005, 07:45

actually...I believe there is bad music...how would you call Britney Spears then?

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familyjules Offline




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Posted: Mar. 23 2005, 07:45

Quote (Alan D @ Mar. 23 2005, 07:29)
A brief diversion from the topic (but not so very far) to observe that as often, Alex is bang on target.

In YOUR opinion of course!

;)  :laugh:

Jules


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Alan D Offline




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Posted: Mar. 23 2005, 08:45

Quote (familyjules @ Mar. 23 2005, 12:45)

In YOUR opinion of course!

;)  :laugh:

Jules

When, one day, we meet, remind me that I owe you one blow with a wet kipper.
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Alan D Offline




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Posted: Mar. 23 2005, 08:51

Quote (BOOsTER @ Mar. 23 2005, 12:45)
actually...I believe there is bad music...how would you call Britney Spears then?

I think that would involve a really big diversion from the present topic (which might not be fair to Sir M) and need a new thread (if you really want to go down that road).
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familyjules Offline




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Posted: Mar. 23 2005, 09:13

Quote (Alan D @ Mar. 23 2005, 08:45)
When, one day, we meet, remind me that I owe you one blow with a wet kipper.

Thankfully I have a terrible memory....

Jules


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Sir Mustapha Offline




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Posted: Mar. 23 2005, 11:44

Sheesh, fellas, no need to mention Spears. I already mentioned my first CD. I fortunately got rid of that thing, and I have no idea where it is now. My life is better like this.

To be honest, I handle negative comments about my work much better now. Passing the state of euphoria I get immediately after completing a work, negative comments (especially the constructive ones) will hardly do any harm to me. What harms me the most is the negative comments I have about myself, when I revise something I did a few years ago and find myself disappointed and embarrassed. That is really awful, and the reason why I started this thread. But I suppose this is natural, and I should have known before. It just causes a lot of worry and insecurity, you know. And there's the difference of opinion between me and the listeners... all about opinion. Bother. Maybe I overreacted, too. I should give "Binary" a second listen and think better about it.

I also really need to finish the album I'm making now. Heck, there will certainly be no state of euphoria after I finish that one - I just can't wait to see it finished. It's become a burden already.


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Also check my Bandcamp page: http://ferniecanto.bandcamp.com
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Holger Offline




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Posted: Mar. 23 2005, 16:36

Quote (BOOsTER @ Mar. 23 2005, 13:45)
actually...I believe there is bad music...how would you call Britney Spears then?

Really good commercial pop music.
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EeToN Offline




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Posted: Mar. 23 2005, 20:58

I think this is the reason why Mike doesn't listen to his old albums that much.

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