After getting back from the Side A tour in Europe- a trip which began with a trio set with John Russell and Ståle Liavik Solberg, then ended with a solo concert in Luz and work on the Made To Break box set mixes with Christoph Amann and Christof Kurzmann- the last week has been spent finalizing the details for the next two releases on Audiographic Records: “The Lions Have Eaten One Of The Guards” (the new duo album with Paal Nilssen-Love, issued in anticipation of our upcoming North American tour in September), and “Site Specific” (a double CD of solo recordings and book of photographs). The contrast between the joy I find playing concerts and the frustration of being forced to examine the results of my creative process whenever making an album, was especially telling when placed in time so directly back to back. Though I’ve been making recordings for decades, the task of reviewing takes, mixes, and masters is never pleasant, the musical output placed under a microscope step by step, again and again and again, until the work is done. But I’m familiar with this procedure, and the development of the new duo album with Paal was straightforward. Now that the document is complete I’m incredibly happy and excited by the results, both of the music and the album design by Fede Peñalva. For the “Site Specific” project I was confronted not only with the routine of listening to dozens of takes of solo music, recorded in four different environments, selecting the best performances and then working on the mixes with Dave Zuchowski (who recorded all the music on location in Chicago and Louisville); it was also necessary to review thousands of photographs that would be the visual content for the book that belongs with the music- something I’ve never done before. If I thought that reviewing the performances was an unpleasant process, the editing of the photographic material was a new high in creative lows: of all the photographs taken since 2010, hundreds upon hundreds were thrown away, each an example of a creative failure. I started taking photographs as an attempt to better understand the visual relationships in painting, and to survive the hours of banality while on tour. Looking at the images, it was clear how much of the banality entered into the picture. Tackling this massive and new project has involved many more people than I usually work with on a recording project, I’d like to acknowledge them here: Dave Zuchowski and Wendy V. for all their help with the recording process; to Tim Barnes for the scouting assistance in Lousiville; to Fede Peñalva for the creative design work on the book; to Chris Linster for the creative printing work; and to Miklos Gosztonyi for transcribing the house concert monologs. These two new Audiographic documents come out in mid August, and I’m already working on the first steps toward the next one- composing duo material to record with Nate Wooley on August 2nd at our Option Milwaukee show at the Sugar Maple. Exciting, if nothing but challenging, times.
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