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Is This Unique? Every Note We’ve Ever Played Will Be Released

April 6th, 2013 | 4 Comments | Categories: Music News · New Music Strategies |

Here’s a list of facts about Daniel Berkman and I:

  • We met at the sound-check to our first gig together.
  • The idea to play only improvised duo music came about while setting up for that gig.
  • We’ve now done 10 shows together, resulting in somewhere around 11-12 hours of music (I think).
  • We’ve never played together NOT in front of an audience. Never “jammed”, never even properly sound-checked together.
  • Every note we’ve ever played together is recorded – multi-track proper hi-res recording of every gig we’ve done.
  • It will all be released soon. Every minute of it.

I’ve no idea if this is something that has ever happened before. I’ve certainly never come across a band that were able to commercially release every note they’d ever played together. These aren’t ‘board tapes’ that serial bootleggers are dumping on Archive.org. This properly mixed, mastered and released.

It is SO exciting to live at a time when this is possible. 10 years ago, we probably couldn’t have done this – certainly not at our level of success (or lack of). To get to the point where you could do this with a vinyl/CD/whatever boxed set, you’d need to do some serious ‘industry’ groundwork, and that doesn’t happen by playing improvised music in people’s houses and never rehearsing.

This is serendipity music.

We inspire each other.

A lot.

Perhaps more than any other collaborator that either of us have had does. We feel lucky and slightly giddy that Artemis (whose glorious voice features on all of the gigs from this January!) had a hunch to ‘match-make’ us as a gigging duo. She wasn’t sure what we’d do, just that an evening of music featuring the two of us would be a Good Thing.

And here we are, about to launch a seemingly unprecedented recording project – to release 10 complete shows, every note we’ve played, on a USB Stick.

It’s going to take TIME to do this. The mixing and mastering is going to be about 200 hours of work.

So we’re doing the following

  • A pre-order on the USB Stick
  • A double CD ‘narrative extraction’ from the shows (it’s not really a ‘best of’ cos all of it is the best of, but it’ll be two thematically continuous CDs of bits from the tour)
  • A ‘co-executive producer’ level where you can REALLY help us make this happen the way it should happen without me and my wife and child becoming homeless to make it possible.
  • And there’ll be a way to buy-in and get the music as hot off the press as is humanly possible…

But more on that next week. For now, we’re sharing one track from the first gig/album – the title track, ‘Fingerpainting’. All you need to do to get it is follow me on Twitter or ‘like’ my page on Facebook and send me a message on either one, and I’ll send you the code.

(oh, and the painting on the cover of Fingerpainting is by my son, “Baby Flapjack” :) )

In case you missed it, one of the shows from January 2012 is already out – Accidentally (On Purpose) is on bandcamp, and you can listen and download/buy/share it from here:

Enjoy!

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4 Comments so far ↓

  • Jeff Schmidt

    obviously – it’s unique- at least to my experience.

    the subtext is a pretty grand statement too – that every note you guys have ever played together deserves to be released.

    Balls brutha ! Big swinging hairy BALLZ!

    • Steve

      haha! True. What’s weird is I hadn’t even given it much though from the point of view of the bravado of it. We just played 10 really cool gigs, and never had a car crash. There are some bits that at the time felt pretty knife-edge, particularly tech-things that went a bit weird, but they still ‘work’, certainly within the context of an 11 hour musical journey …

  • Steve

    (further thoughts ) I think what makes it work best is that both Daniel and I are ‘improvisors first’ – we both write music, but the genesis if our musical expression is improvising. We spend a huge chunk of our instrument-holding lives creating new music on the fly for people to listen to. I don’t go to jam sessions, I don’t do 2 hour long recordings then edit out all the mistakes. I’ve made it my ‘path’ as a musician to build a vocabulary that lets me recombine the various elements of that vocabulary into new music without playing a load of shit first

    I’ve been very lucky in that I’ve played with a few people who have that same approach – Michael Manring, Theo Travis, Mike Outram are all brilliant improvisors who see it as ‘high art’ – not as ‘let’s play funk in E for an hour cos that’ll be great fun for us!’ – the recording process with Theo and Mike was similar to this, though in both cases was in a studio situation, so had a little latitude to scrap things and start again if we needed to built in… Michael and I have never played together off stage though… if only we were better at hitting record, we could’ve done a project like this, though I don’t think I was quite as ‘good’ an improvisor when he and I started playing together as I am now.

  • snapey1979

    It’s refreshing to see this approach and thank you for making me think about improvisation again. My own musical style is far removed from yours, but I spent many years playing in front of audiences, guesting with bands, having never rehearsed and never playing the same thing twice. I always had the sense that I was, to some degree, cheating or doing it wrong. Maybe due to the fact that I also played in some far more formalised settings where practice, polish and accuracy of repetition was prized above all else. The net result was a rather unproductive sense that playing fiddle with the bands was incomplete, or substandard. Discovering this release has made me wonder about this all over again. What I was doing couldn’t be considered ‘high art’ in any sense, but I think I should appreciate it for what it is, as a distinct and interesting way end in itself, and get back to making music that way.