I tend to limit my material, sometimes to almost nothing. It is often sparse. I believe that the sparseness allows a certain flexibility that I find important. Sparse and flexible material, flexibility in the treatment of it, makes it more easily bleed into something else. I find that simplistic materials form compelling composites more easily.
When what I chose to do is too simple, or maybe it just lacks energy, or it simply does not “feel right”, when it does not become something, when it just remains a thing, I feel stupid, almost ashamed. Luckily, it almost always helps to be patient. Continue.
Sooner or later (sooner rather than later) one of the other members will join and blend.
Or, sooner or later (sooner rather than later) something happens to the musical material, or my own interest in it. I discover what is inside the sound, under the surface. It starts to grow, live its own life, almost. “Time does untangle complexity”1. Can time also untangle simplicity? Or reveal complexity? If you wait long enough?
And, of course, sometimes it is unequivocally a very bad idea.
Bad choice. Stupid idea.
Just stop it. Leave it.
Accept the bad choice and just shut up.
The continuum and coherence is not necessarily completely destroyed
after one or two bad choices.
I do not have to justify a bad choice by preserving it.
Yet, I sometimes do.
This simplistic strategy adapted into my solo work is problematic. It feels risky. Simplicity alone is more vulnerable. The fine distinctions, the tiny tweaks and nudges that are often applied to the limited material performed by real musicians in our collectives, makes sparseness work. The responsibility is distributed. Alone, the responsibility is mine… all mine. See Self.
1. From Final Artistic Presentation, Dans les arbres, 21 April 2015:
2. From Final Artisic Presentation, Video Ensemble, 22 April 2015:
1 Morton Feldman, “Vertical Thoughts“ in Give My Regards to Eight Street, Collected Writings of Morton Feldman. Ed B.H. Friedman, Exact Change (2000), p12