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Total lack of inspiration.


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Yeah, I jam along all the time, but nothing usable comes out of them. Again the difficulty is not in creating little clips - it's that I'll complete as much as I did in those demos and hit a dead end. Any additional work I try to force makes them even worse. It's infuriating.

Hey, if this is in fact what's happening then I can easily relate, as the same thing used to happen to me all the time. I found a solution for that problem though and haven't had any trouble since, so hey maybe it'll work for you?

What I do now is when I have an idea for a project, a "clip", I'll program all the neccessary patterns in FL, and then program the absolute climax of the song in the playlist. This usually gives me a good idea how to enter and exit the climax, and from there the rest of the song just falls into place (unless of course the climax ends up sounding terribly dull, but that usually isn't the case. And if it is, well, you don't feel bad abandoning it)

Also, if I'm having trouble with ideas in one art I start looking into the other ones. I saw you said elsewhere in this thread that music is your only art, but I'm willing to bet that a creative person like yourself could easily pick up another craft. Is there anything that's interested you? Photography, painting, photoshopping? (Yes, photoshopping is it's own category) Trying expanding your abilities and you'll find that a lot of what you've learned writing music will definately help you with the other arts.

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i guess i'm just repeating what others have said... but you just need to STOP

if you're doodling on the keyboard and playing around and nothing is coming, then just forget it. if the inspiration isnt there, then it isnt there, no need to bang your head and waste time trying to force it. art is something that just can't be forced

take a LONG break from music. after awhile you'll probably be itching to get back and the inspiration will come

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I doubt that I could take a week long break here at Drexel from the computer as it's my only form of entertainment and more or less my only form of social contact.

I can tell you that getting into the habit of being in only 2 different places (class and computer desk) every day, day in and day out, is a depressing and boring cycle, and it could be affecting your creativity. You live in a dorm, right? Start hanging out with new people and going places.

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I doubt that I could take a week long break here at Drexel from the computer as it's my only form of entertainment and more or less my only form of social contact.

I can tell you that getting into the habit of being in only 2 different places (class and computer desk) every day, day in and day out, is a depressing and boring cycle, and it could be affecting your creativity. You live in a dorm, right? Start hanging out with new people and going places.

Probably the best advice in the whole thread. If a computer is more or less your only form of social contact, you need to get out more.

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I doubt that I could take a week long break here at Drexel from the computer as it's my only form of entertainment and more or less my only form of social contact.

I can tell you that getting into the habit of being in only 2 different places (class and computer desk) every day, day in and day out, is a depressing and boring cycle, and it could be affecting your creativity. You live in a dorm, right? Start hanging out with new people and going places.

Probably the best advice in the whole thread. If a computer is more or less your only form of social contact, you need to get out more.

Yes that indeed explains it, and its probably my problem too. I thought the same thing last night, about how i should get off my computer more. I';; probably just go out with freinds and do what i would normally consider "wasting time" for a few days. :mrgreen:

Oh and try changing your FL background. Works for me sometimes.

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I appreciate the personal life advice, but you guys are off the mark here. As anyone who met me at the NYC meetup will tell you I'm a sociable, friendly guy and I enjoy hanging out with people. I had a total blast at that meetup. The issue is that here at Drexel, there are very few people who I have things in common with. The main thing is that I don't drink - Drexel is basically a party school, in that all anyone does for fun is get drunk. This includes my roommates. Even my fellow musicians in the music industry program are really just not people I like for the most part (yes I've talked to them, eaten lunch/dinner, hung out etc). I'm already a member of several clubs here too but it's the same story at them as well. Even at the religious club I'm part of, where the people DON'T party for fun, they're extreme right-wing conservatives and we don't share anything in common.

The issue is not "getting out more". I've already made a lot of contacts here, I've gotten to know people, I've been to social events, I've done all of that already. I'm still a member of several clubs which I go to regularly. After doing all that I found out that the people here are not the type I really want to spend a lot of time with. There's nothing wrong with that, I know a lot of people who are in similar situations. I still maintain contact with my buddies from high school, and of course there are the people here at OCR and other communities that I communicate with on a regular basis. As for going places.. well, go where? Parties? I don't go to parties. Concerts? I don't go to concerts. Shopping? I don't have any money to blow - I save my money as best I can. I am perfectly fine with all of this, too. I don't mind being in my dorm in most of my free time. I'm a very happy person.. provided I'm able to write good music.

I would also like to add for emphasis that I appreciate all the advice that has been given to me so far, regardless of whether or not it has worked for me or not.

