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Steve's Blog: Solo Bass & Beyond



practice – it's a slow process

August 21st, 2006 | 1 Comment | Categories: Musing on Music |

Every now and again, arty types stumble on something that in a split second changes the way they do what they do. Could be a thought, an idea, something concrete like a new instrument or gadget…

By ‘every now and again’ I mean ‘once in a blue moon’.

The rest of the time it’s about edging forward little by little. About frustrating hours spent playing the same old shit, looking for something new to say, new ways to say old things, anything but yesterday’s news. Sometimes there’s a chink of light. A new note in an old tune, a pair of chords that suggest a different kind of mellow melancholy, a sound that speaks in a new voice, a loop trick that means the recorded noises come back in an unexpected way.

But then they need assimilating, then integrating with what you already do, and then comes the innovation, once there’s a level of comfort with whatever the new thing happens to be. Imitate, Assimilate, Integrate, Innovate – that’s the process, the order.

So I’m here, trying new things, with some loops running that show promise, some new bleeps, some old sounds, some tweaked sounds and thoughts of how those sound willl work with drums and double bass on Wednesday.

What I still haven’t learnt to trust is that Recycling is all about the combination. It’s not about me coming in with ideas. It’s about the musicians acting and reacting, finishing each other’s sentences, providing the punch line to a set up line, painting scenery for the others to act in, [insert endless stream of collaborative metaphors here]. The compositional process is all but finished when the musicians are booked. It’s a rarified form of sonic alchemy, choosing the right ingredients. Players that should sound good, but surprise each other. where the setting will take people out of what they always do into a musical world of fewer expectations and more possibilities.

Having said that, both Seb and Andy have such insanely broad skill-sets, I doubt Wednesday is really going to stretch either of them. Great music runs in their lymphatic system. It’s glandular, they’re bloated with taste and tunes and timbres and tonalities. I just need to sit back, do some StevieSounds and enjoy the ride.

As can you, obviously.

See you there.

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One Comment so far ↓

  • wes watson

    Steve – if I only lived a few thousand miles closer – I’d be taking lessons from you on how to improve my practice – my imitate & assimilate. …and of course work on integrate & innovate!

    Good stuff brother. thanks!