amw (amw) wrote,
amw
amw

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musical interlude

I arrived at my dad's place Sunday afternoon and spent yesterday doing absolutely nothing. It's the first time in a few weeks i've had the luxury to not need to be anywhere or do anything, so i took full advantage. Today has gone pretty much the same way.

I was going to write a bit about dad and the family, but something else came up. I woke up this morning and started working on my backups. Let's take a moment to talk backups, and the things you find there.

When i decided to leave Canada i already owned one external hard disk for sneakernet, but bought a second one to serve as an "off-site backup". I left my laptop in my backpack together with one external hard disk, and kept the other hard disk with my passport. The backup saw immediate use when i managed to trash my very expensive laptop shortly after arriving in Germany - although i lost a bit of data, most of it could be restored to the tablet i bought as a replacement.

I am also a notorious phone-loser. I think i lost or broke 5 phones in the 4 years between leaving Canada and leaving Germany. The first thing i installed on my Android phones was always Dropbox, to back up my photos. At some point i switched to Windows Phone and started leveraging SkyDrive (now OneDrive). It worked much better because my desktop documents got backed up to the same place - i no longer needed to email myself PDFs all the time.

At some point while i lived in Germany i went through the effort of copying all my photos off Dropbox and let the account lapse. Unfortunately all of the Android notes are stuck in Google Keep. I made so many little notes in my phone, especially when i was at bars, clubbing, traveling etc. It's a shame they can't easily be exported. Not that OneNote is any better. Phone makers fucking suck at making lightweight note applications. I have taken to carrying around a tiny police notebook in my back pocket or a moleskine if i am carrying a bag. I mostly write in there then transcribe to LiveJournal or plain text files later. In Berlin when i went clubbing i left my phone behind altogether.

Anyway, there is one very major thing that cannot easily be backed up to the cloud because there is too much of it - music. I have about 100 gigabytes of music i have ripped from my CD collection or bought digitally, and an additional 20 gigs of work-in-progress tracks and other music i have written myself. Some of it goes back to 1995, tracks that came with me on floppy disks and CD backups, tracks i found hiding on various FTP sites, retro "scene" collections or archive.org. I have lost several albums worth of my earliest stuff, so the tunes i have managed to rescue are really priceless. Not to mention the limited-edition CDs i have ripped that are long since deleted and probably rotting away in R's basement as we speak. Losing this stuff would be a tragedy.

One of the top items on my todo list once i got to dad's was sort all of this out. Today i have spent a bunch of time copying stuff from those external hard disks to OneDrive. This time i am thinking of leaving one external hard disk with my dad and taking one with me. I will also leave my NAS with dad, and populate it with a password-protected share of my OneDrive (current as of today) and public shares for music and TV so he has a reason to keep it around 😉 I had to do a lot of juggling to try figure out what should go where, but finally ended up getting all of my own tracks and work-in-progress stuff backed up to the cloud. I also moved all my digital photos going back to 2007 into the cloud. This now means photos, documents and my own tracks are mirrored in 5 places - tablet, NAS, 2 external disks and cloud. I'm ready for the apocalypse.

What is still outstanding is sample libraries, computer game saves, TV (which is pirated anyway so i don't care if it's lost) and music. How am i going to get 100 gig of music backed up? It won't fit on my tablet and it won't fit on the cloud unless i shell out for Office365 and kill my dad's internet connection even worse than i have all day today. I'm open to ideas. My current temporary fix will be to copy just the 320kbps MP3s (not the FLACs) to a 64 gig SD card and leave it in my tablet so at least i can listen to music without plugging in the external disk... Not that i listen to music very much any more anyway 😟

Well, except today. Today after backing up my tracks i had a listen to some of the oldest ones. I can't listen to any of my "new" music because i had to uninstall Ableton on my tablet to fit the actual tracks themselves. But listening to some of those tracks i wrote as a teenager... God. Some of them are so fucking good. I still think so today. I really had my own style. My teenage years were the only time in my life i really felt like i had the space to seriously compose, and i composed like i was possessed. Ever since i started "real" work - even in the times when i did have some inspiration - i was never able to get anything really completed... or when i did complete a song i hated it anyway. I miss that young me. The one for whom music was endlessly exciting, who was thrilled to learn every new technique and apply it to joyous self-expression. The only way i express myself these days is on LiveJournal, and it's not quite the same thing.

I miss music generally, to be honest. My dad got a turntable for Christmas and has started rebuilding the record collection he left to the garbage men 30 years ago when we left West Germany for Scotland. He played me some new folk blues artist he discovered last year. I can count the number of times i turned on my sound system in Berlin on one hand, probably. I moved to the world capital of the music that means so much to me i have "FUCKING TECHNO" tattooed across my forearm... and stopped writing music, stopped buying music, stopped listening to music. And in the last year i even stopped clubbing. Maybe going back and listening to the music i wrote 20 years ago, the music i was listening to 20 years ago, maybe some of it will trigger something.

Something more than the tears running down my cheeks right now, anyway.
Tags: looking back, making music, music
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