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Tactics for Circumventing Musical Ruts

I was reading the interview with Chris Vrenna in Electronic Musician
Magazine yesterday
and he mentioned that he co-wrote his entire latest CD (Tweaker) using the
same small set of
generic sounds for drums, bass keyboards and pads on every song.

He said he did that because he didn't want any of the sound design to get 
the way of
the emotional impact of the actual chords and structure of the tunes.  He
wanted to make sure
that the strongs themselves were strong without the benefit of cool 
He then said that
when he was finished writing and arranging the tunes that he went back in
and began replacing
the sounds with innovative sound design.

I thought this was a really interesting approach to circumventing  musical
ruts and it got me to thinking about
other potential ways that we can use to get ourselves out of our normal
musical ruts (for composition;
 for improvisation; for looping, whatever).

Anyway,  I wanted to see if anyone would be interested in contributing to a
thread on tactics or devices
that we use to break ourselves out of our musical ruts.

good writing, everybody,
Rick Walker