Moving forward with my planned performance I have made some decisions on how it will be presented based on the evolution of my writing process. Because of the nature of my performance and its crucial tie to my production project ‘flatpack’ I have decided to create simple videos that will play between songs explaining that each song is written experimentally and describing the techniques used to compose them.
I have also decided to incorporate a lighting system of several standard lamps with classic edison style squirrel cage bulbs around the stage. These would be operated either manually by myself and the other performers on stage or potentially controlled by a Max MSP patch that would respond to the sounds on stage.
It’s becoming more clear that other performers will be definitely required to play on stage with me to attain the aesthetic that I’m attempting. I feel I will need a bass player, a percussionist and maybe some backing vocals. I don’t feel that the genre I am writing for warrants use of a keyboard particularly.
Here is the final printed copy of my product.
As a last minute decision, I have decided to include an additional item with the EP. I have decided to add a flat-pack style instructional diagram displaying broadly the techniques involved in creating the project.
The paper will be folded and placed inside the casing of the product. It contains images broadly resembling flat-pack instructions with a dice and set of dominoes you can cut out and assemble for personal use and songwriting using the same principles as I have used.
It’s become difficult to know where to place Flatpack in terms of marketing. It seems to me to sit inside a grey area between the niche and the commercial. I think as an experimental project it could probably be considered as an arts project more than a commercial project made for the purpose of sale but on the other hand, looking back to the very beginning of the conception of these ideas I wanted to challenge the stereotype of the commercial singer songwriter by releasing a commercially viable product containing genuine written music.
I would say that if I had to label a target for this product it would sit somewhere in the same region as folk and indie genre products. A younger audience would most likely be the primary demographic but also those more interested in the broader more avant-garde art forms would appeal to this type of album. The issue I have with targeting a specific demographic is that to fully be invested and interested the potential consumer would already have an interest in songwriting and the theory of it.
Although I do see the product as the result of an arts project I do think it has the potential to stand on it’s own in the commercial music market. It’s main redemption in this sense is the way its displayed. It’s new and interesting as a form. The artwork design is eye catching and appealing and I think the music, although sometimes unconventional due to the writing process is still viable to be sold to a commercial audience.
People more and more are consuming less music through physical media and more through digital media directly from the internet. I would argue that the best platform to distribute this product would be at gigs and showcases of my work in the form of the live show that ties with this project. People interested in my music and the songwriting form as a general concept would probably buy the product, especially if they had the background information provided at the gigs and showcases of my work.
The design of the artwork had to be eye catching and contemporary to appeal to a broader market but also follow my stylistic aesthetic in keeping with my core theme. I have decided to call the project ‘Flatpack’ because in discussing the concept with other people i found myself using this word to describe it constantly. I think it’s a good title because it summarises the core principles of the project, it’s a widely understood phrase, and its playful in it’s association with this Ikea type concept.
This is the front cover of the EP itself. I went with a predominantly black and white theme to be reminiscent of the flat-pack style instruction diagrams that are so broadly recognized. I also used Nordic letter accents excessively in the title and my name to infer this relation more firmly. This dice construction diagram has evolved into what I would describe as the logo for the project. It fills all of the criteria and summarizes the project really well. The fact that it’s a dice hints at the random experiments I had been doing and the fact that its a DIY construct-able dice hints at this concept of tutorial and personal construction at the heart of the project.
These two panels are the inside of my case. The first is the left and the second is the right which will house the CD itself. The left panel is the only colour used in the artwork. I felt that keeping the entire product in black and white would seem slightly too bland and the project is playful and interesting with a level of humour which is why I chose the image and text that I chose. I wanted the project to be relatively self explanatory with a certain aspect of a ‘take what you want’ from it as a consumer. Because of this I chose not to include a long paragraph explaining the project, I just felt it wasn’t really needed and this was more suitable an in keeping with the aesthetic I was going for.
The right panel is really decorated in that way to match the CD artwork itself. It follows the same diagonal lines and black and white theme as the front cover but adding the dominoes which have become somewhat synonymous with my idea of the project.
The actual disc shares a design with the right inside panel for coherency. Again its basic black and white design is reminiscent of instruction manuals and it bears the domino insignia that represent random experimental songwriting.
This is the back panel of the product containing the track list. I decided to translate the song titles into Swedish and included both translations of the words to emphasize the aesthetic. Not all of my track names had a direct translation to Swedish and some were simply the same word so I changed a couple of the names to become more interesting linguistically while maintaining the general idea of the original title.
Writing this song was the most pleasurable for me. I spent time in the day asking people for ideas then showing them what I interpreted their ideas as and allowing them to dictate any changes before moving on to another suggestion. I did this for all music and lyrics asking many different people what I should do with the song. I like to think of this process as song writing by committee. Allowing each person to take complete control of whatever part of the song they chose to implement and completely relinquishing any creative input I might have had over to them.
One particular factor of this method was that I never allowed any two people to communicate or discuss any of the song together or with me. Each person would bring to the song what they felt was right for it in their personal opinion. Once a person was happy with what they had implemented, I did not allow other to change these implementations, they could only add to the song, and were not permitted to take away from others inputs.
This again falls similar in process to the dice and dominoes but this time with the addition of suites. I challenged myself this time to make it a vocal only track with no accompaniment. This stretched my creativity by limiting my creative boundaries. I had all of this data from the cards and only two harmonizing vocal lines to apply them to. I found that I could apply the numbers to general notation and the suites to movement through the song. The suites were split into two halves, one half representing the higher melody and the other representing the lower. meaning I could apply two separate vocal lines their notation at the same time.
I generally found this a very difficult song to write because of the mass limitations I had set. There was very little I could do with it without it sounding musically bad. I had to make sure the two vocal lines stayed in harmony to their best ability while still allowing the cards to dictate their individual movements. I eventually managed upon an arrangement that worked but several shuffles of the cards had to be completed with some innovative use of note lengths as note to make the song sound robotic and generated.