September, 2009

A Matter of Choice

I am always blown away by access these days.

Access to everything.  Access to information.   Access to immediate news.  Access to the inner workings of everything.  Answers to questions.  Answers to what is on our minds precisely at this moment.  The answer to how many different types of dijon mustard exist.  We live in an age where access to information is everything.  (And access to music?  Did I just ask that question? )

So….We’ve been thinking a lot about track selection.  There are several songs that are part of our live repertoire which are obvious selections.  But…there are others that fall into other categories- they haven’t been tried out live; or maybe, they need to exist as studio songs to find real life.  We don’t know.  But we’re going through this process right now.

Dev and I spent considerable time last weekend on these ‘other’ ones.  ‘Which’ of these ‘other’ songs fit in with the album?  Which of these will be added to the live repertoire?  Most of all, which of these are truly good songs?   We don’t know.

This is what pre-production is all about.

We have 6-7 definitive songs chosen for this album.  We have another 7-8 that we are determining, workshopping, trying to understand for ourselves, etc.  There is an additional 3 or 4 that are clear dark horses.  And to top it all off, we just finished writing a brand new song over the weekend.  It is called The Promise, but that’s all we can share so far.  No sketch will be posted for now as we are so close to recording.   It will either make it on the album, or fade away into musical obvlivion!  (Isn’t melodrama lovely?)

But it is exciting.  The process of song selection is so much more about actually playing, feeling, working, and living these songs, than it is picking from an imaginary hat.   There’s more thought into this part of the process than we figured- well, partly because we didn’t realize that there were this many to choose from.

Yes, songs like Slow Pour, Keys to the City, and King Henry VIII are obvious Yes’s.   But what about Lost and Found, Astronautica, and Galaxity/Night Drive?  And beyond that, what about that enigma of a song that has excited, indulged, toyed with, terrorized, and challenged us most of all – In Retrospect??  Will we finally commit to recording this one?  (For the record, this song has gone through more changes than any song that we have ever written.  It started as a simple acoustic expression and after considerable South Indian Classical influence and Stephan Sczeczniakian rhythamic agression has become an untamed, furious, and overwhelming scream.   Dev and I are feeling more and more like the truth worth recording about this song lies somewhere inbetween.)

So, indeed we are somewhat in the process of choosing.  But choice is not something you just up and decide.  Sometimes you have to gravitate towards it, lean into it, get a sense of it, and work with it.  Just like most of the choices in our lives.