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Columns > Randy Ray - Peaches En Randalia

Published: 2009/02/22
by Randy Ray

Still Life

Symbolist plays frequently gave no indication of where they were taking placethey exist on a neutral ground that gives no indication of a unifying environmentif ideas and concepts are represented, rather than people and situations, no particular environment or place is needed, although a sense of place, usually manifest through mood or atmosphere, is retained. – Futurist Performance, Michael Kirby and Victoria Nes Kirby
Peaches En Randalia #36
Four roars and twenty days past, Ive been listening to a whole lotta live music by bands from various eras like a mad, anal retentive Lincolnian cataloguer. Didnt matter if it was an ace audience recordingrepeat after me, my mantra: God Bless the Tapersor a stellar soundboardrepeat after me, my other mantra: BETTY BOARDS Also didnt matter what band it was, or what genre, or even if the band was any good that night. I didnt know why I was listening to so much live recordings. I just knew I was momentarily captured in their tractor beam, before returning to studio work. Perhaps, it was my penchant for listening to ultra-heady holiday studio track mixes spun from various folks, which I generally catch up on at years end, years beginning, as the calendar changes that induced my desire for maximum overdrive improvisatory glory.
Regardless of the reasoning behind this latest infatuation with non-stop live recordings listened to at a breakneck speed, I noticed that the song does, indeed, still remain the same. I have been a strong advocate for bands to hone their collective chops in a rehearsal space, while writing solid material, perfecting their live game with a mixture of intriguing setlists, obscure cover songs, and potent material, which translates into a truly unique live experience for the band and the audience-an old, but relevant fortune cookie.
As we head deeper into the first quarter of 2009, the economy continues to solidify its standing in the disastrous epoch of our time category, while showing signs that some things may return to normal, but some may be gone forever, like independently-owned automaking industries, banks, and the ability to get a ticket to an event which doesnt require a wholesale trampling of ones credit rating. Perhaps, I have watched too many Star Trek episodes from the glorious Next Generation reign, or pondered the vast universe we inhabit through a million little metaphysical vacations chewing on quantum irregularities, quark phenomena, dark matter residue, and black hole-wormhole exotica (the latter item is something I explored quite a bit in one of my novels as a link to a time-traveling, alternate universe scenario that led me to believe that we are not only not alone, but we dwell in many different forms on many different levels at multiple times within a carefully-constructed cosmos dominated by many cleverly different trickster godheads.) Clearly, one can either adapt like a good Darwinian, or perish to the history books which seem so oddly outdated in the early sections of the 21st Century. As Jim Morrison once crooned: the futures uncertain, but the end is always near.
And, yes, as we head deeper into the first quarter of 2009, (did Doc Brown just take Einstein back to the future?havent we already headed deeper, (head deeper still? deeper, darkly, we head still fleetingly grasping onto the past, while being Fishman-vacuumed into the future?) into the quantum quadrant of our inevitable oblivion, I once again dust off my speech to jambands whom I love and will always respect despite their penchant for geekiness, loopy asides, intellectual potty and pot-riddled shenanigans, hippiness, unheadiness, and general dork-like tendenciestraits I cannot deny that I hold dear because those attributes pertain to my own personality. Jambanders generally know how to play their instruments, can dip into any type of style without appearing like too much of a dilettante, and can rage when one calls for such a violent assault on said aforementioned instruments of choice. However, there is no time like the present to learn to work long and patiently on songs that are worth jamming on and living with over a vast period of time. I know of at least three particular bands that are currently pondering alternative forms of recording studio tracks because they are bored or burned out with the old and dark atmosphere-depriving studio, and want to re-invigorate their non-live muse. Fine, but the studioaway from the adoring yet critical in a live venue (preferably a locally-owned, or independently-run joint)still needs to be a place for focused, intricate recordings which yields pliable material regardless of its airless, isolating vacuum factor.
In the end, one learned how to play an instrument through interminably long bouts of trial and error, practice, repetition, muscle and brain memory techniques, and solitude. As I found myself listening to the teeming hordes of live shows from various musicians and bands over a great expanse of time, I found that the common denominator rears its pretty little audio head over and over again: the tune dont groove if the tune dont groove, and unfortunately, that takes a lot of hours of self-study, meditation, and group mind activity. One can hope for inspiration to strike when the muse crosses the studio time zone, but quite frankly, the creatively ethereal OTHER is usually found within the elusive grains of sand making its way slowly, but steadily through the hourglass of experiential time. To breathe in-and-out while entertaining an audience is divine, but to exhale in a truly surreal and memorable way requires a bent noodle, an opaque future, and a TUNE, man.

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