Some Assembly Required

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What Is The Nature Of Your Emergency?

This title arrived before I had a single note, before the compositions or the band were fully formed.  It struck me 15 years ago and stuck with me through the creation of Onomatopoeia, and our two initial albums.  Much has transpired and developed for me as an artist in the space between the conception of this title and its employment today.  This recording documents an important juncture in my career.  The title initially intrigued me because of its witty relevance to the experience of music. I discovered a play on words. There is the process of assembly essential to the creation and production of music (one song collects and organizes disparate notes, minds, instruments, machines, dreams), and also, there is the assembly of music lovers that congregate to support and motivate the musicians.

I have always appreciated the crucial role that an audience plays in a musical performance.  You bring the energy that inspires the performers to self-transcendental moments of spontaneous elegance. Many times the exuberant, fleeting wave of audience support and enthusiasm transports us to arrive at new and thrilling levels of creativity and courage. Removing my compositions from a public performance and going through the processes involved in recording and producing them, I examined the changed but equally crucial inspirational role the listener plays in our ability to capture and communicate our sound scapes.  In instances of both live and recorded music, the audience is a crucial participant in the magic of the musical event.  Listening is an ACTIVE process; the listener must draw together all aspects of the Onomatopoeia experience. You, who assemble, whether in our concert spaces of around your own stereos at home, assemble in both senses of the word.  It is upon you to build the bridges, to unite, to group, to link, to blend, and to open your mind to a series of merges between the elements of your experience with our music so as to arrive at a coherent, meaningful, fully assembled product.  By listening to the CD and participating in the processes of collection and montage that such listening entails, you become an extension of the musicians who create and manifest the compositions.

In this project like never before, I have been attuned and enthusiastic about the converging, collaging nature of work involved in assembling an album.  I used this CD as an opportunity to deeply explore my own processes of making art, and such exploration opened doors to new ideas in methodology and creation.  I became very excited about the process of through composing. This expression refers to the practice of using a song as a linear journey, departing from one point, following a steady path, never turning back, eventually arriving somewhere new.  I like to think of the train pictured on the cover of this CD. It drives on, ever forward while we musicians onboard take turns stoking the fire, braking, and migrating from compartment to compartment, always with an awareness of our balance and momentum.  The train powers toward some unknown station, cutting through a foreign landscape where there can be occasional stops and starts to take on new resources discovered along the way or to lighten the load by removing some old baggage. Its final destination is a mystery, even to us passengers. But even as we continue to travel we arrive at three interpretive centers: (1) that, in art, one is never just along for the ride; (2) that those assembled onboard have increased the spirit of adventure and curiosity that initially motivated them to board the train; and (3) when this journey comes to a stop, they will wish to go again.

This album is about honesty.  It is an honest documentation of the processes toward an art that seeks to contribute some positive, hopeful music to an increasingly anxious and suspicious world.  It trusts that the audience will bring a similarly honest spirit to their work of appreciating and amalgamating its different components.  It hopes that the listeners will feel the same joyous empowerment of assembling this album as we did in creating it.


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