Room 34 - Anagrammatic Pseudonyms (front)This is where a musical project gets rough. Especially when you’ve got some rigid plans for the final product, and you’re running out of steam.

The fundamental problem and challenge of my RPM album this year is that the number of tracks, and their sequence, was established from the outset. And given the nature of the concept, there is absolutely no room for changes. The exact style and duration of each track was certainly negotiable, but in order for the concept to work, there had to be 13 tracks, and they had to appear in a specific order (with the exception of the songs whose titles start with N, O, S and T, as there are two of each of them).

Here’s the track listing. Songs in bold are completed as of right now.

  1. Scantest Rondo
  2. Candor Stetson
  3. Orcas Don Tents
  4. Tornado Scents
  5. Tartness Condo
  6. Actor Sends Not
  7. Narcs Tote Dons
  8. Dancers on Tots
  9. Enact Rod’s Snot
  10. Radon Contests
  11. Sorta Contends
  12. Oats Tend Corns
  13. Notated Scorns*

* I think I’m done with “Notated Scorns,” but I might change my mind.

It’s down to three tracks. They have to have the titles they do, and they have to appear in the order that they do. Sure, “Sorta Contends” and “Scantest Rondo” could trade places, but the imagery the titles evoke suggests that they be in the order here.

I’ve got a fairly good idea of what I want to do with each of these tracks, but the execution has been lacking. “Scantest Rondo” needs to be a musical rondo (i.e. a “round” — think “Row Row Row Your Boat”), and a short one at that. “Radon Contests” is going to be an electronica thing. “Sorta Contends” is the one that’s giving me the most grief. It really feels like it should be acoustic guitar-driven, kind of folky almost. I even have a chord progression for it. But aside from the fact that it’s extremely derivative of a pair of songs by The Decemberists, I’m just not getting the sound I want.

Now I’m leaving for a 3-day weekend. I’m taking my 2-octave MIDI keyboard along, and my laptop. I really… really… want to finish these last three tracks while I’m gone. But that pretty much eliminates the acoustic guitar from the equation. But I have too much “real” work to do to be preoccupied with RPM much longer. It has to happen this weekend.

But am I putting too much pressure on myself, and on the project?