Last night I started doing something that a number of people have been recommending I do for quite a long time: seriously pare down the number of free downloads on my site, and start shifting the focus more towards the music I have commercially available.
A very large chunk of the music I’ve had for free on my site has been based on the Echoplex solos I’ve been doing since very late in 2001. Listening back to the earliest, super-glitchy solos, about two years after the fact, feels a lot like going back to the titular yearbook and grimacing at the hideous haircuts, acne-ridden complexion, and general awkwardness of the whole thing.
This sort of syndrome is fairly typical amongst musicians, of course, but in the case of those early 2000’s Echoplex solos, I was truly (re) learning how to crawl – I knew I didn’t want to play ambient music, but I didn’t know exactly what I DID want to do. Hearing that stuff now, with the relative objectivity that the passage of time can offer, I can see where people who were familiar with Disruption Theory would have been profoundly freaked out by the uber-glitchy Echoplex stuff – some of that stuff is a pretty tough listen.
It’s all been very worthwhile, of course – when I finally found a new voice with the EDP, it allowed me to tap in to a lot of my musical influences in a completely new way. It was, not coincidentally, at precisely that point that I knew it was time to make a new CD, which was a good call – Normalized has helped generate a level and intensity of interest that I’ve never experienced in any other manner. That, as much as anything else, is reason enough to put the emphasis away from downloads and onto CDs – it’s not just a question of making some money from the dissemination of my music, it’s the fact that the most musically successful stuff I’ve done is on the CD’s.
And working with the EDP again finally got me out of self-imposed studio hermit purgatory and back on stage in front of living, breathing people, playing the guitar. The live performances I’ve done since I finally got my proverbial s*** together with the Echoplex have been some of the most gratifying shows I’ve done in any phase of my life. After having spent some years utterly absent from gigging, trying to piece together music on hard disks, it’s a relief to know I can walk on stage with a guitar, an amp, and one EDP, and hold my own on bills with full electric bands.
Certainly, the entirety of the last two years of my professional life (and a substantial amount of my life in general) would be utterly unrecognizable without the role of the Echoplex in my work. Perhaps someday a tell-all, behind-the-scenes account of the early 2000’s looping scene will be made. I simultaneously smile and shudder at the thought.