Monday, March 28, 2022

“Shameless Self Promotion”

Throughout the years of being a content creator. I have been accused of “self promotion” a couple of times. Though once recently, which made me think inward a little and it provoked an interesting discussion with my other half.
Actually, I’m surprised I haven’t been accused of it more often to be honest. I’m aware that I shamelessly share my videos and content around social media and groups etc. So only being accused of “Self promotion” a handful of times actually surprises me. Oh how wonderfully patient you all are with me :o))

But after that interesting discussion, I wanted to share a little of my thoughts here about it.

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For the sake of context (because context is key, especially with regards to having a nice rational discussion or point of view) I’ll share a summary of my background.
I basically came from a past of naturally selling myself short, It’s how the surroundings shaped my mind. And where I believe my shyness comes from. I did a lot with my projects back in the day, despite someone telling me:
“Maddi! You don’t look good shopping for electrical components”
as I was shopping in a Tandy Store for LEDs, E10 torch bulbs, pp3 battery clips and switches at the tender age of eight. (Yeah the “weird” kid). The only one who gave any sort of support was my oldest brother, he knew what I liked and let me be. He’s the one who got the Amiga 500 and introduced me to Pac-Mania.

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It’s difficult as it is being a shy and quiet nerdy type, and being a girl on top of that, adds a whole paradoxical dimension to the situation. Luckily I was left to my own devices at home, everyone was just too busy in their own lives, so I was mostly in a different room doing my own thing. It did, however, come at a bit of a price, socially. After the many encounters with subtle and underhanded negative reinforcement dotted throughout my life. At a period of time like my teens, what other conclusion does one come to other than thinking about keeping it all to oneself to avoid conflict for everybody else’s comfort. It’s only natural that a teen’s confidence gets chipped little by little over time.

As a result, In my late teens, I stopped doing any electronics, my music creation slowed down in my early 20s. I kept at this constriction and “keeping the peace” until the age of 32.
So what has burst this bubble? Well, it started dawning on me that “keeping the peace” externally by keeping everyone else comfortable, didn’t keep me at peace internally.

A recent birthday leaves me 39 years old and with not all that much to show for it. Another thing that made me ponder about all this. I won’t lie, I regret the curbing of my passions now and feel many years have been lost and wasted keeping other people’s insecurities in their comfort zone. I’ve learned a harsh lesson, that a lot of people out there do not actually want you to be you, not in the real sense.

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They want you to be the pawn on their little chessboard, or maybe you can eventually graduate to be a knight, bishop or even a queen if they’re feeling generous or having a good day, but as long as you are within the conforms of their little chessboard. And as time goes on, I’m realising this is more apparent than I initially thought.

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So the breaking point was when I just began to express my passion for electronics, Amiga and all the “nerdy stuff” and “arty farty” stuff once again, but as an adult this time. At age 32, I started enjoying things and letting my passions flow. And it began again. “What’s the point of her doing all this?”. “Why is she so weird” and “She’ll never find a husband doing all this”. I remember an uncle once telling me “you know what would suit you more than all this stuff? Being a carer, because you care for other people’s feelings so much, I say you should go for that. It is best for you”.

I looked at him quietly after he said that and he struggled to maintain eye contact for too long.

I’m all for caring for people and empathy, as I’m naturally an ‘empath’ apparently. But 35 years of emotional servitude for other people’s “feelings” and insecurities has left me barren and derelict. And not just any people, it happens with strangers a lot, but when it’s people who you’d think would be looking out for you, protect you, love you or encourage you. Sure, actions speak volumes, but not without consistency and purity.

Caring for someone who truly loves and cares for you or truly genuinely needs it, if they’re a stranger, is a must. It’s unconditional by nature and you’re not f**king supposed to be underhandedly punished for it, devalued for it, manipulated and taken advantage of. There is absolutely no excuse for this outright evil.

But caring and sacrificing for someone who is tortured internally by your success and tortured by your unwillingness to conform to the image of you which they have in their mind, and the position you ’should’ be in, is outright self-sabotage. It doesn’t matter how they present their discomfort to you, no doubt in a manipulative or underhanded manner.

At this point, it was 2015, I had started my Youtube channel and was playing Minecraft on it, creating videos for my niece and young cousin, who both used to watch my videos as the three of us were into Minecraft in a big way at the time.

So just out of curiosity, I confided in an acquaintance about all this and talked about people’s reactions towards me being into things like this, just to directly seek some outsider perspective.
His response was “Well, you will find that people will not like you for being into all this, people don’t like it if you do things that they don’t understand, or if you do things which they cannot do. So I say, it’s best to hide your passions and don’t let anyone know you do all this.”

Even though slowly nodding my head while listening to his “advice”, I was calm on the outside, but I felt something within me, snap, on the inside. Said “Thanks for the advice”.

