represents a complete synthesis of the aspects I value most in creating music: collaboration, improvisation, intentional composition, usage of electronic elements and audio manipulation, and friendship.
I've known Greg and held him in high esteem as a creative artist and as a close friend for close to a decade. In both his music and visual art, Greg plays with feelings of maximum density, creating pieces that hold a veritable heaviness within them. In contrast, my musical aesthetic is more open, often diatonic, and consonant.
When Greg reached out to me with an offer from The Slow Music Movement
to collaborate on an album, I was on my way to St. Louis without a second thought. In St. Louis, we spent a full week improvising together, combining a range of instruments – pianos, guitars, and synths – with my looper-oriented pedal board. The result was a collection of song seeds, improvised pieces and generally gnarly sounds.
Greg and I split up the recordings, working separately to apply our unique approaches to editing music.
The foundation of my approach for editing songs on Confluence
rested on two guiding principles:
- Using only the stems from a single improvisation session for each piece. To stay as close to the original improvisations as possible, I didn't give myself the option to add layers or to combine sounds from other sessions.
- Slicing moments from the stems. While limiting myself to the pool of sounds each improvisational session produced, I gave myself full nonlinear reign of them to collage and build a piece.
This orientation to the editing process helped me to pull together a song
from each session. It guided me in asking, "what is the core that can be distilled from this assortment of sounds, and how can I construct a piece around it?". Using a process of layering and audio manipulation, these seeds – the unique cores I found within different sessions – grew into more intentional compositions.
Greg then took each track and mixed them beautifully, crafting the sonic space in which Confluence
The making of Confluence
was, at its core, a process of trust – it demanded of us a willingness to head out into the unknown without a map or any sense of where we were headed. In letting go of more traditional approaches to crafting songs, we discovered a rich and dense landscape of sound. About May Rain
was a fruit of a day of recording Greg's family piano running through my pedal board.
For this improvisation, I had told Greg to play the piano as a light morning rain in May. The original recording had a lightness to it - something akin to an early morning silence. Slowly new elements arise into this soft and sparkly environment. Layers build until a climax at the end of the piece, where the listener is treated to an oddly asymmetrical groove marked by a piano chord and white noise percussion.