Thursday, December 31, 2009

New Album Journal Begins Now!

It's been one year to the day since I've updated the blog, but that's because 2009 was largely a rebuilding year. The Ken Kase Group played it's last show in Chicago in April, partly because things really weren't jelling in quite the way I'd hoped, partly because the allure of playing the clubs again faded quickly. In the two years we worked together, we put out a good single, made a video, played in Chicago a couple of times and opened up for Chuck Berry. Not a bad run for the KKG's third act. But I've learned when to say when.

Ever since I heard Stevie Wonder's Music of My Mind when I was eight or nine years old, I've wanted to make an album where I played all the instruments myself. It took a while, but I guess I'm ready to do it now. Years of fiddling on different instruments, working as a hired hand in a variety of settings and my eternal musical curiosity are being put to the test.

Although I've made some recordings I'm proud of, more often than not a feeling of disappointment set in as my demos became finished products. There was a spark, a certain eccentricity and spontaneity present in many of my demos of new songs that I was never able to recreate, no matter how good the musicians were (and I've had the good fortune to work with some doozies!). Notes and arrangements are easy to communicate, but the nuances in my head are often non-transmittable. This difficult process is known as "chasing the demo".

This project represents an attempt to bypass the middleman and get straight to the meat of the songs. Many of the songs were completed the day of recording, mostly from hastily scribbled notes and scratch recordings I've made this year. Some ideas have been kicking around in my head for over a decade and have only seen the light of day with these new recordings. One or two are old songs I'm bringing back to life. So far, these recordings have come closest to replicating what's in my head. And if a certain feel or vibe happens when I'm recording, I don't have to worry about recreating it later.

I started this project in earnest in September, 2009. As of today, I have six basic tracks nearly completed. I'm having fun and I'm consistently surprised by how it's turning out. I'll use this blog to share my progress and observations with you, mostly about the new album, but sometimes about things that have nothing to do with it. Either way, I'll attempt to be entertaining while keeping you up to date on the album's progress.

So come with me as we take a deconstructive journey through an album that isn't finished yet...