Thinking back on the last few tracks I’ve written, I noticed something that I thought I’d share.

Some tracks clearly come together from the bottom-up: first the sounds, then beats, then sections, then overall structure. It’s like building a wall, one brick at a time. You start with nothing, then add elements one piece at a time until it’s done. Free As a Neutrino… and Leisured Forfeit were both done this way, for example. It may be a hasty generalization, but I think most of my more listener-friendly tracks use this technique.

Other tracks start out with broad washes of sound or noise, and the structure comes from carving away layers where they’re not needed, creating space and motion. In The Future We Shall Know Less was done this way. My noisier tracks tend to be, the ones that are a bit heavier on texture and less on structure.

Then there are some that combine the two approaches. The way these work is a bit like hand-sculpting chunks of masonry, mortaring them together, hacking away at the results and repeating the process again over and over until a shape gradually emerges. The low-level details and wide scale structure emerge together out of each other. These are without a doubt the hardest tracks to finish, because I spend a lot of time while I’m working on them lost as to exactly what I’m doing and where it’s going to wind up.

All the same, I find them the most satisfying to complete, and the most mysterious: these are the tracks I find myself coming back to years later, scratching my head and saying, “I did this, really?” Bleem is one of these. I had no idea what I was doing through most of it, and it still puzzles me how it ever got done.

I might make a conscious effort to combine these approaches more in future work, if it doesn’t slow me down too much. In any case, I think it’ll be helpful to have identified a new axis along which I can place things, another degree of freedom in deciding how I can work and what directions I can take.