Been much too busy to type so a little catch up is in order.
For starters check this link: Story of KTU gig
I became aware of this blog a few days ago. It is an online diary (with pics) from BIG, one of the stage hands in Moscow telling his story of the KTU gig. The Russian to English translation is a hoot . One pal commented it sounds like I was making a porn movie as he read about my 'hot rod shooting fire'.
Nov 29 Markus arrived (but his luggage did not) and we quickly began recording the following day. First we converted my newly acquired Baby Grand Piano (it is so wonderful to have a piano in the house, thank you Ed and Ilane) into a prepared Piano with small cyms and gongs, clips and papers, etc. and attacked it with mallets, brushes, sticks, kitchen cutlery and even some small old european irons. We recorded aprox 1 hr of this mayham and also some improvised duets (I play low end ostinatos that Markus adds chordal accompaniment to). Then we chopped these performances into a folder of raw footage to extract samples from. I'll get more info and pics about the recording of this new TUNER music soon as we announce the new TUNER page on MySpace.com (mmm should that be our space?).
The next day Dec 1st we did the first Black Tent gig at Pink. Despite the sound man (me) forgetting the mixing desk, the gig went fantastic. The audience grew larger every show and the musicians came and went... and played freely. I have a recording but have yet to have a moment to stop and review it. Some highlights (from comments I overheard): Surround sound with Markus in the back stereo and me in the front, Gumby with strapped on battery powered pignose amp walking through the audience playing electric guitar, melodica duos in the back of the room, Monkey saxing around in the dark, Roberto playing violin from the four corners, Laura's abstract vibraphone and Gamelan playing. Me dropping a pile of cyms at someone's feet and scare the poop out of them... My throwing a doggie squeeze toy across the room as the squeal exhaled, and . . .a Santa's drum circle that appeared.
The next day Markus and I resumed recording. The usual modus operandi (M.O.) was extracting prepared piano chunks, and building a bed - for instance on song#1: 3 bars of 7/4 and a bar of 6/4 that go together well and looping that 27 beat pattern 4 times as a 'verse' and then jumping to a loop of 3 x 4/4 and a 5/4 tag. Then jamming over this until we had a few motifs that more clearly defined the piece, blocking out chords with mellotrons or vintage rhodes sounds, then live drums, warr guitars - somewhere along the way the form would start to organicaly evolve and we would continue cutting until our arrangement felt satsifying.Our general hrs of operation were noon till 3 am but somedays we started even earlier - we both got rather exhausted but the music was too inticing to stop. By song 4 we were ready for a change in M.O. so we resorted to the several acoustic guitars I acquired for Markus to employ (again thank you to Ed Reynolds for the classical and 6 string, and Gina for the 12 string) while i played cajon or log drums. After a few days of that I woke Markus to the sound of drummer drumming, throwing down some beat ideas I have harboured for a few years and applying them to plug-ins like Reso and Bruno (sort of like vocoders that allow the drums to act a trigger source while the notes and chords are input to the Reso). Markus had no shortage of chord progressions as he continues to use a serial type algorithm to generate starting harmonic structures...
Markus was planning to leave Sunday the 11th, but rebooked for the 14th to give us more time - a few hrs after i dropped him at the airport a text arrived 'can you come pick me up?' - yep he was stranded at the Austin airport for 4 hrs because of bad weather in Chicago. Rebooked for Friday 16, yesterday, the flights once again ran later and later. He was eventualy able to finally leave yesterday but got stuck in DC for 5 hrs and then in Frankfurt for 9 hrs more, arriving home several hours later (once again without his luggage). The upside to his staying was we got to continue doing more TUNER tracking -we have 8 pieces about 80% done, and several more slabs in progress- and also that Markus could work with me on a few tracks for Laura Scarborough and then Heather Sullivan. Heather is a singer/songwriter that I had booked to arrive for collaboration on Tuesday after Markus was originally planning to depart. The end result was fantastic as it allowed Markus and I to wear our 'Kruder and Dorfmeister hats' and prepare funky Europe jazz chill room elevator music for Heather. We had been censoring any programmed or beat box use for the new TUNER recording but all those rules went out the window for Heather's tracks - we even faded one song! That's right! Have you ever noticed that basic rule of projects that involve 'Pat Productions'? NO FADES
My thinking is if you have to fade it means you couldn't think of an ending, but if you played live you would have to find an ending, so might as well find it sooner than later.