Thursday, March 8, 2012

Spring is on the Way

Spring, apparently, is on the way. I can tell this not because of the goldfinchs once again decimating the early blossom on the plum tree (and actually, doing far more damage than the original practice of decimation  in a legion; that was only a clubbing to death of every tenth legionnaire), but the fact that I am staring sullenly at the pair of Dell'orto PHF 36's sitting on my chaotic workbench, after having stripped and reassembled them (twice) to prove that there is nothing amiss with the various weeny bits, which I live in dread of losing in the gravel each time. So why won't the Guzzi tick over nicely whereas I am so idle?

Cycling, likewise,seems to have fallen off a cliff, despite the feeling in my waters that this was going to be my year; up at dawn, 100k before breakfast, that sort of thing. Some serious miles. Unfortunately , crap weather, mild bronchitis and the allegedly urgent need to be elsewhere every (damn) time the weather breaks has put that plan on hold. soon, however. Dunwich Dynamo, WSW Sunday runs, and some serious audaxes beckon.

Not unlike the carbs,  we're now just messing about with the mixing of the new Cd; it's kind of interesting trying to figure how to chop it up, a la  Miles and Teo. the idea of having purposeful and obvious cuts, like Stravinsky's block form, is becoming more attractive. the idea of using abrupt transitions, brick wall stops, and cinematic cuts could work, especially if they are overt. Not like the endless  overdubbing of a pop session with vertically constructed episodes and auto tune, but the use of juxtaposition; pulling together and ordering of disparate blocks of sound, themselves untouched and autonomous,  to create something that didn't exist before.  That's the plan, anyway; a way to use the takes with good solos and crap heads, or vice-versa. I'm always struck, when sitting in a studio mixing, how many interesting fragments there are, but that don't quite survive as stand-alone takes.

The usual jazz aesthetic, as far as recording goes, is, as much as possible, try to re-create the live experience. the idea behind this is that the music is a process, something that occurs only once in real time, with a privileged listener as part of the event, blemishes and all. This is partially because of the emphasis on the moment, the process of improvisation, and its ir-reproducibility in the next occurrence; each of which, although broadly similar, is unique. (the question as to how this uniqueness carries over into still having an authorial continuity, as in we always instantly know it's Miles, is another topic altogether)  This is why the apparent outcome is so different to that of pop, with its need to be an infinitely reproducible commodity. Even though a jazz recording is the also just another manufactured item once recorded, and subject to the same market forces, there seems to be a need to maintain the illusion that this hasn't happened and the listener is present.; a hairy-chested we do it in real-time aesthetic. Which is more honest?

Of course, having organized everything, found the funding,  booked everyone, written the music and practiced (I thought) the shit out of my parts, I found I was anything but centered.  In the session, I wanted to try some of the stuff I had been working on, in terms of moving my improvisational language usual, some stuff worked, and some wasn't quite ready; we probably needed three days instead of two, with another stab at things a month later once the dust had settled. Funnily, after 6 weeks of practicing the ideas after the fact, I now know what it is I want to do.... a little too late.  As it is, it's the normal complaint of lacking the time to get things to a satisfactory state, and knowing that you'll have to work with what you have at the moment.

So, a nice 80k roll on John's old Peugeot fixie through the Suffolk borders this weekend, watching the road spin out before me, puffing a bit harder than I should be at this point of the season. It brought to mind Hockney's talk about his new large canvases and their relationship to classical Chinese scroll paintings, which don't represent a moment, but a journey, as they spin out across an entire 50 foot wall.