Tales of the Expected

Many years ago, my friend Hugh told me “you should put out an album”. At that time, I was happy just making my music available to listen to online. I asked Hugh, “why?”. and he answered, “for recognition”.
Recognition I thought, what the hell does that mean and à quoi bon, as the french part of me says.

But still, I decided to put out an album. I realised that if something was out there in a finished and unretouchable form forever, it had to have the best sound possible. This got me to Arterra, an art residency in Portugal, to learn mastering. And out the album went.

Radio plays

The first thing that surprised me was that the album got played on radios. A lot of cool alternative stations from all over the world I knew nothing about, but also Australia's national radio, where the presenter gave me an enthusiastic review.  Ah, people are listening to my album on the radio, I thought, how peculiar.

 

 

Reviews

Then reviews came in. The first one was from Richard Allen on A Closer Listen, and it was also enthusiastic. He put me on his year’s top 10 albums. Could what I was doing be actually any kind of good ? I mean, why would this guy who doesn’t know me say anything nice about it ? Then other reviews came in… yes, it did seem like people were telling me, “good work”. And I thought about Hugh”s choice of word, recognition, and I thought ah, I get it now… you have to put your stuff out  in front of complete strangers to know if the time you put on your work of love is actually worth anything.

Next Album

At this point of the story is where the tragedy sets in. I was working happily on my next album, which would use “worldizing” ; I would go out in the country, and rerecord instruments and tacks with natural reverb. All this mixed with field recordings and little birds chipping on happy, sunny music. And then I had a skying accident. Little by little, my left arm went really bad. A year later, I had an operation with general anesthesia… and then all hell broke loose. Fro the 6 following years, I was in absolute pain, had seizures, respiratory arrests… at some point, when I went to sleep at night, I did not know if I would wake up the following morning. Doctors could not make heads or tails of it. 6 years later, I was finally diagnosed with a genetic condition… and got the right treatments. My life went absolutely still for all that time, and the music too.

Druftwood

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So, whatnow...

Well, there you go. The “next” album is almost finished… but it is already past behind me. Now that I have a new lease on life, now that, you know, I can actually stand up and do stuff… I’m just not sure if what I want is to make music on my own. Being an invalid for 6 years is a very lonely adventure. I feel like doing live music again, in fact, I am currently practicing at playing live improv on movie projections.

The condition is a peculiar one, as I have to lift weights and do calisthenics in order to push the pain away. Ironically, my body has never looked so good. I have started coaching people in the park, and I think I actually like doing this more than finishing the mastering and putting out this next album… And I guess all this time reflecting alone connected me to what’s really important. Something changed in the last few months. And now I know that without love, life is shit… and it opened me up to new experiences, I guess. So who knows, stay tuned for Total Normal: the calisthenics rings workout ? And in any case, see you soon for a live concert on a silent movie, if you’re living in Paris.