Thursday, June 08, 2006

DCIC recording session

Last weekend, the DC Improvisers Collective recorded our new CD. We spent two and a half days at Silver Sonya with T.J. Lipple, working very hard. I mean, it was great fun, but we really did work and work and work. We started Friday evening, setting up and getting sounds. The fact that T.J. is a genius was obvious from the start. Our group is somewhere between jazz and rock, and he got the perfect sound... not close mic-ing everything, so we had a spacious jazz sound, but kept a ballsy rock feel. Hard to explain... but you'll hear it when we get the mastering done.

We spent about 11 hours on Saturday recording. So, we had plenty of time to document what we usually do, and then still had time to try some new things, and to just plain push ourselves to keep improvising and inventing new music after we had exhausted our usual habits. This included an interesting excercise where we did three short pieces in layers - with one of us recording a track, then the other two adding overdubs -- removing the dynamic interactivity of group improvisation and replacing that with one-way communication. I think one of those three will end up on the album, but we'll see... we haven't figured all of that out yet.

Sunday was a twelve hour day of mixing. That can be pretty tedious, but T.J. brought the mad skillz and total concentration and burned through it. We left with over two hours of material mixed. Now we have to decide what "makes the cut" and goes on the album, and what gets left on the metaphorical editing room floor, or gets saved for the outakes that get slapped on the re-issue (that's a joke), but seriously, we can probably use some of the "out-takes" as bonus stuff to give away online or something... we'll get that figured out.

Of couse I couldn't be happier. The session was far more productive than I expected and the recordings sound really wonderful. Once we figure out what goes on the album, we have to go back to the studio for mastering... then we'll have some things to share.

Mike totally rocked all weekend. He pulled out some wild tenor playing, plus several gorgeous pieces on bass clarinet, and several interesting tracks on his new saxello (a wacky hybrid soprano sax thing).

Ben brought his "a-game" too... monster playing, including some cool hand percussion and toy xylophone in addition to his drumset work. Plus, his previous studio experience helped us all in terms of making the best use of the time, and keeping things from getting stressful.

So we still have some work to do - figuring out what pieces stay, and which ones have to go, then mastering, then figuring out how we want to release this thing... so that may take a little while. In the meantime, we're playing next week opening for the Swiss trio "Day & Taxi" and then in August with Greg Osby. Really. But that show happens to be smack in the middle of my little "mini-tour" with Fending/Matis, so I might miss that show. We'll see.

Ok, I can't wrap this up without the obligatory "playing the guitar with a vibrator" photo.

And here's a shot of us in the control room. You'll notice the three of us have very silly grins on our faces? That's because we can't believe how good TJ made us sound...

Photos by Travis Miller

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