I have a new work that is the product of several wants:

1) I like for live versions of tunes to be different from the studio versions.

Bela Fleck and the Flecktones come to mind. Their albums feature digestible nuggets that are great for driving, cooking, and getting ready for their live shows. The live shows take these little gems and develop them into full-blown works of art. The live version of the work will use boomboxes spread through the room, and will be a small part of a larger, modular work.

2) I wanted to write something that would make sense on an iPod.

Not that I want every piece to be this, but I wanted to write one, or perhaps an “album” for this type of listening. Something with a bit of groove”¦ something not driven by development as much as it is driven by pulse and timbre.

3) The pieces I listen to on CD or mp3 aren’t necessarily my favorite works.

I tend to listen to recordings of works that work as recordings. The pieces I like to hear live usually don’t transfer to recordings very well.

4) I wanted to create a work in a more layered fashion.

Typically, I fully compose a piece for instrument and electronics before I start to realize the parts in a studio. This time I tried an approach a bit more like producing a pop tune. I recorded the guitar part, then starting “over-producing” it. I first added some percussive elements, then added some noise, then copied some of the sounds and reversed them. I’ve found this layered approach to work well for me lately. Last year, I took a solo guitar work and reworked it into a piece for guitar, strings and alto flute. This was not merely an orchestration of the work, but a new work built on that material. It’s a great way to begin a work with some reflection already in place.

How do you create? How do you push yourself out of your intuition? Does one need to do that?

Leave a Reply