I think by now, those of you who know me, truly, know where the “I’m going to do what I do, whether you like it or not” attitude comes from, that ‘snap’ which, by the way, is also the ignition to my youtube channel and all what I do till this day.

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Yeah, I know I do a lot of “shameless self promotion”. But in a world where many who have tried to hold me back behind the scenes, especially for doing things the honest and genuine way, off the cuff . I don’t have any team to help me set things up or give me ideas or edit my videos, I’m not part of any “I scratch your back and you scratch mine” elite society or club, I don’t have any special advantage in life, in fact quite the contrary, i’ve had to fight my way through things more. All what I do, I did by myself from the ground up with people trying to water down my foundation before it sets.

So if I don’t share my videos or promote my hard work and effort, my artwork, then who else will?!

How does an artist put their artwork out there? They go to exhibitions.

“Exhibit
1. To hold forth or present to view; to produce publicly, for
inspection; to show, especially in order to attract notice
to what is interesting; to display; as, to exhibit
commodities in a warehouse, a picture in a gallery.
[1913 Webster]”

For those of you who have supported me and love me, especially my other half, Rich, my true friends and family. I wish to say a huge thank you. As well as those of you out there who comment positively, encourage, support and say warm things, make that genuine effort to relate with me, correct me whenever I put myself down, now you know a little more why I reply to your comments and say “This means more than you realise”.

As for those who resent me, have spread stupid rumours about me, who have tried to jeopardise me and my efforts. who still resent me for doing all this, for knowing what I know, and doing what I do. Making something of myself and putting myself out there, I suggest you get up off your ass and do something, open your mind (it may hurt a little but don’t worry, it won’t kill you) get over yourself, open your heart, find your passion, learn something, work hard and fight for your passion just like I did and still am doing, instead of sitting on your ass, sucking lemons and spitting pips everywhere.

Adios.

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Edit:

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Right on!

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Very appreciative of the support in response to this post. Thank you!

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Wednesday, March 9, 2022

My Album ‘Zaman’. Hectic Creativity!

So, it’s been quite an adventure these past 2-3 weeks, first getting my album Zaman completed and recorded. Then secondly the five other things going on in life all at once! Life can get hectic, especially when you’re setting up and starting over ground up and totally renewing a house to the point of a bright fresh start with new positive vibes. That is a journey within itself but we intend to fight through it successfully.

So then, two things happened this February and March. Firstly Polyend tracker, secondly, the completion of my album, ‘Zaman’.

Despite already creating two videos about the Polyend tracker, I’m still not done with it, I need to do a review video on it, but I wish to wait, do a few more tracks on it, get to know it better and so fourth.
One thing I’ll say is that it’s already added to my latest album, Zaman, with my new track Mirrors, which I literally started creating on the Polyend tracker about an hour or two after it arrived in the mail. And that hour or two was spent instantly doing an unboxing and part of the overview video:

When the track was almost complete, around two days later, we happened to take the Polyend Tracker to Rich’s parents house when we went to visit them. It’s ALWAYS for hours as they are great company and lovely to be around. We went to show them the Polyend as they’re very musical people and they were intrigued by it. Rich’s father has a Stylophone which he showed us, it was a birthday gift to him by his daughter. When he showed me it, I had a lightbulb moment, asked if I could borrow the Stylophone for a few minutes while we were still there, instantly turned the vibrato switch on it and connected it to the Polyend Tracker’s input. I sampled a couple of octaves from it and in my track ‘Mirrors’, which you hear on my album, now has a stylophone as one of the lead samples. I couldn’t have asked for a more perfect lead sound sample for this track, it fits like a glove!

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You can watch my ‘Mirrors’ Music video here:

It strangely felt like I was using an Amiga, the sampling and the way I was replacing the main lead sample and the entire experience. The Amiga vibe plus the fact the Polyend tracker is new to me. It kind of gave me a feeling like I was back in the 1990s with my Amiga and my Technosound Turbo cartridge when I first started writing music.

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One thing I will say is that the Polyend Tracker is addictive, I had it on my lap a lot! And I think it will definitely be a part of my future music creation. Though that doesn’t mean to say that I’m going to replace the Amiga with the Polyend, by no means, there’s something that the Amiga has which the Polyend doesn’t entirely have. Also the Amiga and Soundtracker Pro 2 has been with me since the 1990s. It still gives me that warm feeling inside me when I’m creating music on it or doing whatever else on it. The Polyend tracker sort of accentuates the Amiga in my experience, I use the Polyend Tracker more as an extension of it.

