Dan Costello from Boise, ID here. I'm a fan of yours in many ways! I adore your fonts, Escape, your writing style, your music. I hope this is still something you're actively involved with... A friend of mine and I just recently completed an AAD project, and we were hoping you could add it to the list. I have uploaded the tracks to my ReverbNation page, which can be streamed for free.
Before you read through all this to glean what I need to say to YOU... THANK YOU. Thank you for ever having mentioned this concept. This is a brilliant kick-in-the-ass process for ANYone, but I feel it's ESPECIALLY great for professional musicians too stymied in their own perfectionist worlds to just effing DO something, CREATE and have FUN and damn the torpedoes, COMPLETE a PROJECT. THANK YOU!!!
I've been a big fan of the AAD concept ever since I read about it years ago your site. I've even scheduled previous AAD's to be recorded, but something else always took precedence. Being a professional musician made it even more daunting, knowing how much time goes into a good recording session, and whether or not I could overcome my perfectionist attitudes to allow some things to just live as is and submit the project without the typical fretting and stewing over every last detail.
When I brought the idea to my musical friend Russ Pfeifer (also of Boise), he was as fascinated with the idea as myself and we decided to try it as a collaboration. We'd worked together in a few bands and recording projects before, but nothing as artistically intense as the AAD that we were both building up in our minds.
We actually almost postponed it -- both of us had big home-repair projects that had popped up since the scheduling of the recording day. But Russ's amazing wife heard Russ thinking of putting it off to another date, and not just suggested but DEMANDED that he stick to the plan. She even set us up w/ a fridge full of food and drinks in the studio (nicknamed the "coral cave") and left us to our own blissful music-making devices for the next 24 hours. Bless your beautiful soul, Shelee!
Russ has a great recording studio, based on Digital Performer software on a Mac. It's rare that he's tasked with a complete project from start to finish -- usually smaller project-studio stuff, edits, voice-overs or beds for video, rehearsal recordings, etc. so this was a great opportunity to flex both his musical and engineering muscles a bit.
Tracks 1, 2, 4 and 5 started with beats and basslines we built into various sequencers around the room (Russ's studio is also practically a keyboard museum!!) and were completed by multi-tracking in our voices and various other live instruments, including mandolin, 12-string electric guitar, melodica, hand percussion et al.
Track 3 (what became the title track, Harvest And Weave) was played live on an old bellows-driven mini-organ -- bigger than an accordion, but not much, and designed to be played on a table rather than held. I worked the bellows and Russ played the progression, which at first seemed pretty nebulous but upon listening back, had an easy structure to write a melody and a couple verses to.
Track 6 was our first attempt at "Select-O-Matic" which started "off the grid," no click or sequencing -- the bass drum was my fist on a wall; other sounds in the beat included claps, a toy piano, tambourine and a gourd cabasa. After having nearly the entire thing finished, we tried burning a test to the MasterLink recorder when the software crashed. Total loss! Hadn't saved, and all that was left were a couple oddly-snipped chunks on the MasterLink, which I decided to include as a track on the final disc in the spirit of the project. Listening to the two... you can tell we were getting a little bleary on the first one (which is track 6), and after realizing it was toast, but that we liked it so much, we gathered ourselves and re-recorded the whole thing with renewed resolve for the (somewhat) refined version you hear on track 4.
We ran too short of time to do another tune, so we let the sorta noodle-jammy "Sustantivo Nuevo" suite live... I'm glad we did. At first I felt like it was just filler, and we had specifically talked about trying not to stretch to the time needed w/ a silly space-guitar odyssey. But as we listened and then added in some hand percussion we realized we had a pretty cool thing happening through the full extent of it, so we included it in its entirety.
I almost feel like this is a spoiler section for those that might be thinking about doing this but haven't yet... I kinda suspected this would happen: I almost felt like I was getting tricked into learnin' somethin'. I didn't sign up for that $#%&. ;-)
We both learned an immense amount about ourselves and each other both as artists/musicians and as people. We revealed some major artistic hang-ups we each have -- both of us being pretty highly trained and relatively successful professional musicians but without a great deal of recent output as songwriters or recording artists. Russ unveiled some crucial elements about how his studio runs that he hadn't previously harnessed, and "gremlins" that he had wrestled with before that sorely needed to be exorcised.
We both thought about how incredibly informative (and fun!) it would be to do this on a somewhat regular basis, at least once every couple of months... Expect more AAD's from the Coral Cavemen in the coming year!! And if you have considered tackling this project, but have wriggled out of it at the last minute with some lame excuse: quit delaying. DO THIS.
Thanks again, Tom... ;-)