Thursday, December 19th, 2013
The heat death of a music blog
WikipediaOh hi, I didn’t see you there.
Welcome to the final post on chromewaves.net. Yes, that’s right. After eleven years and four months and a number of days I can’t be bothered to add up, after hundreds of concerts and festivals, countless record reviews, concert announcements, news links, MP3s, videos, and whatever the hell else I’ve posted here since September 2002, I’m calling it a day.
For the whys and wherefores, I would direct you to the tin anniversary post from last September. Go ahead, I’ll wait. What’s interesting to me in re-reading that post is that I have very little else to add, either gratitude or grievance. Every factor cited then in my thinking very hard about quitting this blog – general tiredness, industry fatigue, declining metrics, a lack of interest from within and without – still holds as much now as it did then, probably even moreso. As it turns out, the slow lane that I supposedly pulled into for the past 16 months wasn’t all that much slower than the fast lane, and it has become evident that my only choices are to either keep my foot on the gas until the needle hit ‘E’ and I flame out spectacularly or to take the next off ramp. And so here we are.
This is not a decision that I’ve taken lightly. I’ve basically spent the past year waiting/hoping for the spark of musical discovery and impulse/compulsion to share to reignite, but it simply hasn’t. Know that early drafts of this post were very different and very pointed – I planned wonderful rants about commodification, listification, commercialization, devaluation, trivialization, all kinds of -ations – but while therapeutic, were not the note I wanted to go out on. Music and blogging and music blogging have been very, very good to me, but I fear that were I to keep at it that gratitude would further curdle into resentment and cynicism and this thing that I’ve built, that has defined and directed so much of my life this past decade plus and am very proud of would suffer for it.
Already I feel the quality of what I do has diminished relative to its peak and I don’t want to stay around too long, like the pro athlete who doesn’t know when to quit and needs either a torn hamstring or demotion to the minors to get the message. And so I’ve played out this season – I think we’re done with 2013 things – and am hanging it up. I am certain that I will miss many, many things about being an active and constant voice in the conversation about new music, but shouting at and over the ever-deafening din of the music hype echo chamber to fewer and fewer ears won’t be one of them. The machine can’t stop, won’t stop, and I need to get off.
I will still be active – probably more active – on the Twitters with broadcasting stuff I come across that I find interesting or thing may be of interest, and maybe I’ll get around to trying out this Tumblr thing. Plus at some point I intend to finally attend to that redesign of this site I talked about and convert it into something more archivally-inclined than an old-school blog form.
But for now, I am going to walk away and do anything but write about music. Maybe the itch will return someday; I’ll deal with that if and when it does. I’ve got plenty to keep me busy, not least of which is disassembling a decade’s worth of blog-publishing life routines. Will my index finger start twitching at 8:30AM looking to click on “Publish”? Additionally I’ll get to work on that massive pile of books collecting on my shelf. Learn to cook something new. Use all those cameras I’ve got for photographing anything but bearded dudes with guitars in shitty light. Spend some quality time with the cat. Learn to play the solo from “I Am The Resurrection” on guitar. Listen to whatever records I want and ignore the zeitgeist guilt-free. Go to a show and not take notes and when I get home, go straight to bed. Just do all those things that I said I’d do more of if I didn’t always have to block off hours every day for the blog. Instead of constantly asking, “what’s next?”, the question is, “what now?”. It’s terrifying and exciting, but I think absolutely necessary for my own good. It is no longer time to make the donuts.
So to everyone whose paths I’ve crossed – artists, labels, promoters, publicists, bloggers, photographers, fans – it’s been a slice and I thank you and I’ll still see around. It’s been life-affirming and life-changing and life-devouring. Take care of yourselves.