The Past Is Still Here
Steve Wright and Jon Wood
Our goal is to transform sonic emotional moments by using past original audio material randomly as source material in a live mix situation. We wish to revisit, invigorate, rediscover, alter, and ultimately re-invent older original material such as unreleased demos, rehearsal drafts, live recordings and commercially available product. This process will form the basis for a new approach to both song creation and music making.
This project is a new concept for both artists and as such will put them in a new place to begin from when approaching this collaboration. This is a project that aims to take a moment in time and place it out of context, with regard to the artists’ personal and professional creative output. We aim to create a situation and experience, working inside a concept that will contain both elements of nostalgia as well as forgotten sounds, and through manipulation will be constantly evolving. Everything will be used as source material to create a new sonic collage of the artists’ respective careers. The goal is to rehearse a new work that contains sounds, samples and moments from previous artistic endeavors. Additionally, we wish to take the more mainstream-oriented “songs” of our past and attempt to transform them into sonic shadows of their former selves, inside and as part of new sounds and ideas. “Improvisation” evokes a certain style of music, and this project is one that hopes to change that reality. Some of the material we will be working with could easily be defined as “rock” and “alt-country,” and it is our wish to stretch it to the point of it residing in new and more ambiguous territory.
We will make available to us all audio material from previous works in a live studio mix situation. Two 16-channel mixers will be used live, through which sounds will drift in and out from each artist’s repertoire. Through processing and mix manipulation the sounds will become new echoes or reminders of their original selves. We will use CD players, 4-track tape machines, reel to reel tape machines, iPods and VCR audio, and all sounds available to us will be randomly introduced, forcing us to work with sounds and material we are presented with in the moment. This new palette of sounds will then be improvised over, edited, and finally pieced together, combining extremes: live random play and the purposeful placement of wave files.
There will be six live mix sessions over a three month period, and in-between, each artist will experiment in their own studios and will create their own catalogue of mixes from each session to bring back into the next, leading up to the final live mix.
This will be a collaboration between Jon Wood and Steve Wright. We have a history of working together in the past as members of two bands and on several recording projects. Becoming more interested in improvisation around the same time while living in different locations led us to the idea of working together again on a more expansive and challenging level. We agree on the idea that in order to be a sustained and growing artist one must constantly seek out new and challenging opportunities that are of more value through the process rather than the outcome. We have been involved in music for many years and feel grateful that we have both retained a great energy and enthusiasm toward sound creation.
This project will provide excitement and generate creative energy through the use of sounds from the past that reveal a certain constrictive and limited way of thinking about how we each approached our work in the past. It aims to expand our understanding of how recorded sounds can invoke emotional responses, and through randomly introducing them, therefore placing them out of context, they serve a new purpose and their original point of creation becomes more ambiguous. A moment or sound recorded for a certain purpose will lose its attachment to sentimentality created through years of reflection, and becomes simply sound. In that understanding is the idea of creating in the moment, and not comparing work to past accomplishments or experiences. All of the instruments and performances recorded over the years will create a new sprawling sonic work through this process; one that will make us re-imagine the purpose of making music, and inspire in us new directions to approach our work in the future. The past is changed and becomes part of the ever-changing now.