Thursday 30 July 1998

David and I have returned

11.25 David and I have returned to the Music Room to present ourselves once more to the unfolding of DGM Sampler II. "Three Of A Perfect Pair" from Montreal 1984 sinks into its audience's applause and Adrian's "Never Enough" rises from it.

Our in-store in Montreal on July 11th. with Tony Levin, Adrian, myself from the 1984 Crim (Billy B. was in Greece), and Trey Gunn, to present "Absent Lovers" (and "Space Groove") six blocks from where 14 years to the day the performance had been recorded.

Now Dave the Roadie is singing Elvis Costello's "Shipbuilding" with Mr. McFall's Chamber out of "Heavy ConstruKction" from ProjeKct Two's forthcoming "Live Groove". This Sampler will present a good tickle of current and about - to - be current DGM releases, to revitalise the small hairs within the inner ears of DGM audients.

Chris Murphy, visiting engineer, is searching for ADAT tapes to mix ProjeKct One's first improv for inclusion. More later ...

12.09

Chris Murphy has returned searching for more tapes ...

"Isn't it interesting that the things we do best aren't the things that we want to do?" - RF to David. Currently we are editing a Bill Nelson track.

Blast From The Past:

While David is editing Bill, I accessed my computer files from 10 years ago. This was the period (1986-89) of the Red Lion House in Cranborne, Dorset, where Guitar Craft students from around the world visited for extended periods. Some, like Trey Gunn, were there for most of the three years.

This is from a computer file dated October 5th. 1988 and is drawn from writings for use in the House:

"Actually, what we do is inseparable from how and why we do what we do. So, the transformation of sound is inseparable from a transformation of self, a refining of what we are. For example, we attract silence by being silent. The practice of a craft is the way, the practising the means.

In Guitar Craft, our guitar playing, and how we practice our guitar playing, is a part of our lives. If this is true, playing and practising our instrument is inseparable from the rest of our lives. When we play our guitar we are playing ourselves. If we change our playing, we change our lives. If we change our practice, we change how we live our lives. Guitar playing is not just what we do with our hands, nor just how-we-do what-we-do with our hands: guitar playing is how we are. If we wish to discover the way we are, we consult our playing. The implications of this are considerable.

A practice of any value will be three things:

1. A way of developing a relationship with the instrument;2. A way of developing a relationship with music;3. A way of developing a relationship with ourselves.

Put simply, the musician becomes a trained instrument to be played by music. We approach the intangible by working upon the tangible. At a certain point of practice, craft becomes an art. This is quite straightforward but exceptionally difficult.

The advantages of an efficient practice include:

i) Intrinsic value: there is an economy of effort. Nothing is wasted.
ii) Intention applied to our habits increases our alertness.
iii) This alertness brings us into the moment. In the moment we can see what is necessary. Although we may not have the capacity to respond to the demands of the moment, as our power of effectuality increases, so does our response.
iv) Working from intention brings us closer to the creative impulse."

This not history for me, but part of an ongoing present moment which engages the future as much as "the past". And this file is timely: next Sunday I fly to Hanover for a Guitar Craft Level One.

***

David has been discussing with Declan Colgan, A&R hero of Virgin, our 24-bit remastering of the entire KC (former EG) catalogue at Virgin. Current CD players don't handle this, but the industry anticipates the technology being available within two years.

We maintain our relationship with Virgin through Declan. My interest is to maintain the sonic quality of the catalogue, and to keep it in step with current technological developments.

There is an ongoing debate of vinyl vs. CD, analogue vs. digital. Probably, virgin vinyl on high-flight gear has not yet been matched by CD for audiophiles. I note that audiophiles learnt to listen on analogue equipment to vinyl. But vinyl damages and lacks the convenience of CDs. On modest / domestic equipment, I would prefer CD. Current innovation in the digital domain is staggering.

Personally, I prefer an analogue book to a computer screen; a CD to an LP. But both formats have their own strengths.

Another tired debate centres on the venality of the deceitful Fripp, remastering as technology develops and forcing loyal audients to part with their hard-earned pay and buy the entire catalogue once again. I would ask: why would anyone be dopey enough to buy a record they already own? Unless, of course, they want it in an enhanced / another format. Then the responsibility for the choice is theirs.

This re-mastering and re-presentation is primarily for a generation which hasn't yet discovered the music. That discovery takes place on current sound-carriers. When I replace my own vinyl friends I am grateful and happy that I am able to do so. I don't bleat that Joni Mitchell or The Beatles are nasty people for allowing me to play their music on my CD blaster while lying in the bath; using the remote to scroll, re-assemble and direct my listening pleasure. All this a result of their greed and personal failings? Hey dude, wake up and smell the coffee!

This is not, of course, to suggest that my favourite artists and composers are not greedy and have no personal failings. But I do not attribute to them the responsibility for actions resulting from my own cupidity and desires; particularly were I to be a completist.

A Soundscape from "That Which Passes" is now funtioning as a sorbet upon the aural palette between two other dishes - Radical Dance's "Sabre Dance" and The CGT's version of Beethoven's Fifth. (Radical Dance may be DGM's first vinyl release). Now another surprising juxtaposition: "Pie Jesu" out of Peter Hammill.

"Pie Jesu" is "God given for a film-maker" says David. "If you put this behind any scene it would give it instant pathos". David recalls all the details surrounding this piece as it flew by one 1993 evening, here in the Music Room.

The world has yet to discover what soundscapes have to offer. A gateway doesn't walk towards those approaching it, but its gate might swing open. It is then the choice of those approaching whether to use the gate and pass through, or not.

If you, an informed, reflective audient, well-read in the increasing volume of recent academic musical tomes, were to ask: "But what does music mean? What does it represent? What is its function?" I would reply: "The function, meaning and value of music, and what it represents, differs according to the world in which it originates and in which it is received / perceived". And I would add that we would consider both "horizontal" worlds and "vertical" worlds (cf. Howard S. Becker and Ken Wilber).

The attentive Web-visitor, noticing three different meanings of the word "world" in two paragraphs, grows restive and presses me for semantic clarity. So I'm off to a meeting with David and Diane.

17.21

Back after a lunch of tasty soup, made by myself last night from our own cabbage and enriched with an onion (also from our garden) and two of Beaton's carrots (not from here). The soup was satisfyingly reminiscent of my Mother's superb vegetable soup served to me throughout my youth.

Editing continues ...

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