I wrote back in January that this was shaping up to be a very productive year. I had finished and posted four new ukuphambana tracks by early March — six if you include the noise bits I created in the process of practice jamming for the Zero Times Infinity show. Now here it is, nearly June, and … nothing. What’s going on?

One factor was the ZTI show itself: it takes time to work out what kind of setup to use for a show, quite a bit of time to develop and practice techniques for live performance, and yet a bit more time to set the studio back up again afterwards. Making it worse, I allowed myself to fall prey to the urge to reorganize the studio before putting everything back together again. This is a terribly seductive form of procrastination, because although it generally results in some long-term workflow improvements, it’s the death of productivity while it’s happening. There are rewards to performing music live, but there are also good reasons I don’t do it very often, and they all boil down to the opportunity cost in lost production time being too heavy.

Next, there’s my annual technology investment. Early spring when my tax refund comes in, I generally buy some bit of new gear, and it takes some time for me to get my head around how to use it and how it’s going to fit into the rest of my studio arsenal. This is an embarrassingly self-indulgent thing to complain about, but it does have an impact (which I conveniently forget every year when the prospect of acquiring new toys beckons.)

Then there’s the annual shift in my daily schedule. Over the cold winter months, I’m a night owl, working on music after the children are in bed, then sleeping as late as I can get away with the following morning, but in summer it’s easier for me to get up early before the rest of the family to hit the studio and turn in before sunset every night. Either one works pretty well, actually. It depends on when I find it easier to muster the energy and when I’m least likely to be disrupted by family concerns, and these things vary with the seasons. But during the transitional times between one schedule and the other, it’s hard to make time for music.

Though I find it frustrating to admit that I have slow periods, I guess it’s good that I’ve been at this long enough that I can see them coming and have at least some idea when they are likely to occur and why. It gives me at least a toehold into improving the situation, and helps me keep the whole thing in perspective.

Oh, one more reason for the delay, and this is the best bit: I’m working on one hell of a new track. It’s weird and sprawling, and it’s taking me some time to tame it. It’ll be well worth the wait once it’s finally done. At the current rate of progress, I give it another week or two. Stay tuned!