I love the process of recording. Though it may be incredibly time-consuming, mind-numbing and occasionally maddening, I love it. As we approach the final days of mixing our new release, however, the time has come for perhaps my least favorite part of this process: affixing the image into its final form.
During the various stages of tracking and overdubbing there are numerous surprises, discoveries and exhilarating moments when the little song you’ve helped create becomes a concrete entity, assuming forms and dimensions you’ve always wished for it. The air is charged with POTENTIAL. When the time comes to set your work into stone, chiseling away at its details, balancing the elements…a little terror wells up inside of me. What was once wild, unruly and full of life now becomes subdued and slightly deadened. Whether or not this photograph (which it is essentially, in aural form) exceeds or fails one’s expectation, one cannot help but match it with the intricate mental image created over time and compare the two: “Is this it?”
It becomes impossible not to backslide into the spiraling labyrinth of subjectivity where blemishes appear bloated and monstrous, lurching to fore, while beloved nuances fall away in sacrifice to the whole. You find that an idea that was once only an abstract rattle in your brain is now slipping from your fingers before your very eyes. Will your baby grow up to be an accountant or a serial killer? Are either of those things desirable? Will it be the cause of pride or grief?
I can see why some believe that being photographed steals a bit of your soul. The life of a song continues despite being captured, though always in relation to its picture. This is especially true in this technological age when the majority of our contact with music is through recordings.
Perhaps this is a problem of approach? Perhaps it is the nature of the beast? Ego? That must be in there somewhere. Maybe now all we do is create texts/ talismen that never change, while performance is left to the listener?
Yes, but I still love it. And I still am bristling with excitement over our new recordings, something I’ve tried to be terribly cynical about, to no avail.
Oh my children, I have such a hard time accepting that intention is meaningless!