the sweet spot

cube orchestra shadows

2015 01 14
Sharleena Raczkiewicz: Vocals, Piano
David Insua-Cao: Percussion, Dulcimer
Jean-Michel Maheu: Guitar, Remote Assistance
Keef Chemistry: Melodica, iPad
Ollie Owen: Guitar

there’s a sweet spot on bluescreen evenings at the cube theatre, between the end of the cube orchestra session and the point at which they let the audience in for the bluescreen event. the orchestra has stopped playing and swept the instruments to the side of the stage and those who have to leave have left, leaving the bluescreen players. we’ve warmed up and are relaxed before having to play in front of an audience. however, our relative positions and dynamics have been altered, moved and scaled down

don’t say i never warned you (remote assistance) is perhaps our longest journey to date, at over 27 minutes in length. it has much to do with david on drums, being a percussionist of some skill and stamina, plus the guitarists are always prepared for exploration and patience is a boon when it comes to extended pieces. the music occupies this magical space and time, evolving organically, all players listening and responding to each other, and the piece is complete, from the opening guitar screech to marcus’ only and final input

here follows my version of events …

on the evening of january 14, 2015, sharleena, jean-michel, ollie and david are chatting by the piano, while i play with echo feedback on the other side of the stage. no one else is there …

0.00 ollie picks up his guitar and the track begins with an excruciating sound, followed by a haunting echoey pick

0.30 conversation

0.35 i join in on melodica

1.00 jean-michel asks sharleena if she’ll play piano to which she replies in the negative, then rolls out some sweet notes

1.24 david joins in on dulcimer

1.54 jean-michel is there too. we now drift along, following each other around, absolutely in no hurry

3.00 jean-michel tunes up and we accompany him

3.55 jean-michel voices his concern that we are too far away from the other three players and have lost the flow, but i tell him i’m flowing. i enjoy calling to the other side. you can hear the stereo separation dividing the sounds

5.30 david gets his gurgling thing going, making a rasping sound, like sucking an empty drink through a straw

6.00 it drops out

6.20 jean-michel tunes up again and we accompany him

7.00 i think we’ve found a groove

7.49 here it comes. jean-michel finds a bassy groove to accompany david’s percussion, ollie soars up high and ethereal, sharleena moves away from the piano

9.00 over to the mic now. this section floats along with perfect harmony, sharleena singing, ollie responding, jean-michel filling the body adeptly with some killer playing, david carrying the rhythm throughout

10.48 sharleena’s singing about levitating

12.00 i decide to add some melodica and david adds some gurgling

12.50 some sterling drumming now from david

13.00 sharleena delivers the title of the track

13.28 it drops out again, but the drumming rolls on

14.10 jean-michel’s mobile phone goes off and he has to provide technical assistance with an echo mic in his face, while the rest contribute, sharleena translating for the listener

15.30 it drops out to a simple beat and sharleena now speaks fluent eastern european

15.56 ollie finds a riff

16.11 david joins him on beat

16.18 nice vocals. the beat builds and builds

18.00 sharleena has moved back to the piano, jean-michel has finished his call and returns on slide guitar, leaving me free to open up the melodica again

18.20 it breaks, full-on

19.34 it drops out for a breather, yet the melody develops

20.08 ollie takes a solo

20.39 it really drops out, but heavy man

21.03 it takes off again

21.15 another drop out, with some fuzzy guitar work

21.40 jean-michel comes in with some way-out guitar work

22.04 it breaks again, running for it

22.30 drop out, with the guitars working together

23.00 great beat now. i love the way beats evolve

23.20 sharleena is back on vocals and we journey on together

23.44 we’re cooking

24.11 drop out

24.35 down a notch

25.00 bash it out big time

25.26 up a notch

25.51 feels like the final drop out

26.16 drops out more

26.42 another drop

27.00 marcus comes in to announce they’re about to let the audience in

27.09 it’s a pretty slick ending for us

this is my own personal account and may be peppered with inaccuracies – keef chemistry

of course, the art of listening to a 27-minute track has been lost with the demise of prog rock! but this recording captures the moment, which is everything required for a perfect one-take piece

listen to the entire session on the cube orchestra website (with free download link):
orchestra rehearsal 14 jan 2015

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