A lack of abatement from COVID meant that, once again, the musician’s primary source of reception and feedback—the live gig—was not an option. However, knowing that the AFO once again could not come to as a performing band freed us to focus on finishing the project that we started in the murky waters of early 2020: Ray of Sunshine, specifically an AFO concept album featuring songs from the rock opera Ray of Sunshine.
More generally, though, we (being BlueDorian Media Entertainment’s 2021 squad, including the AFO, guest vocalists and instrumentalists, designers and artists, producers and engineers, and the organization’s core team) started to see this year as one in which we would be focusing on content, setting ourselves the underlying goal of not just producing but producing our socks off, committing to going above and beyond what we thought ourselves capable of doing, both in terms of quality as well as quantity, all the while retaining our focus and, more importantly, staying sane.
That we succeeded at all was a surprise, that we were able to achieve what we did, a wonder, and to all involved in the past two years worth of curriculum I feel a sense of gratitude and pride—it’s one thing to pump out great material in your *prime* (such an arbitrary assessment) when everyone is cheering you on and you have the will of the fans on your side, it’s entirely another to do in the silent cave that is modern COVID-based life. The work is there, for anyone who wants to check it out (shop.bluedorian.com). It was a thrill and a delight to work, soup to nuts, with such a talented crew of artists—I look forward to working with them again in the upcoming years.
Still, I’ve often self-reflected that music and visual arts, despite being in the same taxonomic “class” of activity, are such polar opposites, in terms of the logistics that their practitioners are required to go through to succeed. Visual artists more or less obey the commercial maxim, that 80% of your business comes from 20% of your clients, so really, you just need to secure the 20%. Music has no such luxury. Predetermined market values are placed on our commodity in such a way as if I spent two minutes throwing together a selection of pre-written beats, versus if I spend two years composing a piece that painstakingly fuses the sounds of a symphony orchestra, renaissance vocal group, and gamelan ensemble (all of whom I had to hire), both products costs about a dollar in the marketplace of ideas.
Anyway, like I said, that’s outside of my purview, at least for now. We’ll come up with a plan at some point, when it does seem relevant. In the meantime, 2021: cheers! It feels like we hardly knew ye, but I know that’s a lie. We live in formidable times. It’s time to step on the gas, and ride off into the sunset. To that end, here's this awesome fellow: