Eventually Slimpocket started to make some recordings, but publishing wasn’t that high a priority. Ultimately I became part of the revolving band personnel and moved back to Honolulu. While creating more material with rreplay, Rich pushed for making some forward progress on releasing some of our collected material. This culminated in the release of our second album amusingly and appropriately entitled “Live From The Uncanny Valley”. The title actually led to some interesting release processes with CD Baby deciding every track should have “live” appended to it in parentheses. There just isn’t much automatic infrastructure set up for improvisational electronica it would seem. In any case, you can get access to the album at cdbaby or amazon
So I thought a blog would be an awesome way to kind of keep some
thoughts about the music process as it happens, but I haven’t been
doing well on updating it. At this point I am extremely late in
mentioning that I’ve connected with a resurrection of Slimpocket.
It’s kind of a mix of their existing material and new things that get
spontaneously created. Their existing recordings are probably still
best for the older stuff, but here’s a few jams that happened along
the way which I think are notable:
Notes from 28jun09 jam with Dave Savary and Matt Durso at the Sound
Museum 155 North Beacon St Brighton. Not much ventilation, but
overall I think the sweatbox approach was inspirational. Vocals
didn’t make it through very well. Perhaps next time I’ll put the
recorder somewhere not directly in front of the bass amp. Like maybe
by the door, closer to the PA. Maybe then it won’t be bouncing up
and down and recording the rattling ashtray/beercan whatever that was
next to it…
rocks hard. good development and starting to get some really nice
rocks equally hard. Good development and dynamics. Recorder has some
automatic level setting which makes this hard to hear, but it was
more line composition so a bit slower to start. Actually like the
idea of turning this upside down occasionally if we do anything
similar to this again. Could edit to start at 2:05 or so.
Nice experimentation. Good change of pace. Really nice playing with
space. High level playing for a second jam.
Starting to get some pretty good subdivision on this. This group has
some good natural ability to pick up stuff quick. Meanders a wee bit
towards the end but some good ideas actually.
I thought we had more than that, but there’s no more on the recording.
I’m hoping it didn’t automatically shut off or something. I’ll try to
remember to check it whenever we come back from a break.
Jam with David Savary on guitar/voc and Matt on drums. Very rock, and much more enjoyable than I expected. Post rock?
track01: First time ever playing together, making it up as we go. I literally played two bars of the bassline, then we went for it.
track02: Starting from the guitar this time. I like what we came up with even if there might have been a few questionable notes. I seriously haven’t played anything like this in a decade at least.
track03: Again, two bars of bass omitted, but that’s it. A bit more space in this one. Like it. Fun making up bridges as we go along. And taking it out for a spin. Long jam and loses cohesion a little bit in there, but this is a process not a finished presentation. I actually would have liked to have let it fall apart even more completely if it was going to, if we play a bit more we’ll probably get more comfortable letting it crash and then picking it back up. We kick back in pretty well although we get a bit rambling after that.
track04: Somebody mentioned Morphine at some point, don’t know if it was before or after this jam. Cool feel though.
track05: Pardon the missing beginning, forgot to press the record button after we came back from a break. Glad I remembered even if I missed the first part of this. I don’t know how we ended up talking about terminal velocity of free fall. This just rocks.
track06: Nice atmosphere on this one. Piecing things together as a group.
track07: The first two minutes are a demonstration of figuring out something that isn’t going to work. Included that just to show that not everything worked out immediately. Then we hit the reset button and it sounded pretty awesome IMHO. You can tell where the volume changes a lot and the recorder adusts the eq to match. Use your imagination to pretend it gets lots quieter in spots.
2D+E group again, and a good one this time. Tough to find excerpts that don’t leave something really good out. Here’s what I came up with:
Track01: Good one for morning or late night chill. Goes on for a while but 7 minutes is probably enough. Lost a few nice things but it’s just too long.
Track02A: Knife bass intro. Zoolookish chill. Cut it off around 4:27
Track02B: Mega chill groove from 9:22 to end. Worth it.
Track03: Apocalyptic movie theme. 4:53 to end.
Track04: Yes, cowbell. Here’s the first 6:45 or so.
Track05: Kind of an underwater pile driver thing. First 1:04 spliced into 9:06 to the end. The middle was ok, but 12 minutes was long.
