Saturday, April 21, 2012

New Music for Meditation: Flute Recordings

Beginning work on a new recording project. Having had several flutes restored to me recently, I have been planning to do some new recordings towards a new album project. This past winter, recording Darshan, a new album of music for meditation, yoga, healing, and Reiki, has also renewed interest in recording more new music in that mode. I am also continuing to write new lyrics for new songs. I'm not writing many poems right now, but that's normal when I'm working on music.

Tonight I was finally able to set up the microphones and do some recording. (I'm writing this while taking a short rest break.) I've had some computer issues lately, but now things in the studio are working again. I've got the stereo mic pair set up in the living room, and when I'm done tonight I'll leave everything set up so that all I have to do to record some more is throw a few switches and start playing.

I recorded a first piece with the Zen flute, and another with one of the shakuhachi I hadn't played in awhile. Mostly I'm exploring. I'm recording everything, expecting to trim most of it away later, leaving just the best music. I will probably make one piece from this session with a lot of space in it, to make an ambient piece with flute events widely spaced apart.

For tonight's session, I'm just improvising. Getting to know my flutes again. You record everything just in case you come up with something really good. I've made several piano pieces that way, and even more Stick pieces. Tonight's session is a reintroduction to some old friends. Finding our voices together again. I'm not worried about perfection at all for this session.

When I play back a solo flute piece, sometimes I hear Stick or keyboard parts to go with it: they emerge from within the gestures and spaces of the music. What I'm doing for this session is also listening to play back with reverb added, to hear how things sound in a large acoustic space. (I have some of the best software reverb emulators ever now: the software algorithms just keep getting better.)

I feel like working on into the night. If I run out of air, I will keep going with other instruments.

I am making raw tracks here. They will assembled later. This is all raw material. Some of it might turn into finished pieces, some of it may be mixed in elsewhere. It's like a painter taking sketches to later repurpose them into finished paintings. That's a good analogy, actually. Tonight I'm recording sketchbook pieces. Something good may emerge from them later. Meanwhile, it just feels incredibly good to playing my old flutes again. A year ago, I'm not sure I would have even had the breath and stamina for this; so I guess it's true that I'm getting stronger, now, even if still very gradually.

I've put in about two hours now tonight. Time to stop and let the ears rest. I find that I can't really go much more than four hours at a stretch without my ears getting tired. Two hours of continuous recording is pretty good, overall.

I recorded some ambient soundscapes, when I was tired of playing flute. Some of these larger bamboo flutes require a lot of air to play, so they're actually tiring to play for a long time. I recorded another take on the Zen flute, and some more shakuhachi.

Then I fooled around for awhile trying out ambient synth patches. One or two ideas that won't escape the sketchbook, probably, but one or two that might be good music beds, once I massage them a little. One in particular might end up being good to blend with one of the flutes, later on. I'll see how that goes.

Zen: Stop when you're tired. Eat when you're hungry. Chop wood, carry water. Sleep wherever you fall. Live in the moment. Play.

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