What's new? (09-2008)
I usually wait until the end of the year to review my progress against annual goals, but so much has changed that I thought it worthwhile to take a look back at the past nine months.
My primary goal for the year was to start recording again. Prior to this year the last time I'd done any recording was in 2003. That's a five-year gap. What's interesting to me is the nature of the new recordings.
I had originally envisioned doing some multitrack recording. My plan at the start of the year was to collect a number of short motifs and combine them in a kind of musical collage, joined perhaps by synth pads. I still think that's a cool idea.
The recorded motifs have become a musical scratch pad. One thing I have noticed over the past few years is that a lot of my musical ideas fade into oblivion. Some of them are forgettable; some I would have liked to remember. My workspace is now set up so that it only takes a minute to get the recorder ready. If I have something I'd like to remember I first practice it a bit and explore variations, then record a minute or so for future reference. Each idea gets a marker for quick access.
But that's not the recording that I count against satisfaction of this year's musical goals. Early this year I started collaborating for the first time in roughly four years. I started with occasional sessions with my multi-instrumentalist friend Stephen Caird playing his electric bass cello. As we became more comfortable with the collaboration we got together more often. A couple months ago we invited another friend, jazz drummer Joe Williams. We've been recording all of our sessions using a stereo room mic.
I have to say that this collaboration is very pleasant. We play at conversational volumes. No earplugs are necessary. Better still, we can actually converse while playing. This is a huge benefit since our intention is to compose improvisationally. We're proceeding rather nicely so far. We have a growing collection of motifs and short pieces; we're developing a certain facility at joining them on-the-fly.
I've been less diligent about pursuing my secondary goal of performing in public. We'll see how that shakes out at the end of the year.