Thursday, June 19, 2008

Medieval maw Day 04

One piece down, two to go. Started with the easiest, though not the shortest, so as to familiarize ourselves with this particular combination in this particular facility. You can have really good musicians, a really good studio (gear and rooms), and a really good engineer, and unless and until they're worked together, they still can't know the best way to proceed. Several years ago, when my buddy Steve took delivery of a new wooden flute, he went out to the cotton-fields-in-the-middle-of-nowhere studio where we record and laid out the bucks for a few hours' recording time, just purely in order to be able to try out sounds and approaches before the major multi-day projects came down the pike. These few hours of "no goals" experimentation paid off big-time when he and the engineer went to lay down tracks for our most recent project.

This is not so readily available when the members of our medieval band live at some remove from one another. Dharmonia and I are in Lubbock, but bowed-string player Jann is in Waco and tenor David is in Lansing MI. So we don't have the luxury of meeting once or twice a week to rehearse at somebody's house (back in the Day--the early 1990s--that is precisely how we got our ensemble concept together: through playing together on a daily basis); instead, we meet up once or twice a year to research, rehearse, and record material. We don't the luxury of being off-handed anymore: on those once-yearly windows of two or three or four days, we have to flipping focus.

I used to hate it when professors would say (or just imply) to us poor starving graduate students that someday we would look back and those brutal days wouldn't seem so bad. Well, there were that bad and that hard and that broke. I'm not sorry to have health insurance, home equity, and some job security (not to mention old friends scattered around the world).

But, looking back to those days when we were broke and hungry, but also creative, and ambitious, and had time for each other--I miss the immediacy of the bond.

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