Monday, April 04, 2005

starting point

I got back to Exeter from a four week journey recently. It wasn't planned that way, but I left around the time of the full moon in late February, and came back on Good Friday, one lunar cycle later.

Part of the motivation was to catch up with some old friends in the U.K., Ireland, Spain, France and Belgium, but as many of them are musicians I decided to make something of a creative project out of it as well.

In the course of my travels I recorded about 20 hours of spontaneous music with various friends old and new, and had many interesting discussions about music, improvisation, recording music, music as a commodity, new approaches to music distribution, etc. This has all led to the creation of this 'audio-blog' - a means to document my sonic adventures past, present and future.

Many of my friends are in bands or are getting bands together, and although I wholeheartedly approve of the music being made, and the effort being put into it, there are so many inter-personal problems and general frustruations which come up with bands that I'm inclined to avoid that way of operating. I've decided that the whole world can (potentially) be in 'my' 'band'. At the moment I'm thinking along the lines of what Vini Reilly (The Durutti Column) and Mark Hollis (Talk Talk) have been doing over the years as a kind of template. Also listening to a lot of Brian Eno's work, being impressed by the way he is unconstrained by conventional categories, genres, song structures, etc.

[Note added 05/2010: re-reading this, I realise that I had a misperception of Talk Talk back in '05 - was somehow under the impression that it had basically become Mark Hollis's solo project by the time of Spirit of Eden, but I now know that Paul Webb and Lee Harris remained full members from start to finish.]

I saw some of Gaudi's architecture when I was in Barcelona. I'd quite like to make music which was working with time in ways analogous to how he worked with space. There's a quote I found from Gaudi which has really inspired me to pursue my vision without so much stifling self-examination and doubt:

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"Originality should not be sought after since then it is extravagance. One should look at what one normally does and try to improve it."

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The first stage will involve processing and uploading the better portion of what I recently recorded while travelling. Future adventures and recordings will be documented as they happen. Also, the more worthy of my earlier recordings from the previous ten years will gradually be added with documentation.

My hope is that this will inspire others to pursue looser, more organic approaches to musical collaboration and recording. From my own point of view, I'm hoping it might also open up more opportunities to travel, meet like-minded musicians and record with them.

I'm going to make everything available under a Creative Commons license - the idea of trying to sell recorded music seems really outdated an inappropriate to me. If I'm going to ever reap any financial reward from this approach to music, I expect it'll be through subscription web-casts of imaginative multi-media performances. This is all technologically possible, and I am lucky enough to be acquainted with no shortage of talented people to involve in this kind of thing. However, I imagine it'll be at least a year or two before everything is in place, and there's sufficient interest out there to make it worthwile.


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