Due to the nature of this installment, I will limit my posting to how it came about being, not how I interpret it. If you don’t want to know about the innards of the process, just push play. Really. I don’t mind. It’s okay. Everybody knows the wizard behind the curtain was just an old guy with a pension for yelling when speaking to someone he didn’t know. And who would want that?
This was a tough night because I’m feeling behind even though I’m not at all behind. It is 1:02 am, and I have finally finished this piece. I’m exhausted, on tour, but happy with the outcome of this work. I can’t even begin to describe to you how I started today’s installment. It started as a writing exercise: write a song in 5 minutes by timing each verse at one minute increments. It was fairly successful, but it didn’t go far enough for me. It was a disorganized exercise anyway. I started something else instead. I picked up Johnny, my totally-awesome-ebay-score accordion, and began improvising, trying new progressions and old. I found a new progression I liked and attempted lyrics, a melody line. Nothing stuck. Nothing stood out. For some stupid reason I thought I had the luxury of being picky. Why would I ever think that in a 365 day project?!
I recorded the accordion, basically improvising a slow chord progression. Note: I do not know how to play the accordion other than the basic idea that you fill it with air and push the buttons. I am teaching myself little by little and absolutely love it. I have almost typed the words “failed attempts” in two different entries, but I have decided I don’t like that term. I don’t think any experiments are failures, just pathways to preferred successes. I even experimented with beats and bowed guitar over the accordion at first. I slowed the tempo down on the accordion track to 40 BPM. Huzaah! It created an awesome, creepy, organ-like color. Not sure where to go with it, I picked up my cello and just started listening, experimenting (lowering my C string VERY low) and improvising. This might sound fruity, but if I have a foundation of something interesting, I can often hear what might need to go next. For example, in hearing the vibrating nature of the accordion track and G flat drone, I heard trills, so I tried it and there you go. Basically, everything “fell” into place from there. Important: there were many happy accidents. I fear I’m making this sound like it took an hour, when, in reality, I did just the accordion track from 6:00-7:00, then restarted at 10:30. The final product, at a lengthy time of one minute and fifty-one seconds, was completed at 12:45 am.
It’s been really frustrating installment today. I had really intended this to take less than an hour total. It’s a good goal to stick to, especially since I’m on tour and needing to learn how to be quicker and less of a perfectionist. There’s a time and a place for being slow and detailed.
There was a lot of unnecessary judgment before it was even finished. EHP: Stop that. I didn’t come to a personal interpretation until about mid-way through. Give it a listen. I’d be interested to hear your interpretations.
*Headphones are recommended for a more robust experience.
Untitled No. 1
Instrumentation: accordion, 7 cello tracks including one track of dropped C string to a G flat (scordatura)
Stay well. Hope your weekend is a happy time.