Archive for the 'perfection' Category


recordings, and Flatland

Lately, I’ve been recording an album for a friend.  This has me thinking about the recording process, and how it’s similar to photography… namely, that both are very limited representations of the event they are trying to capture.  Obsessing over “accuracy” when making recordings of any sort is somewhat irrational, because recording itself is so relativistic.  What, exactly, constitutes “accurate”?  Put two different microphones in front of a guitar, get two different sounds… and neither sounds the same as listening to the guitar in the room.  Likewise, what the guitarist hears is different than what a listener hears!

In photography, the distortions and misrepresentation are more obvious, so I think they’re a little more tolerated.  But audio recording?  Why does anyone think this sounds “real”?

The residents of Flatland had no idea that they lived on a two-dimensional plane in three-dimensional space.  But we do, sort of.



The other day, the Feng Shui Ninjas had a limited rehearsal… only Justin (percussion and accordion) could make it.  So Justin and I had some time to discuss where we’re going musically, and art in general.  One problem we discussed a lot was completion… turning an idea into a finished product.  Part of it applied to the Feng Shui Ninjas… we rehearse most weeks, yet after a year, we have yet to play a real public gig (parties and cons don’t count), and really, I don’t think we’re capable of an hour’s worth of quality, uninterrupted material we play well.  We do play well, and have a lot of fun, but our rehearsals are unfocused, a mile wide and an inch deep.  We need a real repertoire, not just random ideas.

Justin highlighted the problem when he realized he says he’s “going over to Dave’s to jam”, rather than saying he’s “going over to Dave’s to rehearse”.  It’s an important distinction.  We jam a lot, and that’s fun, but it’s not really solid rehearsal, and the results show.  We don’t complete our playing.

And it’s not just this band, either… I have a huge stack of recordings that I’ve started but haven’t finished.  Justin has a novel he’s been neglecting.  It’s hard to get from the point  of playing with an idea, to the point where it’s really polished and ready to share with the rest of the world.  Good enough for my pleasure isn’t the same as good enough for an audience’s pleasure.

Need to complete more things.


The perfect is the enemy of the good

This is another motto that’s been on my mind much lately (albiet mostly in political contexts).  It’s all over art, and is one of the curses of G.A.S.   If you get too caught up in trying to be perfect, you lose track of simply being good.  It can actually PREVENT productivity… worrying that it’s not perfect is a perfect excuse for hiding your work away, from others and from yourself.