Announcing Memento Potato

Article thumbnail

Things got a bit… intense in my last two releases. Ataraxy contained an awful lot of “serious” tracks, covering everything from dismay at COVID disinformation and the role of consumerism in art, to depression, social anxiety, and parental regret. Pro Amore Signi is ostensibly inspired by my first forays into real analogue synthesis, and the ensuing sense of awe at beginning to discover the simultaneous power & simplicity of the relationship between components, control signals, and sound waves; but it was also conceived in the aftermath of a death in the family, and is not-so-secretly about that experience, as well. Deep.

Perhaps a little too deep.

Even the names are getting somewhat pretentious.

Ataraxy is fair enough, being an attempt to put things I struggle with and/or can’t control into tangible, musical form, to try and better come to terms with that reality, and hopefully develop a state of ataraxia through a kind of Pyrrhic suspension of judgement about them. It’s a cool archaic-sounding word, a good album name (I think), and imparts meaning to the work as a statement of intent. Pseudo-intellectual bullshit, perhaps, but there’s thought behind it.

Pro Amore Signi is pushing it, though. I’ve never studied Latin, so I don’t know how close I actually got, but the intended English translation is something like “for the love of signals”; though I’ll also claim any ambiguity - is it “for the signal’s love”, or “for the love of signs”, or “for signs of love”, or any of the other countless variations different online translation tools have given me? Yes. That said, I don’t know what’s more cringeworthy: naming an album in a dead classical language I don’t know, naming an album something that I’m not even 100% sure means what I think it means and running with it anyway, or the fact that the final linguistic construction was decided by proximity to pro amore dei. (No, I’m not religious, or particularly spiritual.)

Time to tone it down a bit, methinks.

Have More Fun

I started this whole Depthbuffer thing with only one rule: don’t pick one genre and worry about sticking to it. I’m under no illusions that I’m setting the industry on fire, pushing the envelope, breaking down musical boundaries, going where no-one’s gone before or anything like that; but equally, I don’t want to define myself as a “synthwave guy” and feel like I can’t do anything else without setting up a whole new side project. It’s not a grand philosophical experiment - it’s as much about me being crap at identifying genre as it is anything else, to be honest - but I’m doing this for myself, in my spare time, without a label to answer to, so I may as well be completely open & up front about the fact that I’m just a nerd who loves music, with a ton of gaps in my knowledge and abilities, making it up as I go along, pursuing whatever shiny thing catches my eye next.

Two serious releases in a row felt like I was losing sight of that somewhat; and the thought of making an earnest effort to continue in that vein, maintaining the rate of improvement in polish & quality, feels like a chore. I’m not against putting in the work, but I am against putting in the work if I’m not enjoying it. Because that’s kind of the whole point.

Do All the Things

I’ve also got a ton of half-finished stuff, ideas for stuff other than music, and skills & interests I want to develop besides composition, production, and mixing. I’m dabbling in electronics. I’ve got a few ideas for VSTs I want to make, and have floated the idea of writing about how to actually develop open-source, cross-platform VSTs. I like making videos, even if I’m not very good at it. I’ve got multiple tracks in various states of completion that I don’t want to abandon, but don’t want to release on their own, so feel like I need a banner to put them under. I want to continue exploring hardware synthesisers (in particular Eurorack); not out of analogue snobbery, but simply because I’ve discovered I enjoy it, it gives my fledgling electronics hobby a direction, and because as great as plugins are, the more I install, the more maintaining my setup & keeping everything up-to-date and licensed feels distressingly like my day job.

So to address these two points - feeling like I’m pigeon-holing myself when my one rule is don’t pigeon-hole myself, and having too many things I want to do that either aren’t music, or need a project to be part of to motivate me to finish them - my next project is, simply, to do all those things.

Make an album. But make the tools I want to make, to then make the music on the album. Write articles about those tools. Make vidoes about the tools and the music. Put it all under the same umbrella, because there’s nobody standing behind me telling me I can’t. Just do all the things.

I won’t be abandoning my software synths entirely - the power & convenience, especially when it comes to polyphony and stereo capabilities, are too good to pass up - and I’ll still be recording, mixing, and mastering digitally. But I’ve had enough of installers, updaters, too-good-to-be-true sales, nag screens, subscription up-sells, and thinly-veiled WAV players that I’m content not to grow the collection for now.

Remember You’re a Potato

In what was supposed to be the original spirit of this whole venture, it’s also about being open & explicit about the fact that I’m just a guy learning to do stuff he likes to do. Just a potato, who likes sounds, pictures, words, and mocking his own previous project titles.

I’ve been dropping little hints across social media, but today you get the first Actual Things.

The name: Memento Potato.

The cover art (high res here).

Memento Potato

The first & last track of the album.

I don’t know when it’ll be done, or how many tracks it’ll be. I do know that the album on Bandcamp is the “main” end goal of the project, and the digital release will cost whatever you want, including free, because it’s all a bit of fun. In fact, since Bandcamp doesn’t allow me to set something as pre-order without a minimum price & target release date, I’m just putting it out there with “WIP” in the name, and not even allowing people to pay until it’s done. Articles/big updates will be hosted here; videos on YouTube; other photos/small updates on some combination of Mastodon, Instagram, and/or Twitter. Links to all of those can be found in the site menu, and everything will be tagged #mementopotato.

I’m not doing Patreon, because I’m making no promises about quality, quantity, or timeliness; if you really want to toss me some coin, the best way would be buying some tunes - but in case you haven’t realised by now, I’m going to do this regardless.

It’ll be a while, though. Probably over six months. Things always take longer than anticipated: I’ve got the makings of three videos on the go, and combined with the two finished tracks & the whole “do more stuff” ethos, it feels like high time to make a proper start. But it’s just taken me an hour or three to write this announcement, so don’t hold your breath.

After all, I’m just a potato.