Here at s/fj, we forget that you're not sitting across from us, sharing the gimlets and tossing around the ball. We use shorthand, start paying bills and lose track of how we say what. We change filters and forget you can't see our hands. We use funny voices to snap on people you've never met. It is no shock that the International Network cannot step in and save us.
As a result, I get emails explaining how the Grateful Dead are flying high without a net and The Man with his stinking 45s can't dam the river of music. No, The Man cannot do that.
To clarify: I don't think any one thing about live bands and their actions in relation to recordings—theirs or anyone else's. Performing songs that have been previously recorded sets off a riot of associations and refractions and unconscious duplications. In the middle of making a record, I happened to get snagged on some branches, the larger tree known informally as "Live Humans Negotiating a Relationship With A Recording." For instance: What do you do when you're working with a new drummer, or an old bass player, on a song they don't know half as well as the audience? What if the drummer and bassist unconsciously vamp on "Magic Man" while the singer throws up? If a quote falls in the hall and nobody knows it, is it a reference? I know that—pick a card, any card—live improvisers do not generally want to ape an existing text, even if they quote one. There is also a beefy parsing to be made of the global influence recordings have had on the the syntax and fingers of players. And, within the sphere of mechanically reproduced recordings, there is a distinct thread of larceny, commentary and quotation that makes the game hot like we like. Within all this activity, there are many, many professional musicians who go from city to city selling the opportunity to watch a recording be recreated. This was all on the CDR in my head and it needed a little liner note action; and perhaps a substitution, like "most touring bands" for "all bands." My bad. Back to baseball.Posted by Sasha at July 4, 2004 02:56 PM | TrackBack