Thursday, March 26, 2009

The next phase

Back from my little hiatus from blogging. 

It has now been a couple of weeks since the recording sessions.  Last week there was a need to take a bit of a break from the project.  I played a couple of performances and tried to take some family time and rest in between the concerts.

Now, it's on to the next phase.  There are actually two main aspects on which to focus right now: edits and raising funds.  I find both of these areas somewhat daunting and overwhelming, and in fact struggled somewhat this past weekend to get rolling on the edits.    

My main task regarding the edits is to make choices, so many choices.  Not to diminish the magic of sound recording, but I think this process is much like quilting.  I recently completed my first quilt, which was inspired by the great textile artist and colourmeister, Kaffe Fassett, who launched me on the project at a workshop.  The satisfaction in creating the quilt was to make all the "right" choices regarding the colour and design of fabrics and how they are positioned in relation to each other, so as to create the optimal effect of beauty as a whole.  As there are several takes of each piece of music, one has to choose which portions of which takes to put together for the final product.   This choosing is my task.  The actual "piecing together" of the takes is done with great precision and sensitivity by my brilliant producer, Earl McCluskie.

My first self-created obstacle in starting this process was a bit of a block while I tried to figure out a process for keeping track of which takes I liked or disliked, and to retain the aural memory of what I had just heard while listening to the next version of it.  In constructing the quilt I was able to lay out all the squares of fabric in front of me and play with them.  With the recording, I do not have the technological equipment to do the equivalent audio-wise:  the placing of different "swatches" of takes side by side and listening to the various options.  I have to rely on my ears and my memory.  As with many things, there was a feeling of overwhelm in getting started.  I decided to use coloured markers to designate different qualities that I was hearing, and once I could envision my strategy I was able to jump in and get started.  

As I began listening to the many takes, I was relieved and happy to hear that the sound quality is indeed as very fine as we had hoped and intended.  The instrument has such an immense range and the acoustic resonance of the space sounds natural and beautiful.  There will be no need to add artificial reverb of any consequence.   

This next phase will no doubt be a slow and steady process, and will demand large chunks of time in conjunction with good energy and an alert mind.   A side benefit of this phase that I am already enjoying is that I now have a set of decent speakers in my house, something that has been sadly lacking for some time now.  My intention was to rent the speakers just for the duration of this project but I am now tempted to just purchase them.  A musician without a sound system at home? Enough of that!


  1. Selection and discrimination is always the toughest.

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    Happy creating!