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I doubt that I could take a week long break here at Drexel from the computer as it's my only form of entertainment and more or less my only form of social contact.

I can tell you that getting into the habit of being in only 2 different places (class and computer desk) every day, day in and day out, is a depressing and boring cycle, and it could be affecting your creativity. You live in a dorm, right? Start hanging out with new people and going places.

Probably the best advice in the whole thread. If a computer is more or less your only form of social contact, you need to get out more.

Disagree. Massivly.

I have a fair number of friends outside of the net, so its not like i'm a social retard. But i would rather chill with friends online that go out and meet with mates. Your more likely to meet with like minded people online than on the street.

Lately, because of things happening in my personal life, and i'v had to cut out alot of stuff; iv got 3 weeks to finish any music comitments, no online access after that, while i figure out aspects of my life. My real life friends havnt been too understanding to the situation. Family is like whatever. The people who have supported me the most... Ormgas members. The peeps i'v met there have helped set ideas up in my head, and offered understanding and best wishes for the situation. no one else has. This isnt the only time this has happened; When i was moving across the country, online friends were helpful. When i was making decisions for travel, online friends supported me.

Mabey i just have fucked up reallife friends or somthing, but i know i'v received more support for the improvment of my music here than anywhere else, and i used to go to a music school. I would trust online friends more than reallife friends, financially or personally. I could become a hermit and be happy as long as the internet held up. The net allows me to communicate with people with similar tastes and ideas.

Zircon: By saying 'new friends', i dont necesarily have to mean your other roomie neighbours. Mabey try a different IRC music room or somthing (mabey change your nic aswell so peeps arnt all 'OMG ZIRCON UR CT MIX IS LIEK OMG COOL D00D!' :P)

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There's definitely nothing wrong with associating mainly with people online, provided you at least make an effort in "real life". Sometimes, you just end up in situations where there aren't people you're really compatible with in your immediate geographical, like where I am now. My parents didn't really have many friends in high school, but after that they did fine and met lets of people that they still communicate with today.

Anyway, what I'm trying to do at the moment is write something more melodic and with an actual chord progression as opposed to strictly electronica like I've been trying to do. Something more in the vein of BT for example (I'm a big fan of his Emotional Technology CD). I haven't had any luck so far, but I'm really giving it my best shot.

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Well.. I spent pretty much my whole night so far on this track, and I came up with the following;

http://www.zirconstudios.com/Mixdown.mp3

Pretty generic chord progression, mixing's not too great, but more importantly I don't know what to do with it. I feel like this would be the ideal time to get vocals - unfortunately, I don't have any.

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has anyone else mentioned exploring other art forms yet? Probably sgx :P

but really, not just drawing/painting/filming/photography, even reading mind opening literature could open new doors of creativity. This could all be a part of po!'s advice of just taking a long break... travel, read some books on the beach, explore some exotic locations that remind you of your most mind blowing dreams, such as your new songs for the South American temple's soundtrack...

Studying abroad might be an awesome opportunity in your college years to really explore not only the musical talents abroad but the lifestyles and beauty of their lands.

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Studying abroad might be an awesome opportunity in your college years to really explore not only the musical talents abroad but the lifestyles and beauty of their lands.

I dunno if i'd recomend Australia for that... popular music seems to have a wider range here (i didnt know til recntly how differnt the acceptance of electronic music is in the US...) however the education of ANY music is very very questionable. Let me give an example: i once applied for a Music Technology corse. I met with the lecturer for a random discussion, and he was talking about the best project from last year.

A student filled up 20 balloons with red paint.

He put them in a dollhouse.

He pressed record on his mic.

He cut up dollhouse + balloons with a chainsaw.

He submitted the recording, and got excelent marks.

I dont know bout you, but i'd rather somthing with, ya know, MELODY or somthing. [/derail]

Zirc, its sounding good. It would suit vocal, but for some reason, growth-wise, i keep thinking of Pendulum - Girl in the Fire... probably because i was thinking of some classic 80s guitar riff leading out of your WiP. Hope the juices get flowing!

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Well.. I spent pretty much my whole night so far on this track, and I came up with the following;

http://www.zirconstudios.com/Mixdown.mp3

Pretty generic chord progression, mixing's not too great, but more importantly I don't know what to do with it. I feel like this would be the ideal time to get vocals - unfortunately, I don't have any.

i like it, imo a good funkycontrapunctual bass would make it beautiful

maybe talk with pixietricks for some vocals, she sounds great in the Chrono Symphonic album...

