The 24123 Muddhedd challenge

As I write this, November 29th 2022, I have scheduled 85 Muddhedd tracks to release 2023, spanning from first full moon in January to last in December. Only one release is scheduled “off” full moon. It has its reasons for being so.

The number 85 was nothing I planned for, or reached for, nor even counted on. But it happened. And being so close, of course I aim to release 100 Muddhedd tracks in 2023. It is doable, in fact, more than doable. I have more than a year to create 15 more tracks.

But I challenge myself. Can I do it before the end of 2022? Is it possible to create another 15 tracks in a little over a month? Well, I aim for it, in fact, I have already started, 3 tracks are done, 4th well on the way. Giving 11 more tracks (at least) to create during December.

This sparked an idea. A crazy idea, and I am uncertain whether I should speak of it in public or just keep it to myself to see if I can do it. Then I figured, why not up the stakes a bit, and make it a public statement?

Here is goes.

I, Muddhedd, challenge myself to create and release 123 tracks in 2024. It is the release part that is for 2024, the creation part starts as of 1 January 2023. The goal is to release the first track on 1st January 2024, then continue to release one track every 3rd day. They will be named with a track name (as usual) and then numbered, something like this: Exampletrack (24007). This will indicate that the Exampletrack is the 007 track of the challenge for 2024. (Yeah! That’s mr. Bond for ya! But not with license to kill, just a self-proclaimed license to create music!)

Now, perhaps you are thinking – oh no, Muddhedd will release a bunch of crap tracks for 2024!

I can assure you – I will not!

To me, the creation and release of 123 tracks by the end of 2024 is not the goal itself, just the consequence of it. The goal is to harvest, channel and focus my creativity and make the most of my ideas by creating a deliberate method, or machinery, that will allow my ideas to transform to quality tracks, with the standards I want to hold (even now, I discard many ideas, rework some and leave some as just ideas) for me to be proud of what I have created.

As a teaser, and just mentioning another idea, I am thinking that perhaps this would be something for someone (you perhaps) to read about, so perhaps (not a promise) this will become a form of book or something, “Being Muddhedd” by Muddhedd. Sounds interesting? Give me a thumbs up or a pat on the shoulder. Either by “Buy me a coffee” or the contact form here on Musiclabb.

…and… perhaps, follow my release progress, as usual I will publish upcoming releases here…

Update, 31 July, 2023.

So, as I look back to where I started, I can see now that things did not go acording to plan. Almost, but not quite.

From the 29th of November 2022 until 1st January 2023, I scheduled a bunch of tracks for release in 2023. And I write this for two reasons, the first being that I due to too few fullmoons for keeping only to full moons in 2023, I needed to schedule on other dates at the end of december as well. At first, I figured, heck, why not 100 tracks for 2023. Then, perhaps some more? And I ended up with 111 scheduled track releases for 2023, fully aware that I had accepted the challange for 2024.

And then, late december. A few days before christmas eve 2022, I started on the 24123-challange. A little head of schedule. But I was eager to start. Now, a little more than seven month’s down the road, I’ve completed 111 tracks (which currently gets me break even with the scheduled releases during 2023), and just 12 more tracks to go.

Is it what I thought it to be, so far? No, not at all!

Would I do it again? No, I would not, but I am glad that I challenged myself to do it in the first place.

Looking back, I can see that I started down hill and the wind in my back from completing the last tracks for 2023. And from that point and on ward, I have managed to maintain momentum, despite all that has happened to me during the year, and I have managed to keep my focus. I do not know how, but I am thrilled and it is beyond any and all expectations I had from the beginning.

What have I learned so far? Well, except that 123 tracks are a lot of tracks, I’ve learned how to switch on a focused mode of working, slimlining the decision process, trusing my ear and my feelings for the music. Leting the inner glow lead me forward, keeping me in the flow. I’ve learned to be precice and intentional in the things I do, not sloppy so I have to go back and redo a bunch of things. Make it right from the beginning. (Which is not the same as chaning my mind trough out the process, because that will happen, and happens constantly!)

