Tuesday, December 7, 2010

WEGO Acoustic Session #2

Clip 1 (24 megs)
Clip 2 (25 megs)

Here are the recordings from our second acoustic get-together (our first after deciding to try shifting to an acoustic format for a while). Dennis was unavailable for this one, so it was just Ian (guitar), Jesse (djembe), Woody (guitar), and me (bass-box and trumpet). As expected, the vocal interaction was fantastic in the new space between the shorter-sustaining acoustic events. And to my ear, there was at least as much dance in the sound.

(There was a third and even longer set with plenty of really interesting movements and probably more experimental playing, but since this was Woody and Ian's second back-to-back rehearsal of the day, and I was fighting a pretty bad chest-cold (which will be obvious if you try to listen for my voice and realize that the only one left unaccounted for is the wheezing falsetto that sounds like a cross between Tom Waits and a female soul singer who's spent the past week passed-out in the gutter), we also ran out of steam in places, and again I'm too busy/lazy to mine out the good bits, so I've just the final set out for now.)

So, enjoy! Minus the missing players -- Dennis, Jenny, TQ, and whoever we else we manage to rope in…? (Drop us a line if you know somebody who would be a good fit!) -- this is the basic sound we'll probably be working with for a while. I'm looking forward to exploring and expanding from here. And as always, whether you were there at the time or have downloaded these mp3s onto your phone and are listening on the subway in the other Washington, don't hesitate to add your own comments here below!


Mr. Electric said...

Bummer to hear about the discrimination towards the flow of electrons. There is enough techno-ology out there to combat volume issues. Check out 65 amps Lil Elvis amp (can play at 2 to 3 watts).

dennis said...

maybe that could be solved with complete use of the other instruments to be put through the PA. thoughts? insights? idioms?

Mr. Electric said...

Amplifying quiet to lower loud usually doesn't work. If a guitarist has a transistor amp, then it is almost as simple as turning down. If it's a tube amp, that is more tricky, but there are options out there to lower volume without sacrificing tone. I'm just bitter because my mind doesn't work and my palette is electric.

F R E E L A B said...

In some ways I'll probably miss the wider possibilities of the electric palette ... though I also find that I'm resonating more and more with the textures of acoustic instruments and like the creative surge I get within limitations of any kind.

But for me, the thing that makes the electric version of this format struggle doesn't seem like an issue of tone (turning up to get the right tone), but instead issues of expectation (electric sounds bringing along the expectation of more volume (though I think this one could be overcome)), sonic blend (more than a couple of 12" cabs in a group leads to trebly mud at any volume and even if it sounds okay in the house, it's tough to get a good mix on stage with 5 amps), and appropriateness with other aspects of the format and soundscape (easy signaling, vocal interaction, hand-percussion). But all is in flux ... we'll see where this takes us.

(I could imagine a more hybrid approach eventually, possibly running everything through a PA as Dennis mentions here, so that it's easier to balance everything. (...though I realize that still takes 'the amp' away as a potentially vital part of the electric guitarist's voice ... but it would possibly also allow us to grow in the future without further compounding this problem (anybody remember the 12-piece jam at the Chai House?? ;))

Snoose Junction said...

"Old Delta blues players referred to guitar amplifiers as the 'devil box.' And they were right. You have to be an equal opportunity employer in terms of who you're brining over from the other side. Electricity attracts devils and demons. Other instruments attract other spirits. An acoustic guitar attracts Casper. A mandolin attracts Wendy. But an electric guitar attracts Beelzebub." ~ Don Van Vliet aka Captain Beefheart

F R E E L A B said...

Great Quote! :))