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Oh yeah, I've definitely had musician's block before. I just don't touch my keyboard or Reason for about a month or so - it usually works for me. Dunno what else to say really, so much has already been said on this thread. Sometimes a lack of highs and lows can block you musically as well - when life is 'just so'. I hope you work your way out of it, 7 months is a long time.

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From the infamous words of same random guy online: "Think for yourself." I'll leave you to ruminate upon that until you have reached enlightenment. Be wary, it is not as simple as it first appears.

Regarding Mixdown: I was kind of expecting an over-the-top slam down synthesizer solo leading into the head banging melody when it stopped, but thats just me. For a more emotional appeal, I'd head for a melody changeup, modewise, (dorian and such), fade out the arpeggiating, bring in the bass guitar.

How could I possibly know what to do next you ask? Why, it's all in the quote.

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I kind of recognise myself throughout this whole topic... I'm in a phase right now that when i created something i like (a good sounding synth, or a great arp or bassline, whatever) i hold back in adding stuff. for instance, i had a really neat tune coming. Then i decided to do some major "pre-mastering" thing, and i totally screwed it up. Problem is, at the time i did it, it sounded ok. But when listening to it on a later time, i felt it sucked.

Same goes for "doodles" i have. I first create a lead and try to make it sound as awesome as possible. But then, i can't continue working on it, because it sounds too awesome to fuck up... That's how i think about my mixes lately.

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I know not everyone functions like this, but I can't just force myself to sit down and start writing music if I don't have any ideas to start with. The harder I try to force inspiration, the less I accomplish. Pressuring myself to be inspired has always been counter-productive 100% of the time.

Don't worry too hard about it. It'll come back. It always does.

EDIT:

Well.. I spent pretty much my whole night so far on this track, and I came up with the following;

http://www.zirconstudios.com/Mixdown.mp3

Pretty generic chord progression, mixing's not too great, but more importantly I don't know what to do with it. I feel like this would be the ideal time to get vocals - unfortunately, I don't have any.

If this is your idea of a slump, I really need to go buy your CD. :lol: This is a fine concept WIP. The melody carries some great emotional tones.

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well I didn't read the whole thread, so maybe some things I will say have already been said, but I'll tell y ou what works for me.

1) Randomly jam on live instruments (keyboards count) on chord progressions other artists have made.

2) when you jam, try changing patches if you're playing on a keyboard or changing from clean to distorted and playing the same thing on an electric.

3) The thing with live instruments is, whenever you learn to play someone else's song, you can tweak it as you want, change chord progression, change structure, change melody WITHOUT THINKING, just by jamming, and come up with a nearly unrecognizable song to call your own.

4) Furthermore, you can jam with people and improve dramatically that way.

Until you are ready to learn to play (well) a live instrument, I'd suggest doing as many collabs as you can in your songs/remixes. That way, two people can help each other out when they're blocked in the song.

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I know not everyone functions like this, but I can't just force myself to sit down and start writing music if I don't have any ideas to start with. The harder I try to force inspiration, the less I accomplish. Pressuring myself to be inspired has always been counter-productive 100% of the time.

Don't worry too hard about it. It'll come back. It always does.

EDIT:

Well.. I spent pretty much my whole night so far on this track, and I came up with the following;

http://www.zirconstudios.com/Mixdown.mp3

Pretty generic chord progression, mixing's not too great, but more importantly I don't know what to do with it. I feel like this would be the ideal time to get vocals - unfortunately, I don't have any.

If this is your idea of a slump, I really need to go buy your CD. :lol: This is a fine concept WIP. The melody carries some great emotional tones.

Heh, thanks :) There's not a lot I can do with it without a vocalist but maybe I'll keep messing around and see what happens.

It's just sort of a weird phenomenon. As I've said before, pretty much EVERY electronic song I've ever written was written on the spot. What you just described - that you said was 100% counterproductive - is how I wrote all of Impulse Prime and many other random standalone songs. I would sit down at my computer, say to myself "I want to make a good song", and just sort of go to work. My process now isn't any different, it's just not working!

But some great advice has been given so far. I'm strongly considering picking up guitar as a few people have recommended, and as I may have already mentioned, I'm looking into getting a full-range keyboard so I can jam better in my dorm.

What I am actually going to try over the next few days is to PLAN my songs out. Not necessarily with manuscript paper and pencil, but with some kind of a diagram or flow chart. I've never actually done this before, but I read a thread on futureproducers where a bunch of people doing the same type of music as me said it works really well for them.

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I haven't been writing any originals lately, but I've found that planning out my rearrangements before hand, with just a pencil and some notebook paper, really eliminates all the depressing hours of just sitting in front of the screen browsing through samples and patches looking for inspiration.

