Simplify

“It seems that perfection is attained not when there is nothing more to add, but when there is nothing more to remove.”

– Antoine de Saint Exupéry

        Simplification is the action of reducing clutter and noise to achieve a perfect end product. The act of simplifying is similar to the act of purification. The pollutant should be removed. Art is the will of God coming out of a human, and in almost all religious societies, purification is needed before interacting with God.

        Many artists have a similar view of how their work comes. They will describe the work as coming through them. They are merely a channel through which art comes into the world. But like a TV, it only presents the content, it does not create the content. Weather this art is a creation of God or not is unimportant because the artist can recognize that it is not purely from themselves. Imagine you are the spirit, the muse, the inspiration attempting to work through someone. You have a nursery rhyme, but they are working with a complicated Midi synthesizer system, an electronic drum set, and a lot of hand percussion. Where does the nursery rhyme belong? Now imagine you are the muse attempting to work through a person sitting on the edge of their bed with a guitar. It can only come through their voice or their fingers, and now that nursery rhyme can make it into the world.

        The methods by which the music is produced doesn’t matter. What matters is the fact that the music is produced. A nursery rhyme could come through any of the five instruments above, but the problem is that it needs one at a time.

        In terms of creation, simplicity is the process of pairing down what is an option, so that the choice doesn’t get in the way of the art. Simplicity is the key to execution for an artist. Simplicity is the freedom to act over the freedom of choice. Action is the necessary ingredient for production, choice is a bottleneck through which only some ideas can flow at a time. If the bottleneck is removed, the ideas flow like a river instead of an inverted milk jug.

        Simplicity takes a wannabe musician and turns them into a productive musician by eliminating the excuse of “working on it.” If you are consistently working on something, you are certainly not finishing that thing. I have spent many days working on a song, and I have spent a few hours recording an idea, the latter is what can be heard now, and the former is mostly forgotten. Spend your time making, not thinking. Spend your effort creating, not looking for new gear. Spend your life in music, not waiting for music.

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