No announcement yet.

Help. I'm Stuck.

  • Filter
  • Time
  • Show
Clear All
new posts

  • Help. I'm Stuck.

    No no, I don't need anyone to call the Fire Department or anything to help me out of a tight spot that I managed to get wedged between. What I mean is that I have just hit a solid brick wall with my production. I can't help but feel that I just don't have access to ways of making the sounds that I am aiming for. And experimentation, no matter how radically different the direction I take with 'cooking a synth' is, ultimately just yields the same old results. The 2 people that follow me on SoundCloud probably think that I died chugging down excessive amounts of diet soda or something but I can assure you that it's just all 'artist's block' related.

    There are some really darn talented musicians that frequent this forum, and the most recent Ambient Online Compilation has me solidifying this belief. So I thought it would be cool to ask you guys: What could I possibly do? :daydream:

  • #2
    Hey I've been exactly where you are for most of this year as it happens. My advice would be to try experimenting with something totally different sound wise. Have you ever tried composing something orchestral? Or maybe grab a synth you've never used before and see where that goes. Anyway, the main point is to not get stressed about it believe me, I know.
    Good Luck man and feel free to hit me up if you want to talk.

    My record label


    • #3
      Hey hey, thanks for the reply.

      Yeah, I've tried composing something with that sort of orchestral vibe but part of me feels as though I just don't have the right tools to make it sound any good. Or that I wouldn't have the known-how in regards to utilising it properly. I am a nasty perfectionist when it comes to that sort of stuff. As for your second idea, I do have a few VSTs lying around that I've never really used ... maybe it's time to just do a bit of playing around and see what I come up with. Maybe I'll give Crystal a whirl. That thing has just sort of been sitting there. Thanks for the advice!


      • #4
        Keep playing. Record everything. Keep playing. The more you play and practice, the better you'll become. Don't worry if what you're doing right now sucks. You should always be able to come up with *something*, no matter how trite. The only way to overcome a 'block' is to ignore your inner critic.


        • #5
          Well, obviously you aren't buying enough VSTs. Go, buy! :D

          I am kidding, of course. You probably have all you need right there in front of you. I'd doubt the problem is that you do not have any ideas, but that none of the ideas you are having are exciting to you currently.

          My own way of working is less synth-based and more effects-based. Try grabbing a synth that is giving you some or most of what you are seeking, and then experiment with your effects. I never get bored with delays.

          Another way you may spur your creativity is going against your own grain: whatever you normally do, don't. ​For example, if you do long form, slowly morphing pieces, try limiting yourself to a series of very brief pieces of 2 minutes or even less. If you do less structured work, try something with a beat. Create some boundaries and try and stick to them. I find a pleasure in the irony that creating limitations sometimes opens up new possibilities or new ways of approaching an old problem.


          • #6
            1) Take a break. Read a book. Watch some movies. Video games. Listen to music. Whatever. Get inspired.

            2) Deconstruct a track you like, or even one you don't like. If you're making ambient, maybe even a different genre. Figure out what's really going on. Then try to figure out the techniques involved in the production and apply them...

            3) To your own tracks. Start making them. (Again.)

            Hopefully you are now unstuck.
            Ascendant Bandcamp // SoundCloud // FaceBook // Twitter


            • #7
              people have come up with all sorts of strategies to encourage creativity. Here are some - they need to be adapted to music, but in some ways having to do that makes them even more useful

              this is from Eno and is particularly useful for music
     online version here


              • #8
                I used to eschew samples in favor of synthesis, but after really getting into sample manipulation, it opened up an entirely different world to me. Now I carry my field recorder everywhere and have as many ways to process samples as some people have synths or plugin synths.

                Sample manipulation isn't for everyone, and it's certainly not the only way, I'm just saying that it never hurts to explore other avenues because you never now what will strike your Muse's fancy. I'm building a modular now, just to record it and mangle that bitch lol...

                I also have an "entrainment" app on my iPhone that has a "creativity" setting. I can't even tell you if this pseudoscience works for real, but even if it's a placebo and is just tricking my brain because I expect it to do something, it technically works and I find myself ready to go after 5-10 minutes or maybe 15 of listening to the binaural beats...
                Last edited by KrisM; 10-19-2014, 10:50 PM.


                • #9
                  A lot of good advice here already. By-passing that inner harsh critic I think is crucial - how to do it might not be so easy though. I read some advice on how to get past writers block some years ago, and it focused on two steps: !. Write whatever comes to mind, anything really, and do not judge it at all. 2. Leave it for some time, and return to edit as if it was written by someone else.

                  What I have found during my years of creative work, is that sometimes it's not necessarily the work you do that is the problem. It's the general mood you are stuck in. What's working for me is taking long walks in the forest, eating well and finding time each day to meditate. Surprisingly fast, sometimes from one day to the next, things seem to open up again. Instead of going up against the same walls, my mind has become agile again and find new directions to travel in.
         | |


                  • #10
                    Originally posted by imi fal View Post
                    A lot of good advice here already. By-passing that inner harsh critic I think is crucial - how to do it might not be so easy though. I read some advice on how to get past writers block some years ago, and it focused on two steps: !. Write whatever comes to mind, anything really, and do not judge it at all. 2. Leave it for some time, and return to edit as if it was written by someone else.
                    I think everybody hits what they perceive to be "the creative wall" from time to time, and everyone has to find their own way to navigate the obstacle. Having said that, the points raised above certainly resonate with me. I have 30 projects in my WIP folder, which I dive into on a sporadic basis, and another thousand or so "building blocks", or ideas for pieces. This weekend I worked on my latest track, and when I felt that I couldn't take it any further that day, worked on another piece for half-an-hour or so, and then moved on to another one. I have found that leaving tracks alone for a considerable length of time to let them ferment can be very productive. Listening later with fresh ears can be an eye-opening experience. If mixing tracks proves to be problematic, one can always mix metaphors :roll:

                    My main problem seems to lie in finding the time to work on anything at all. Life just seems to take up most of my time.
                    Whatsisname's Little Fluffy Clouds | Campsite | Hearthis | Orfium | SeismicTC | Twitter | Ello


                    • #11
                      Eno's Oblique Strategies would be useful here. Anybody got a set?
                      I too feel to have drifted into a creative slump. Compared to 2010 (my most productive year), I have really slowed down. Studying a degree at University hasn't left me with much time either. I've also shifted to taking a more compositionally active approach to making my music, rather than juxtaposing different sounds and seeing how it turns out. Since I am not a proper musician, this gets quite hard sometimes.
                      But try this trick; I find myself to be most creative just before sleep. Often I will lie in bed, trying to sleep at bedtime, when I get new ideas forming about the tracks I am working on. Since I keep a dream journal at bedside, I have quick and easy access to a way I can write it down, then try it out next day.
                      Hope that helps.


                      • #13
                        For me, taking time off works best. I read some books or get back to other things I've been neglecting

                        When I come back to music, everything feels new and fresh and interesting again, and I tend to bring something new to it.

                        I sort of cycle between obsessive music making and being sick of it. It works for me