Digging through the trash

While scrapped ideas written on paper often end up crumpled in the wastebasket, abandoned digital projects can persist for decades as files left to slowly corrupt in a folder somewhere. With ever-cheapening storage technologies and the advent of cloud storage services, the need to actually delete files is slowly going away. And why would you want to? After all, you never know when you might need those files again.

My particular graveyard of musical ideas is a folder full of project files from as early as 2005. It’s nice to reminisce about what could have been, but having all these abandoned ideas at my fingertips is hampering my creativity. Half the time I go to make music nowadays, I’ll just spend hours opening old projects saying “what could I do with this?” rather than creating anything new. Almost never does anything productive come out of this process.

A friend of mine recently played for me “Lambs’ Garbage” by Mr. Oizo, ostensibly a collection of unfinished or abandoned tracks that the artist has assembled into a singular mix. This inspired me to do something similar.

I’ve created a 23-minute long track containing 56 samples of my old, abandoned projects:
(listen at your own risk)

In no way is this meant to be a cohesive piece of music. It is simply a collection of old, abandoned ideas whose origins span about a dozen years, in no particular order.

Now that I’ve made this, I’m going to store these source files on a flash drive and store it away. Maybe someday I can bring myself to actually delete these – or destroy the drive – but I’m not ready for that yet. I just need to get this old stuff out of my sight. I need to clear away the trash so I can move on to fresh ideas. I need a clean slate to work with.

Maybe it will give me, or others, some abstract insight into my creative process over the years. Maybe someone will find a glimmer of inspiration somewhere in this haphazard collection of sounds.

Perhaps someone will merely find it amusing to see what relics I’ve dug out of my trash.

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