Big limbo energy after the push to get Keedysville launched in time for this past ; part of me wants to dive right into finishing a couple more tracks, part of me wants to just, like, chill out for a while and just get back to actually playing and learning tunes, and maybe put something together for October 2, and overall I know I should *really* focus on any number of pragmatic, not-music-related concerns.

I feel like I can reasonably give myself until next weekend to goof off a bit and think about what's next, and still have time to pull together a smaller EP for September 4 if I decide that's what I want to do


I was toying with the idea of trying to rush a minor-key collection in time for October, but I'm going to shelf that for *Next* October; it's a project I've been percolating for a long time and I'd like to do it justice, and maybe even get it together enough to submit it to Bandcamp's editorial team for 'new and noteworthy' consideration (IIRC, this means sending it to them 8 weeks before your planned release date) but, we'll see.

Meanwhile, I've latched onto another short-term looking-backwards project, inspired by the fact that I am preparing to *finally* divest myself of my very first banjo, a Rover RB-20 purchased second-hand 18 years ago, played heavily for about 8-10 months, and barely touched once I upgraded to something better.

I know I'm never really going to play it again (and would have traded it away long before now if I hadn't been hanging onto it to give to a friend of a friend who's now on the out with said mutual friend) but I am a sentimental sap and I've been thinking a lot about the weird summer of 2002 when I bought that banjo and took four lessons while simultaneously preparing for a cross-country move; excitement of new beginnings (both banjo and moving) and sadness at uprooting myself so soon after finding a nice new music store and a good teacher.

I've still got the half dozen or so pieces of tablature that my teacher gave me to work on during those first four lessons, so I'm going to brush up on those tunes and do some quick solo recordings of them using my old Rover banjo... maybe outside with the cacophony of late-summer insects to make them a little more interesting/immersive.

I got out those old tabs today and realized I'd forgotten that my teacher had hand-written half of them in pencil on the fly during my lessons. I looked him up sometime in the last couple of years and learned that he passed away in 2012, so it's a little sad/strange to have these hand-written artifacts... but I'm also glad to have them.

So, yeah, I think this will be a nice little manageable project.

I haven't gone back and listened to everything yet, but any necessary overdubs aside I think I may have just tracked this entire EP this evening. Journeyman solo clawhammer playing on an entry-level banjo, but I did a quick mix on one track and it sounds pretty good. I think my levels were a little bit quiet (still trying to dial in my digital recording sweet spot after years of being stuck in the analog "get it as hot as you possibly can without clipping" mindset) but I think I can work with what I got.

I caught myself trying to talk myself out of releasing this under my @magicians alias the other day (having gone to all the trouble of finding a name that lends itself to the style/image/ethos I hope to cultivate, which is not "trad old-time"), but dammit, it's my "band" and I'll do what I want.

It's part of a process; a Marie Kondo style way to say 'Thank you' to my first banjo before I part ways with it, and to say goodbye to my late banjo teacher again (even though I dedicated my last release to him) and to put old-time music to bed the same way I did the early banjo stuff with 'Keedysville'.

It's certainly not to say I won't ever play clawhammer/stroke style stuff again, just that I'm trying to move on and experiment/blend influences.

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Trying to walk the line between “round off the obvious highs and lows and sweep the middle to see what sounds good and call it a day” and “if you’re not mixing in an anechoic chamber with $10,000 monitors your mix is gonna suck”

The nice thing about banjo, especially a beginner-level banjo with steel strings on it, is that it’s going to sound kinda harsh no matter what you do, and once you find the “yeah that sounds ok” spot there’s not much more you can do with it. At least, not much more *I*, who barely knows what I’m doing, can do with it. It’s also easier with solo banjo than trying to make a banjo sit in a mix with other instruments.

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Album art done, I think, if I can resist the temptation to go back and tweak between now and . Managed a proper front/back/gatefold this time.

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Really feeling that post-release deflation right now, but also looking forward to getting back towards my original vision for the @magicians project, which is neither straight-up old-timey nor straight-up 19th century... but the last two projects have been about different purposes:

On the sentimental side, putting some chapters behind me so I can point to "official" recordings and say "yep, did that." On the technical side, developing a mixing/mastering/release workflow. That's still a work in progress, but I have enough of a grip on it that it shouldn't be a distraction from coming up with arranging/rehearsing/recording now that I have a general approach to things.

Not sure what I may have ready for October's Bandcamp Friday; have to decide if I want to circle back to a couple of irons I've had in the fire or try something totally now.

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Just got word that the banjo I used to record the 'Old Days' EP, --my first, bought 19 years ago-- has sold on consignment, and being the sentimental sap that I am I shouldn't be surprised by how sad I am at the news.

As an instrument, I will not miss it at all; I hardly played it for 18 1/2 of those 19 years and it had been knocking around in its gig bag that whole time. The whole point of the EP was to give it a last hurrah before moving it along.

It's mostly the "familiar object that's been with me for a very long time and now some total stranger has it" aspect of it, and that will fade quickly enough.

Ignoring inflation, I also got about what I paid for it out of the sale, so that's kind of a nice equilibrium. And it's motivation to try moving a couple of other things along.

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