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(By the way, I know a few people regularly listen rather than read, but would appreciate feedback from anyone new to doing blogs this way – thanks!)
I’m not quite so scared now.
I’ve got the looper up and running. I’ve figured out how to loop, record, overdub. I know how to save and name each project. I have constructed five separate loops to build one song. These are pre-recorded, then I can manipulate them and sing the top line over them. It works well and I now feel that like this, I could independently – after more practice – take it out for solo performances.
I have yet to get myself sharp enough to record the loops live as I go. This requires a lot of concentration, coordination and practice. It would be good to be able to do that, as I think it does add another element to the live performance. But it isn’t crucial at the moment.
I’ve been reading Sonia Boué’s account of her performances. They are very different to mine. She talks of the difference between acting and performance art and the nature of reality in each. I have yet to decide how performance fits with my work. I feel as if I’m still gathering data and skills.
I feel I am collecting the ingredients and practising the craft. I am talking to an audience, weaving a story, attempting to deliver in a way that conveys emotion and enhances the narrative. I am still unsure whether the narrative is purely in the song, or whether I am more of a part of it. Am I presenting the art, or am I part of it? Am I a performance artist, or a singer songwriter? With the recordings done for Nine Women, it was easy to present the sound as part of the installation, it fitted in my head happily. The performance I did for the opening event was more a celebration of what had been done than a piece of performance art. Definitely singer songwriter, definitely not performance artist.
I feel I have not yet collected enough data and ingredients, nor have I practised the skills enough, or done enough performing in order to be the performance artist.
You know when a young student produces a drawing of a person, and then says “it’s like a Picasso” in order (so they think) to excuse the proportions and lack of skill? Well, I think, if I were to label what happened between me and an audience at the moment as “performance art”, it would be like that. Picasso had great skill and knowledge and chose from that great range of experience to paint how he did in later years. I am collecting what I need in order to make those decisions, and I’m not there yet.
Where I am, actually, is brilliant. I am playing with my friends, I am learning from their experience. I am writing and singing and acquiring many new abilities… And lots of expensive equipment. I’m getting feedback and advice on technical stuff, and the musical elements, of which I know little. I feel like a sponge, soaking it all up.
I have confidence in the fact that this will affect my work. It is already affecting the quality of my writing and recording. So I am sure that at some point, I will have a piece of work that requires me to use this new stuff in my head. The new stuff in my head will affect the output. It’s just a matter of how and when. In the meantime, keep watching…
There might be a few gigs happening soon…
and maybe an album…