Tuesday, July 31, 2012

a place of my own

Every musician dreams of "making their own album." Hell, I'm no different.

Now that I'm older and very realistic about what I can accomplish, I finally feel ready to commit to a serious recording. Not a seriou$ recording, but something that won't make me cringe when I put it on for friends.

I have mountains of live recordings and home demos, probably 99% of which I would severe fault with and would not release publicly.

You see, even though I have been playing for about 41 years, began making "tape pieces" even before that, and began composing during my college years, I have had a most debilitating attitude towards my playing and my work. Funny, isn't it? It's kind of cruelly ironic. It reminds me of Sting's song:

I must love what I destroy
And destroy the thing I love.

Ultimately, we must climb out of the cocoon
of solitary writing and let the music comes to
life with the help of other musicians.
While I have no issues playing live, my own music or other, it is the dreaded recording that haunts me. No matter how the gig felt, the recording reveals the truth. That solo goes off course, that vocal needs pitch help and wouldn't be nice if everyone agreed on the form of the piece?

The question becomes: why do people like me, who dream, think, breath, study strenuously, focus upon, have oodles of discipline-thought-approaches, tend to hide our work? What is the malfunction?

Two demons sit and whisper:
You can do better.
It just isn't good enough.

I have ended this invisible battle with myself and have taken a bit more kinder and gentler approach with the blades of criticism. It's about damn time.

The source of my inspiration is a bit too personal to discuss, but let's just say that I wasn't aware why until way after the fact. One of those "points of seeing," I suppose. The penny dropped and I saw where all this was coming from.

The piece that began this project was an old sketch called "Night in St. Cloud," a Edvard Munch painting inspired piece that I started years ago. Unlike then, I have the unflinching determination to finish any piece now. I am not constantly distracted by new and exciting array of fresh ideas, but am now willing to take an idea, lower my head and plow forward until something is completed.

I still like the Munch painting, but don't feel such a strong emotional connection to it. What matters is that the piece works on every level, especially structural, thematic and rhythmic levels. And if we are lucky, maybe we can be exciting as well.

Here's the floor plan:

Night in St. Cloud - guitar duet

Note: there is some material from the sketches that even suggests another piece could be written just around those ideas. Odd how that works.

distant bells - voice and electronics. The very Enoesque piece was inspired by the Bloom app. So far, the only vocal piece.

no one is watching - guitar duet or ensemble. Not quite sure about this one. It might benefit by making the A section a little simpler. Sometimes the ego and the mind conspire to make everything complicated.

dance of the sun king - just finished the form and melody of this one. An ensemble run-through last Staurday was really positive. It sounded even better than I thought. The group seemed to like it as well.

forgiveness - this might have to be a guitar duet or just me overdubbing. The mood is very delicate and one false move or attempt to add too much will kill it. I hear classical and steel string guitars on this. A viola or a cello might be the magic later.

Possible add-ons:

Aguinaldo Jibaro - this is a Puerto Rican Christmas song that I arranged (and had help arranging) for the ensemble. It gets the King Crimson treatment, but retains the Latin flavor. A friend of mine said it sounded South American. I'll go with that.

don't need a jacket - This is very new and hasn't been field tested yet. You have to run these pieces a few times live to even know what the piece really needs. It's an ensemble piece.

call me tonight - I wrote this instrumental some thirty years ago. A friend of mine reminded me of it with a comment on FaceBook. It was a jolt to the memory cells. Wrote this about the end of love affair. It's swirling guitar heaven and most likely an ensemble piece.

I am very partial to woodcuts, particularly medieval ones.
The artwork will be simple.
That's 8 tracks, just shy of the requisite 10 track album I see popular today.

None of this is going to make me rich, famous or younger, but I hope I can feel a sense of accomplishment when it's over.

I may not even produce a physical copy, but rather leave it all to PayPal and the "internets." I have heard about people spending lots of money and having a thousand copies of their CD sitting around in boxes.

 No, thanks.


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