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Date: Sun 10 Oct, 2004 at 22:54
Headline: Synergy
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"All the years I lobbied to be treated as an adult have blown up in my face."

-Lisa, The Simpsons: Lisa's Pony

Greetings & Salutations!

We're taking a bit of a break right now, with only a couple of local shows scheduled between now and the end of the year. In the meantime, we have been working on gathering up the bits and pieces of music that we have been spewing throughout the course of the past nine months or so and putting them together as finished songs. We have managed to get five new tunes in the live rotation over this summer & fall, and soon they will be joined on our roster by the other dozen or so we've been working on. We'll pick the best and record them for a new CD which [*crosses fingers*] will be completed and available for distribution early next year...before things start to get really busy in SoNWorld.

Tim came over today to touch base on a few of the songs that we're going to be bringing to rehearsal this week. Largely based on musical ideas from earlier this year which had subsequently been lost in creative limbo for whatver reason, they're finally starting to solidify and I'm happy about that. Hopefully we'll be able to bring them to life with the other guys shortly.

When we started writing early this year, it was very important to me that we do it as a group. While that hasn't exactly translated into the four of us sitting in a room jamming everything out from scratch, I have been happy with the cross-pollenation of ideas and sharing of chores that has gone down. We've run the gamut from the above scenario to one guy basically finishing a song and bringing it to the group for arrangement, but quite a big chunk of it so far has been in between those extremes -- writing lyrics to someone else's music and vice-versa, or having a lone chorus that just happens to fit with someone else's verse idea, etc. It's been especially cool for me to be writing lyrics and melodies for someone else to sing. My own vocal range is very bass/baritone-y, and though I can hit some fairly high notes, I find that it's usually better if I don't. So, knowing that I'm working with three other singers who can pull off higher stuff more convincingly has been very liberating for me in putting together vocal parts.

There have been challenges, of course. Just this past week I saw a song idea that I had been working on for a long time change direction almost completely during a rehearsal...and while I do like what it has ultimately become, I can't deny that it was a little disappointing to see the original concept for the piece just evaporate once everyone had put their 2 cents into the mix. Only a few weeks earlier, Matt and I had talked about the difficulties of our collaborative situation; being a very talented multi-instrumentalist as well as the proud owner of his own digital studio, he has been more able than the rest of us to produce highly polished demos, which has led to some occasional frustration both for him and the rest of the band in terms of everyone making the parts their own. I suddenly found I had to take my own advice about remaining flexible as what I had originally envisioned as an expansive, atmospheric piece of art rock became a shorter, catchier song with a quasi-reggae feel, punctuated with wild forays into Latin-groove jamming. It was surprising how tough I found it, in spite of this being exactly the sort of creative situation I've been championing, to let go of my own preconceptions and let the song be itself, but I managed...and in all probability this one has a chance of becoming a group favorite, if the fire with which we tackled the instrumental sections last time is any indication.

Here's to syngergy. ;-)

bye for now,
-Thom