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Current Season - 2020 - 2019 - 2018 - 2017 - 2016

Entry 2018.0001 — WINNER
Joseph Mancuso
Let Go Harder
New Jersey, USA

Check Out the Album

Original Concept:

In the past two years of JoCoAlbMo, i've done both a highly structured album with a strong personal theme and a ridiculously experimental algorithm piece that should probably not be taken seriously.  This year, i'd like to aim for the middle of the road: an honestly musical endeavor with an eye toward accessibility and quality but built on a foundation of improvisation and a core concept of the importance of letting go.

Artist Post-Game:

2018's JoCoAlbMo challenge was a nice breakthrough for me.  As i originally hoped, i successfully composed an album of songs that were fairly well-written and generally accessible, despite the usual limitations of performance and production that come along with the 31-day timeline (and my usual heavy non-musical commitments).  In addition, i got an album of somewhat diverse material, which is something i often look for in a record.
What surprised me was how my concept shifted almost immediately.  I had originally hoped that "Let Go Harder" would embody the idea implied by its title, and be a largely "off-the-cuff" work (per original concept).  However, as i started working on the material, a more concrete conceptual sequence started to emerge: the message of the importance of "letting go" in art, the despair with which we struggle when looking at the world, and the idea that "letting go" in that larger context can help one view the world as art (and therein find hope).  This set of ideas ran away with the album, and is represented in the flow of songs on the record.  While this shift forced me to push harder to get the record done (and therefore make more production sacrifices than i'd hoped), i consider it a net win, as the final product embodies a great message that i feel the original concept would not have.  Much like "An Ocean" (my first JoCoAlbMo record, 2016), i feel like this record is a great "final draft" for what could be a really great album were it remade with professional production (and, in contrast to "An Ocean", it would be both an easier and far more accessible upgrade).
As usual, i tried hard to meet all the challenge Rules.  The album came in just over 50 minutes (Rule of 40), including a 4.5-minute cover (Rule of 10).  Only the bassline of "Monkeys!" was pre-recorded (Rule of 20) -- a sample taken from last year's 4EARMe record).  Aside from the cover and that bassline, only the lyrics and melody for the choruses of "Indigo" had been written in advance (Rule of 30).  I did, however, make use of the shift to Daylight Savings Time to buy myself an extra hour, and needed to invoke the Rule of 0 to cover a little extra time, as the album's final mix went to disk at ~0113 DST on01 April.  I'm calling that close enough.

Entry 2018.0010 — WINNER
Fear of Blushing
I Can't See The Stars
New York City

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Original Concept:

When we were growing up, we had dreams of how our lives would look as adults. How do our lives compare with our expectations?

Entry 2018.0003 — PARTIAL
KC2
JoCoAlbMo 2018
DWG, NJ

Check Out the Album

Original Concept:

My plan is to create a rigid workflow, as if I was assembling Ikea furniture rather than art. I want to remove most of the idea of "what I feel like focusing on" or "staying in a groove". I've got X hours to produce Y tracks of Za-Zb minutes each. I intend to stagger my assignments so I am forced to jump from one piece to the next constantly. I intend my mental coach to be saying "Too bad, you're doing THIS now."

Artist Post-Game:

While I met important personal goals, and consider the experience a "win", I won't declare that I've won the challenge until I meet the album length requirement. Maybe next year!
My "concept" was to deliberately break the idea of "getting into agroove" or "working when inspired". I set myself a schedule where I forced myself to jump from track to track and sit down with no idea what I was going to do. To this end I was very successful. I discovered I could sit down at any time and within 5 minutes I was in a groove and being productive. I think identifying the thoughts and ideas which hold one back, and then deliberately challenging those ideas, is an important exercise for an artist in any medium.
After the tracks were done and I set about naming them, an actual concept emerged. The album describes a man realizing he doesn't want to live where he is anymore, setting out alone to find a new place to live, and then the thoughts and emotions that can arise on a long, solitary, journey.
I met all the rules except 40. That, to date, is my biggest challenge and one I accept.
Invoke the Rule of 0?  Ha ha.  Never.

Entry 2018.0002
16N
"Trees And People Too"
Northfield, MN

Original Concept:

If it is possible to write an album of music about two specific forests, then I shall do that. If it is not possible to write an album of music about two specific forests, then I will keep tacking ideas onto the core concept until something becomes possible again.

Entry 2018.0004
Axolotl Daydream
"The Dharma of Customer Service"


Original Concept:

A work in progress THIS COULD GO COMPLETELY OFF THE RAILS AND MORPH INTO SOMETHING ELSE ENTIRELY DIFFERENT.

Entry 2018.0005
Snolab
"Stars in Silent Symphony"
Seattle, WA

Original Concept:

This album will explore a lot of techniques that I have never incorporated into my music before, including vocals, vocal pitching/manipulation and the heavy use of analog/hardware synths. The intent will be to come away with a collection of songs that I can perform live.

Entry 2018.0006
Jeff Rogers
"One Word"
El Granada

Original Concept:

A cycle of emotional states, each named by a single word.  Probably gonna be instrumental.  We'll see :)

Artist Post-Game:

I started with great intent, ideas for a set of tracks to put together forming a quirky evolution of sound, tied together by a common letter -- Healthy, Happy, Hurt, Heavy, Heal, Hope.
Then, I had to drive home.  And that drive home can be tiring. Most nights, by the time I was home I wasn't in the mood to do more than stare useless at the computer, never mind picking up an instrument. It didn't help that my "studio" is covered up and blocked behind the stuff I have to move out of the garage to make room for thin mints.
So lesson learned: make sure my gear is accessible, and make sure to do it before the month starts. Once a week goes by, it's disheartening to think about it.
There's also the ever-present perfectionism -- that worry that whatever I record will be crap, or that I'll spend time messing with gear/sounds/settings/etc. instead of making music. I know,completely missing the point of JoCoAlbMo -- recording something that's crap is perfectly acceptable.
Maybe I need the constant reminders. "3 weeks left! You should have 11.2 minutes recorded by now!"
Or a collaborator. *sigh*

Entry 2018.0007
Max Fill
"Action Required"
Plattsburgh, NY

Original Concept:

It may be a bit on-the-nose, here, but it's a concept near and dear to me, to be sure: the strength needed to walk forward through the biting wind of frustration, discomfort, adversity to that better-than-simple-and-fleeting-comfort fulfillment that perseverance earns.
(This and all the sort of placehoder information here, artist and album name included could and probably will change, if I know indecisive-me, at all. I just know that if I don't put *something,* I won't do ... well, anything.)

Entry 2018.0008
Ian Lesage
"Coarse"
Brooklyn NY

Original Concept:

This work will explore musical textures, across a set instrumentation of mostly acoustic instruments.

Entry 2018.0009
TBA
"F U T U R E W O R L D"
Earth Prime

Original Concept:

Time is but a construct - music is a whole different story. In the early 001980s, temporal explorers from the immeasurably distant future pulled you into a digital dream world the likes of which you could barely comprehend. It didn't take long for them to realize they had mistaken you for someone else, but in that short time you saw enough to write an entire novel...or perhaps a concept album.

Current Season - 2020 - 2019 - 2018 - 2017 - 2016