Typically I have been creeping into the Union early on weekday mornings, before anyone is around, carting in a laptop, headphones, coffee, and sometimes a tiny keyboard. The Union is dark and quiet, suffused with an aura of infinite creative potential; my studio space feels like my own personal prison cell of ideas (I have resisted decorating or “vibing” out the space because it actually encourages more focused work – no comforts to distract and soften resolve).

 In two weeks I have generated roughly seventy five minutes of useable material so far; of that, perhaps thirty minutes of finished material considering redundancies and edits. I feel that I have hit a stride with the software and methods I have restricted myself to, and the pace of output is accelerating, which feels really good.

I have been working in a layered approach to single sound files, where I begin with a source sound of some guitar or synth or noise, and I begin to process it in stages. I have been sketching out a rough outline of what I’m trying to accomplish in each stage, drawing a dynamic/timbral/dramatic shape that I will assign various parameters to, and over the course of multiple “takes” I get closer to realizing these ideas, in real-time. After each take, I will listen to the track and consider additional processing to get closer to the sound I’m looking for. This methodology relates to my work as a jazz and improvising musician – a system of working on a particular object or piece of vocabulary, practicing it, recording it, refining, extending and abstracting it, finally integrating it into my language.

I will have some finished material to put up online soon. I am excited to share the curious abstractions I have been playing with during these initial stages of my Union residency, and optimistic about where it will go in the coming months! Thanks to Paige, Brigitte, and Josh for their hospitality and generosity.

I am also looking forward to my community service work, which will involve leading some workshops on instrumental improvising for North O youth. Details soon…