I finally decided to start working on a resub of sorts for my Raindance in the Ruins remix. Forcing myself to plan it out has made the process so much more enjoyable for me, as I've accomplished more in one month of off and on work than I usually do in two or three.

Of course, this is just considering the arrangement process - style, form, texture, groove, instrumentation, etc. To write a song (the notes) in your head away from an instrument, you've got to have a well-developed ear. Otherwise, you have no palette to work from.

Hope you emerge from the slump you've found yourself in. Perhaps it isn't so much a sudden lack of creativity as it is a (temporary?) loss of enthusiasm for the genre you work in.

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That is an interesting point, but I don't think it's the case. I've probably said this several times in the thread, that while I work in a lot of different genres, electronic music gives me the most enjoyment. I have a lot of electronic music on my playlist that I still am fond of, and I usually pick up new songs every week.

Sure, doing ethnic/orchestral songs is challenging, and I get some sense of satisfaction for making a soundtrack that really fits in a game, but what I really want to do is making totally original works in my favorite genre; electronica. I think that's all MOST musicians want to do, when it boils down to it :)

Anyway, I spent about an hour today working out a plan for a song with pen and paper. I basically did the introduction of the song, outlined some rhythms, what kind of tones I wanted, and then a possible structure for the chorus. When I get home I'll work on putting it into action.

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Planning your songs sounds like a good idea. I've seen how Dream Theater write some of their songs, using basic ideas from other bands and completely modifying them, and writing their song structure based on these ideas.

What I really like about this idea is that you can listen to a specific part in a song you can't stop listening to, and try to make your own interpretation. Obviously, in the end, the more different it sounds, the better; it's just meant as a starting point.

One good example would be:

1) Intro, slow pads a la Shine on your Crazy Diamond

2) Fade in sad broken arpeggios, progression like Yngwie Malmsteen's Angel (something like this, I can't remember the title)

3) BAM! Entering heavy drum'n bass a la Pendulum

4) Sweet melody on the shakuhachi (a la FF6 Terra).

5) etc.

Mixing genres, or instruments from other genres, can be really helpful too. Take a rock song, like something from Bon Jovi or F-Zero or Top Gear and try adapting it for koto or accordion, for example. They do some rock or sad songs in Naruto OST with koto/shamisen (I dunno) rock solos and it sounds really creative and original.

Analyzing songs you love often helps too. Say there's a passage you like, you can analyze it and find out why it sounds so good in a more therotical way. That way, you can reproduce it in your music. Say you really like a passage in a melody because there's a third played over the root, then a second played over VII and a root played over VI (well that would not be very original), you can use it to base your melodies on that.

Experimenting with odd time signatures also can help you augment your creativity, because it's something we don't hear often in mainstream music, especially electronica. Try to write a totally swinging drum groove in 7/8, that should inspire you.

The reason why I'm telling you all that is in fact to develop your inner hear. Sitting in front of a computer makes the music a mostly 'visual' experience where you become to 'see' where the notes should be and at what moment. By simply jamming at random over a progression, you can make mistakes that actually sound cool, experiment with different scales and all that. Your ear and muscles control the music you make, and that makes the experience totally different, thus strengthening your creative possibilities. You might end up just making your bag-o-licks bigger, but that would already be a huge help.

The way I see it, as I already told you, you have a signature sound (recognizable through both your sewer themes). I'd personally try to experiment over this kinda sound since it seems to be your forte, mixing evil-clown pizzicatos and dramatic strings with heavy and thick sounding electronic textures.

Anyways, good luck

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That is an interesting point, but I don't think it's the case. I've probably said this several times in the thread, that while I work in a lot of different genres, electronic music gives me the most enjoyment. I have a lot of electronic music on my playlist that I still am fond of, and I usually pick up new songs every week.

Sure, doing ethnic/orchestral songs is challenging, and I get some sense of satisfaction for making a soundtrack that really fits in a game, but what I really want to do is making totally original works in my favorite genre; electronica. I think that's all MOST musicians want to do, when it boils down to it :)

Anyway, I spent about an hour today working out a plan for a song with pen and paper. I basically did the introduction of the song, outlined some rhythms, what kind of tones I wanted, and then a possible structure for the chorus. When I get home I'll work on putting it into action.

I'm curious to know what you write down on your pen and paper.

I've never been good at writing notes on a staff, since my ear sucks (it took me 6 months of ear training for me to recognize a Major 6th from a Minor 6th). I'm wondering if you just use a staff, or if there's some other way you do things.

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