Wednesday, 28 June 2017

Hermes’ Hermit

I’ve spent the last three or four months both moving house and writing the Gnomeus Gnomeficarum, with Tonttufindergeneral Hanz-Baal of Tonttu. It’s been a particularly hectic period, that rounded off what has been, for me, a rather difficult year or so – but I finished moving house some six weeks ago, have settled into my very lovely new home, and the book will at last be finished in just a few days’ time. All of which creates an opportunity to take stock, and change direction.

In the latest in something of a lengthening line of non-career moves on my part, I am, for perhaps the next couple of years – and certainly for the next few months – going to be having some time off from both recording music and writing. I’ve been writing and recording for almost twenty years, now, without ever taking a break for very much longer than a week or two – so for a time, over the coming months and years, I hope to live like one of those Normal Human Beings® that you hear about, and focus on nothing more complicated than walking my dog, reading books, listening to music, etc., without every moment of my spare time being consumed by my work.

Of course, realistically, that won’t last – I know myself too well to be able to deceive myself into thinking that. But even when the urge to write and make music returns, as it inevitably will, you won’t be hearing much from me for quite a while.

Looking back over the years, I see that the work I’m very proudest of has always been made when I’ve not been putting myself under pressure to maintain a schedule of releases, but have instead taken a step back from the world, into the kind of hermit-like solitude that suits me best, and taken my time, and allowed the work to develop at its own pace, rather than hurrying it along in order to keep the releases coming.

One of the advantages of not seeing my art as a career is that there’s no good reason why I have to keep running on the treadmill of putting out regular releases just for the sake of having released something, in order to inform the world of my continued existence. Over the coming months and years, I intend to very much take advantage of that fact.

Once I’ve had a bit of time off, I’m going to start making some music that I will be spending a very long time over. For a good while – probably a year at least – this will involve recording nothing at all, but rather studying counterpoint, listening to a hell of a lot of medieval, renaissance and baroque music, and sitting playing (not recording) my synthesizer. Then – and only then – there will be a probably-even-longer period of actual recording.

As for my writing: who knows what comes next? Not I! All I really know is that I’m not done with the Hermetic Typewriter yet. Although that too will be lying fallow for the time being.

Although all of this will probably take at least a year or two to play out, and in that time you’ll not be hearing very much from me, there will be a couple of releases over the next month or two, before I entirely retreat into my hermitage: the aforementioned Gnomeus Gnomeficarum, and also Oberon, the second of my Xenomancer EPs – both of which will be released by Panicmachine. There may also be two or three more already-completed works released, over the coming couple of years – we’ll see. I’ll certainly keep this website, and my twitter account, updated with those releases, if and when they happen. But as far as new material (including twitter microfiction) goes – I will be falling silent for quite some time.

Of course, I do reserve the right to change my mind! The whole point of all of this, after all, is to get my art-making back on my terms, rather than conforming with the world’s expectations of What Career-Artists Ought To Do. And you never know, I might feel inclined to return sooner than I currently think. Somehow I find it hard to believe that that’s what’s going to actually happen, though.

Thank you to everyone who has shown an interest in my work, over the years. I expect some people will drift away while I’m gone, and to those people I say: thank you and farewell! My best wishes go with you. I’ll be seeing the rest of you in a year or two’s time.