Actually I’ve done an Amiga vs Polyend Tracker video here, where I compare it with the tracker programs of the Amiga.
Watch here:

My album ‘Zaman’ has also been reviewed by Bob from RetroRGB, I didn’t expect this at all! What a pleasant surprise! Bob goes through each track and writes about how it makes him feel and what it reminds him of. You can check out his review here:

https://www.retrorgb … sed-on-an-amiga.html

In his review, Bob mentions that he didn’t notice which single track in the album was done on the Polyend Tracker until he watched my video on the recording process of the album. It makes me happy to hear that it blended into it that well, surely the spirit of the Amiga is being carried into the Polyend Tracker when I create music on it with the Amiga in my heart, I’ve had a few other comments in response to my ‘Mirrors’ music video stating the same.

The recording was fun but hectic! Simply because there was a birthday get together we were hosting which we had to prepare for the very next day, not to mention filming and getting the recording process of Zaman video, edited, rendered and released. It ended up being released after 3am! And a very exhausted me and very exhausted Rich (who sorted out the get together side of things, bless him) woke at around 8am the next day and started with sorting everything else out.
I’ll tell you something, it’s never a dull moment around here!

Watch the recording process of the album Zaman here:

Also the title track ‘Zaman’ I actually created two years ago, it was the first track I did using the Yamaha Reface CS which I had just newly bought back then. So this album does go back and forth in time a little. The track ‘Siesta’ I created way back in 1996.

The creating of the title track ‘Zaman’:

There is one thing about this household that I love. Sure we may work hard, struggle a bit and go through a lot, we certainly do play hard as a result, there is a lot of warmth, love and laughter that happens around here and all the struggles and hurdles become worth it in the end!
It was Rich’s fathers birthday get together and it couldn’t have gone better. It was lovely to have the extended family around, happiness and laughter all-round. And I have an album released as well as that, which they were all enjoying as it was playing the background on part of the evening. so a win-win all around in the end.

I’ve learned a couple of things from all this. Firstly, even though I don’t have a dedicated space for my projects at the moment, everything is everywhere, literally. I can still find a space in the house and set up somewhere, film a video, sure it takes more effort and can be a bit of a struggle. But as you saw in the Zaman recording process video, I’m in a room where the wall has damp damage due to badly installed wardrobes from the previous owners which we had to rip out, its semi painted. But knowing that Zaman was recording in this place and this situation, I’d like to think gives the album itself a bit of character. I sort of liked the fact that it wasn’t recorded in some pristine recording studio, or some cold clinical feeling recording room.

Speaking of recording, I’m yet to release the video where I choose physical media for Robin (Rich’s Father) and record Zaman onto his minidisc, plus other formats for our personal use. I think you fellow cassette, minidisc, and audio recording enthusiasts will enjoy this upcoming video! With regards to my album however, in future I do plan on doing physical releases of my music, hopefully on cassette, possibly CD, but really trying to aim for vinyl in future!

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A little with regards to the house itself, we have had no help in decorating so we’re basically slotting in decorating time whenever we can, while juggling other things simultaneously. It also costs a lot so we have to pace it all, getting wood from timber yards and creating workbenches and desks isn’t cheap and it’s a lot of work. In fact extracting a dark gloomy energy from a house and replacing it with warmth, love and positivity is not easy, it’s not just about a lick of paint here and there, a lot needs to be worked on, a lot of inner work too, certain things need to run their course, patience is required and a lot of graft required, not just externally but internally, within each involved in it.
Sure it’s taking longer than we initially thought. Considering the whole house needs something done to it as well as a lot of other things need working on and to run their course. But after all this effort and investment, I feel it will end up wonderful in the end, actually the more hardships that come our way and that we can overcome, the stronger we get.
After all if we go through hardships and struggles and then not let them allow us to experience the wondrous contrast they bring afterwards, the love, the joy and happiness in a home that has heart beyond the surface décor, then we are missing the point of life itself.

Secondly I’ve learned, I’m definitely going to plan a bit better, in advance when it comes to my next album(s). The recording and releasing of my album and music is not as straight forward as it was with the previous two albums: ‘Waterfall’ and ‘Memorias’. It definitely has been more involved. But the journey of the process, from sowing the seeds to the journey of nurturing, is what the entirety of the point is, it’s what gives a fulfilling end result. I’m noticing these days that I seek the beginning and journey of anything I’m fascinated with, whether it’s a creative process or someone’s personal experience. After all, you cannot have a genuine destination without a beginning and a journey.

A destination without a genuine journey is like a bright showy flower, stolen from another’s garden, that has been planted in the thief’s barren land. Without roots, it will eventually fall and wither or be blown away by the wind, leaving nothing but barren land, which will cause the fear driven thief to steal more flowers from the luscious gardens to cover up the withering and to impress people with in order to give others and themselves an illusory increase in value.
But nothing can ever substitute nor conceal a fruitful garden where all the trees and flowers have roots.
A well kept blossoming garden will always prevail over barren lands with glitz, glamour and illusory ladders.

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Here is my album ‘Zaman’ (meaning ‘Time/Era’ in Arabic) on Bandcamp:

https://msmadlemon.b … camp.com/album/zaman

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