The prospect of creating 123 tracks was (and still is) terrifying. Although it is 123 blank canvases to fill with something, and it is a limitation that it is “only” 123 tracks, it is still challenging to think of something meaningful to fill the canvases with. I have scrapped many ideas, especially in the beginning of this . And as I kept moving forward, I learned to separate ideas that hooked me from only ideas. Ideas that would fuel my couriosity and keep my flow going.

Interesting enough, these skills from the 24123-project has spilled over in to other parts of my life as well. Giving me a better ability to focus and to stay in a focused flow, at work for example. And in my writing. So, apart from a creative challenge, it has also provided me skills in the process, in flow, in focus and in prioretizing.

I’ll post another update once the 12 remaining tracks are done. Hope you will enjoy all the 123 tracks as much as I’ve done these past months.

Update, 12 August, 2023.

So, it is done. The 24123 challenge is completed. As far as production is concerned. Only administrative tasks left, due to a limitation at the music distributer(s?) – I can only upload tracks that will be released within a year, so today, it means that I would be able to upload to track 24075. However, I do not wish to spend more administrative time than nessesary, so at the end of each month (counting from July 2023) I will upload that month’s releases. Covers are all done, audiofiles all done, a bulk registration at Stim is to be done shortly. Then only 5 upload sessions to go before the entire 24123 project is launched and will be available to you.

In hindsight, was it worth it? Well, yes, on all accounts. Very much worth it. What I thought would be a great challenge in creativity (which it also was) turned out to be an even greater challenge in structure, focus, prioretizing, trusting my ears and feelings on a track rather than my analytic thinking. Going with the flow.

A factor that I am confident was a big contributing factor to the success of this project is the momentum I entered with. I had already produced and scheduled tracks for release in 2023, each fullmoon. And then some. I already had a process to start refining for upscaled production. I had a foundation to stand on, and a motion forward. If I had to have started it all from scratch, I’d probably not be done by now.

An important lesson for me, not limited to this project, is that the forward motion is important. Which is why I most often have had more than one track in the making simultaniously. As soon as I feel like I have gotten stuck on one track, switch to another to keep the forward motion alive. Not getting pulled down by bumps in the road. This has made me realize that multiple threads of thoughts is vital, for me, and that they can be used in many different aspects in different tasks (tracks). My biggest gain (aside from the pride and huge ego boost I feel right now) is that the methods and workpatterns I have learned in this project can, will be, and already have been translated to other aspects of my life. Perhaps most useful at work, but not only there. The project has made me grow beyond my previous limitations. And if someone told me, in the beginning of the project, that I would produce 123 tracks in 256 days (spending about two days on each track), I would thought that person to be crazy. Now I know that it is possible.

A reflection about this, I get terrified by the number of 2 days per track. What does that do to the quality of the track? Well, my process has been perfected to do “right” from the start, meaning that I do not have to go back to fix things later, setting mix, effects, EQ, compression, volumes, pan, automations etc as the track developes, cutting time on those steps in the end of the track, where only minor adjustments have been made (if any). And also, I have strived, not for perfection, nor for “good enough”, but for something that I feel I can stand for. Combining this with the mentality of late Bob Ross and his “happy little accidents”, I’ve kept a far more open mind to the creative process and have combined this with the highly structured and technical aproach within the creation process of the tracks.

I cannot say how many tracks or ideas I have discarded, but I have used the technique “kill your darlings” on a lot of things from almost complete tracks to part of tracks, melodies or arrangements. As soon as it has not lived up to the standards that I’ve set for myself, I have discarded it. And not as I have prieviously done, where discard something means put it in a pile for later – perhaps there can come something good out of it one day. So far, I have never used anything from that pile, and it has always been something that has dragged me down, all those hours of work, all the enrergy I’ve put in it, and then just leave it, discard it. In this project, a vital part was letting go and move on, focusing only on what made the project move forward. Thus, the discarded things are discarded, not saved for later. And it is a good feeling to come out of the project with just finished tracks, not finished tracks and a bunch of other things.

Would I recommend you to try this? No. But I would recommend you to challenge yourself and learning and growing from it. But I would recommend you to take on challenges that makes sense for you, and that supports your long time goals, not some crazy challenge someone else created for themselves in that purpose. Find your own way through it all, in life, in work, in love, in challenges. Follow your heart towards what you want. That is what has kept me going through 24123, even in the hard and dark times.