This piece is a deconstruction of a chord progression/solo guitar idea I had. So in that sense I suppose it is a composition, but I’m also improvising all the ideas except the pulse at the very beginning and the chord progression. Everything you hear is played on a steel string acoustic guitar. There are no multi-track overdubs, each layer is added in real-time using an echoplex digital pro plus.
So this is not the piece I have been working on that I mentioned in the previous post. I had to take a break from that one before attempting to record it again. Hopefully that one will be posted soon. But in the meantime…
I sat down earlier today and came up with the main melodic idea in this piece and decided to turn it into something. Steel-string acoustic guitar tuned down a whole step from standard tuning. I’m not really sure if I should call this an improvisation or not. I came up with the idea very quickly, and recorded it very quickly…it felt much more like a composition than an improvisation, but it happened very spontaneously. In any case…here it is…
A new one I recorded in one take earlier today. Open D-tuning. Lap steel resonator guitar.
This piece has 4 steel string acoustic guitar parts layered on top of each other. The guitar is tuned down a whole step to DGCFAD. The entire piece is made up of chords rapidly fingerpicked in four note groupings. I was definitely inspired by composer Gustavo Santaolalla’s album Ronroco, as well as by the way that Steve Reich achieves a beautiful shift of colors and sound from chord to chord or motif to motif in his piece Music for 18 Musicians. (Both are amazing works, and very deserving of attentive, frequent, and detailed listening.) Additionally, I generally like the idea of having two conflicting concepts co-exist. Here you have a rapid, almost frantic, repetitive and percussive flurry of notes that persist throughout, but at the same time there exists a slow, gradual shifting of colors. While I was improvising the layered parts, another idea that kept entering my head was call and answer. As I was playing the 2nd, 3rd, or 4th guitar parts, if I heard a rhythmic or melodic idea in one of the other parts, I would attempt to mimic it in the part I was currently playing. What results is a wall of saturated sound, that, if listened to closely, reveals little melodies and rhythmic motifs. All of this, interestingly enough, despite the rapidly/frantically repeated notes, results in a very calming sound (at least to me). It is very much like being in a large crowd in a public place where many, many different conversations are occurring all at once, yet you are still able to make sense of words and phrases here and there, independently of the sound as a whole.
The picture in the original post is from a trip I took to Alaska 2 years ago. I was in Seward, and I set my camera out on the balcony of the hotel room one night for a time exposure shot. I like the image, and it seemed fitting…so I decided to post it as well…to hopefully add some visual appeal to my blog.
I would love to hear what anyone who cares to share took from this piece. Sonically, visually, emotionally, musically, anything at all. So if you feel so inclined, leave a comment or send me an email. (firstname.lastname@example.org)
Thanks for listening.
P.S. If you haven’t already, check out my link to the site inBflat.net for one of the most beautiful and moving uses of the internet I have seen/heard in a long, long time.