Track06: Unplugged! Not perfect and quite long, but hard to cut this down to less than 15 minutes without missing a bunch of cool interactions. Since that’s what’s important, here’s 0-1:54, 5:18-10:24, 11:44-19:56. So the beginning, some of the middle and most of the end.
David hosting with me on percussion/bass and Mike on guitar. Not the
most cohesive session. Sometimes it goes that way.
Track01: All aspects not good.
Track02: A few isolated sounds are really great, but overwhelmed by other issues so skipping it.
Track03: About 2:12 of content starting from 2:08.
Track04: Not enough solid to be worth it. Skipped.
Track05: Some nice sounds, but significant rhythm issues. Skipping.
Track06: The first 5:20 was probably best.
Have to say that the idea of doing a blog to release what I’ve been up to, and indeed the whole conceptualization of how improvisational music goes from session to album was all born out of my experience playing with Rich Rath as part of rreplay. There are a lot of great aspects to this process, one of which is that things are continually evolving. You can check out what Rich is up to musically at
At the very least catch “The Revolution will not be on the Internet” and stay tuned for more stuff from rreplay, despite expanses of geography currently impeding weekly sessions.
So how does it work? Well, musicians who like to play and compose spontaneously find like minded folks and get together. Given that recording is pretty easy to do, it all gets saved. The good, the bad, and everything in between. You have to remember that at this point the only threshold is that it has to be more fun than sitting at home on the couch or practicing on your own. So you get some marginal stuff that wasn’t really all that inspired. But since there’s usually no audience to please, this is also the time to try things out. That means you get some really bad ideas, mistakes and other stuff that you would prefer to just forget about, but you also get some really interesting stuff that just wouldn’t have happened except for the chemistry of the moment. And some percentage of that is going to be truly remarkable.
So what do you do? Let it all just accumulate in a backlog archive that you’ll revisit sometime in the future, like you’ll magically have more time then? Release all of it and bore everyone who comes in contact with the archive?
To make matters worse, when you listen to something recently, and then after a few weeks have passed, you might like or dislike different things. No easy answers, but here’s what I’m doing:
1. Rough tracks. The first step is getting the source recordings down. Some basic equalization so it sounds less horrible, separate tracks for each song/continuous jam or whatever. Make some notes while listening to capture impresssions of each one.
2. Filter. If it’s not something you would feel good about presenting to a general audience then note the lesson(s) learned and delete it.
3. Excerpt. Extract what you think is the best section. Different people might choose different stuff and that’s just fine. More than one extract from more than one person is just fine. Try to capture the essence.
4. Collect. After enough extracts have accumulated that are at the “really like” or “really interesting” level, then start pulling together an album’s worth of material out of it. Figure out what’s in it and the ordering.
5. Release. This can be as simple as just gathering the extracts and making the levels consistent, or as involved as completely re-extracting, remastering the whole thing. Do the artwork and then put out the CD.
Anyway, that’s the current plan. More as it goes.
Another jam hosted by David Barnes, with myself and David Corsen. Some good stuff. In any case I’m definitely enjoying it, checkitout:
Track01: Kind of a new art thing 2:27-6:08
Track02: Ok, but kinda sloppy and didn’t really gel. Skipping it.
Track03: Gamelan strut thing 0:17-4:50
Track04: VUish texture thing 2:59 to end
Track05: Sometimes multiple keys work together, sometimes not.
Track06: Frippin beer bottle 3:47-8:17
So I put together a site for my music at theriex.com but there’s things that I’m involved in that aren’t exactly finished but still noteworthy. I connected with David Barnes at myspace.com/barnzstuff through craigslist (turns out we were actually reconnecting having met earlier in life, small world) and we had our first jam session recorded as Nest Egg Blues back on 7dec08. So we had two Davids and an Eric on this session:
Track 01: Couldn’t get the didj happening very well so skipping it
Track 02: Excerpted from 3:24 to end
Track 03: Dragged on a bit so skipping it.
Track 04: A good energy rock jam, but not exactly tight. Skipping this too.
Track 05: This one’s was pretty good, here’s an extract from about 2:10-6:30
Track 06: Groovy. Extract from about 1:00-5:30
Track 07: Chill. Extract from 2:37-8:43