Balalaika or: What to Do When You’re Creatively Stuck

Stuck on a musical idea? Here are 2 possible solutions: share it and sit on it.

This is the story of how I got stuck on a song idea and how doing two things allowed the song to evolve into something much better than its original.

In 2002, my first solo performance as Acid42 was on a laptop at an ElectronicaManila recital. We had time for only one long song each so I put together a track that would allow me to improvise on Reason using Rebirth. The track was entitled “Balalaika” even if it contained no audio sample of a balalaika anywhere. I quickly realized it was a boring, monotonous thing which wasn’t too interesting from a compositional standpoint. What could I do with it? I decided to do two things:

Acid42 performing Balalaika in 2002
Acid42 performing Balalaika in 2002


I decided I would let it sit on my hard drive till I found the time to return to it and flesh out a way to make it interesting. True enough, a year later,  I came back to the unfinished track and realized I could add french horns, fatter beats, and use a bright, sparkly piano patch to turn it into some hybrid of trance and electro. Boom! New life to a dead idea. Listen or download below:


Even while I was sitting on it, I thought it might be nice to send the file out to some musician friends, hoping they would like it enough to create a remix of it, and that their ideas could bring fresh life to the song. Lucky for me Blend:er (Cris Garcimo of Gentle Universe) took up the challenge and came up with a remix that utilized a few of the original elements (rhodes piano, a drum loop, and some drum machine patterns) and turned it into an indie-rock/new wave affair complete with very ’80s-style melodies. Listen or download here:

In the video below, you’ll see and hear bits of the original unfinished track, which parts I kept in my final electro trance dance track and which original elements were used by Blend:er in his remix. As always, feel free to subscribe to my YouTube channel.

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