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Musicianship, live technique, etc...
I have some thoughts I'd like to share with you and I'd like to get your
input on them, if you have any.
First of all, when working with other musicians, how important is
communication while playing, especially when all of the material is 90 to
100% improvised? I mean like giving each other cues, or just staying in
touch with the other guy/guys to see where they're at.
The reason I bring this up is that I've noticed that when I work with my
new partner, that we almost never make eye contact and musically I'm
finding it hard to connect - it seems like we're having two monologues
rather than a conversation. I know that in some types of music this is
desireable, but I can't imagine that this will have satisfying results
when this is the only way people work together.
Secondly: I'm beginning to understand breaks in composition. I mean
dead spaces, quiet spaces, quieter spaces - increasing dynamic range.
When we work together, one recipe we use is one person will do a complex
drone, the other will do rhythmic sequential stuff. One problem I've been
having is that the music just goes on and on and there aren't any
breaks... it feels like a need to keep the music going no matter what, and
this seems really tiring after a while, like "hey, we're trying to
overload your circuits, relentlessly".
I find it easier to work with people's attention when one takes down the
levels and gives their brain a chance to breathe, then re-engaging them in
I'm very interested in how you loopers deal with this, since looping
essentially means endless music.
PS: A little side note - I was asked to provide some sound installations
for an event I was also playing at. I decided to come up with some audio
"fountains". I made a tape of my modular synthesizer, plus mixing in
some other tape material. The idea was to play them on some custom tape
decks that will play a cassette endlessly, in mono, not repeating the
music for 4 hours. I also kept in mind that these "fountains" would be
playing in quieter spaces, away from the main events where people might be
relaxing or having conversations, so I made a point of letting the music
play, but then recording - often minutes - of dead silence or very quiet
passages. The music would stop as some fountains do periodically. I was
hoping this would provide both entertainment and relaxation or refuge.