Harvey Robinson

I missed yesterday… but would you believe me if I told you I actually worked on SEVERAL songs yesterday, just can’t show them to you… You should believe it because it’s true!

Pearl and the Beard is in Greensboro, North Carolina working with Harvey Robinson/Monkeywhale Productions on his 48 Hour Film. If you’ve never heard of the 48 Film Festival, you can research it here and be enthused and blown away.  It’s an amazing feat of artistry that must be completed in 48 hours.  For more about the festival click HERE.

Well, we were recruited by dear friend Harvey to help on the soundtrack to his film this year.  We showed up yesterday at noon, ate lunch and headed to the studio where Ben Singer, Wayne Reich, and Matty Sheetz were there waiting for us to arrive.  Truthfully, I was worried this was going to be a painful experience.  I’ve done soundtracks to film, and it can be as slow as tar, tedious and frustrating.  But I was welcomed with the warming arms of organization: these guys were amazing.  They were ready with ideas they had recorded before we got there, and, though they hadn’t seen the footage to what they were scoring, they had ideas and were moving on them.  Wayne is a wonderful violinist, and we were able to do some free improvisation together as a violin/cello duet, which I haven’t done in such a long time.  Free-improvisation is so… well… freeing.  If you have the inclination to do it with anyone using any instrument, I highly encourage you to find a friend and just play!

Rule #1 to Free Improvisation: 

There are NO WRONG NOTES. There are NO mistakes.

That’s it.

A personal guideline I have when doing free improv is to listen.  Listen to what your partner is doing.  React.  Remember you are not playing by yourself.  Space is also a great tool, especially when recording a free-improv.  With including space in a performance you can cut sections and move them around where necessary.

We finished around 9:30 pm.  Late last night we were able to hear a rough mix of what we had done during the day.  I wish I could post the duet for you to hear: what a cool moment!  We did several takes of it, each one different in its own way.

Speaking of improv – done in only a few minutes, the song today is improvised everything.  Sometimes things just come to you and you can craft them into something wonderful.  You feel the movement forward and you pat yourself on the back a little.  But sometimes, there is the hugest brick slamming over and over into your brain prohibiting any ideas from coming forth.  This is where I am.  This is where I have been for several months.  The best way out?  Just do it.  Keep doing it.  Keep working through it.  So, here is an improvised, one-take song, Disease.