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.