Wednesday, November 23, 2005

Music: Jam Sessions

My friend AD and I try to jam about once a week. We both play guitar. Our musical influences are quite varied and while we have some things in common, there are a lot of differences in out preferences. I think this generally equates to positive sessions, our diversity provides creative tension. Regardless of our differences in musical tastes, one positive aspect that we bring to our sessions is a willingness to listen to what the other has to say. A willingness to try something new even if we would generally be inclined to resist going in an unknown direction.

AD uses Audacity to lay down his idea tracks. I use Audacity (for quick idea takes) & Ardour (for multitrack ideas, when the creative vibe is really in gear and I have more time to work with it). We bounce these tracks off of each other and have quite a collection of original material to work with at this point, and we are reaching an interesting convergence. He has wanted to explore playing live, whereas I have been less inclined and even resistant to doing that. My focus has been on putting together original material and recording it which I think is less interesting to him due to the technicalities involved.

The convergence I see is that with our original material coming together, AD wants to get it recorded and onto CD, while I am more confident with each jam session that we could easily play live performances with our material.

Tonight we jammed on some new ideas that each of us had and it seemed to flow quite naturally. I am really at the point where I want to get this stuff down "to tape" which leads to some interesting challenges.
  • Drums. I appreciate drum machines but I love a real live, talented drummer. Neither of us plays drums or has access to a kit anyway, and to program a drum machine for realism you have to be able to think like a drummer. I'm afraid this is going to be a big issue. Drums can make or break a song for me. Lame drumming leads to quick disinterest in a song for me.
  • Bass and/or keyboard. Not a big challenge. I can take care of that.
  • Vocals. Now there's a real challenge. I doubt either of us want to ruin our recordings trying to do lead vocals. Which leads to the next challenge...
  • Lyrics. We would definitely want control of lyrics. If we brought in a permanent vocalist for the project it would be interesting to see how that would play out...
  • Arrangement. I want control of arrangements, I don't think AD would disapprove. The problem would be knowing when a piece is done. I am a very improvisational player. I like to go off on an idea and see where it leads, but that has to be reined in if were ever going to get anything finalized...
  • Fun. This stuff has to remain fun because that is why we do it. If it becomes a hassle or otherwise annoying it wouldn't take long for us to just say forget it. I think as longing as we're coming up with new ideas and learning as we go it should keep our interests.
  • Time. AD has more time on his hands then I do and it will be a real challenge if we want to get anything done. If you add a drummer and/or vocalist it could get really interesting really quickly...
Hmm, I suppose I would also have to invest in some more gear as well. At the least a real mic if we are going to get vocals--which I think we need. I don't think either of us want a CD full of instrumentals, although... who knows? If we find a drummer, then we need a mixer a set of mics for the kit. Lacking funds makes that unrealistic. Maybe we can find a drummer who's already set with that gear. I'm sure we could. Maybe he or she would have pity on us and not charge us a mint to lay down some kickin' tracks for us? One can hope, right?

Ah, the evolution of the recording hobbyist...

Too bad I can't post some samples here for family & friends. Feedback would be nice...

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1 comment:

f3nd3rstr@t said...

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