After months and months of limping, lurching and sitting on the curb, ENDURE is moving at full speed. We've reached our cruising altitude and things are seriously happening. It's been a crazy couple of weeks:
Christine came to New York for five days to perform and we finally got to meet as a team to chat through this beautiful beast in real life. Because my uber-theatrical performance blasted her ear drums out with the first round of recordings, she hadn't been able to get a feel of the various sections of the piece, so the discussions helped us clarify the feel, pacing and intensity.
We hunkered down with coffee and bagels and talked through each track in turn, rendering written word into musical terms and thanking the heavens our Swedish genius understands English so well. At one point I was up jogging on the spot so we could translate a running pace into beats per minute (bpm).
Then on Monday, we got dolled up for a photo shoot in the Lower East Side. I'd scouted an amazing graffiti-mauled building and we shot Christine placidly playing her saw as I blazed by in running tights. The photos turned out so amazingly well, I still can't believe it. I've been imagining THOSE EXACT PHOTOS for eight months and to see them finally come to fruition was incredible.
Last Wednesday, I traveled to Toronto where Christine was performing for Canadian Music Week. She'd asked me to dance for several of her songs and it was the first time we've performed together. The magic was there, friends. The magic was there. I cannot wait for a live-music version of ENDURE to find you soon. We are going to melt your face.
For her live shows abroad, Christine runs most of the music off her laptop, packing her ukelele, saw and triangle in her suitcase. (Imagine getting a SAW past airport security.) She rocks out with two microphones run through an effect pedal, against a backdrop of video projections she's made. The shows are amazing.
Because she has to travel so light, and because her trip to North America was so quick, we've determined that I need to go to Sweden in May to record ENDURE in her studio. There we'll make good use of her arsenal of equipment, instruments and technology. The piece will be way more awesome with the two of us working in the same room.
While I was in Toronto, I made a haphazard recording studio out of my brother-in-law's home office so I could re-record some of the tracks to use as 'mock ups' before I get to Sweden. The silence of my sister's place made me realize how freaking LOUD my Manhattan joint is. Gaa!
In The Beat Lab, as my bro-in-law calls it, I built a tiny space lined with area rugs, towels and sleeping bags to muffle the sound. I even recorded in my underwear to avoid fabric noise from my clothes. Christine mentioned a few weeks ago that I should record naked and I had no idea if her Scandanavian Mona Lisa smile meant she was joking or serious. I took her suggestion literally...just in case.
Right now, we're firing tracks of vocals and rhythm loops back and forth via email. I throw on her amazing beats and speak the text over them in my apartment. Having the music inform the words is changing my performance in really delicious ways. It's adding a whole new dimension, which we knew it would. But again, to hear it in real life and to have what I've imagined ACTUALLY HAPPENING? Is blowing my mind.
Tomorrow, I'll download the rhythm loops to my iPod and take it for a run to see if our 'race pace' bpm checks out. International independent artists at work, y'all.