Friday, April 14, 2006

Revisting and Revising

A few days break, followed by another few days of listening to the BETWEEN WATERS project. Overall, I feel that the pieces summon up the energies and emotions I intended them to.
But one piece-- "7 Islands/Odzihozo"-- does not feel quite right. The piece is built upon a repeated seven note motif that is moved in sonic space, inter-woven with treated speech fragments and "distant" guitar arpeggios. But the balance feels wrong; and the piece is too repetitive, too trance-like. I want it to suggest rock and water and depth of time, a tension and acceptance between flow and permanence. (Touchstones and inspirations for this piece are the Abenaki creator deity Odzihozo, who rests now as a huge rock in/on Lake Champlain, and the Abenaki Seven Thunders, whose energies effect change in winds and weathers.)
I try a denser weave and mix-- I call it the "monolithic mix". Listening back over the course of a day, I discover that this has moved the piece even further from where it should be. I try the opposite tack: a more spacious mix, with a wider stereo spectrum--the "panoramic mix". But now the piece seems to have lost its body, its mass, completely.
So I return to the original mix. This time, though, I weave in a new "event": a short chord motif culled, then treated, from the end of my recent steel guitar improv; it's a blooming of harmonics that I've come to call "the arrival." This, too, I repeat at intervals through both space and time throughout the piece, using the number 7 as a guide to structure and spacing.
Now I begin to hear what I've been seeking: something like those moments of surprise and human perception that meet with nature and spirit at the intersections of energy exchange.