Monday, September 21, 2015

Project updates - since that seems to be the main purpose of this blog right now ...

Jerome Newton is, indeed, in "maintenance mode" now. Brent has worked out wonderfully. We debuted with him recently and it was one of our best shows yet. I am a little frustrated with how hard it seems to be to find gigs for us. But that's a gripe I'd rather not go into at the moment.

Zentropy is essentially in "maintenance mode" as well. We've (or maybe it's just me) have come to the realization that our best work happens in front of an audience, and the nature of what we do is a bit lost when it's just us in the studio. So consequentially, we almost never rehearse. We have a had a couple of shows recently, both of which went quite well, so maybe this is the right approach? We have a few other things in the works, which is a good thing. 

I did spend some time reviewing many many hours of old Zentropy recordings. I've edited, mastered and curated over 24 hours of music (!) and one idea I thinking about is to set up a streaming site with all of that music on rotation. Based on our earlier experience with the defunct Georgia Podcast Network (Thousands of listeners. Thousand of downloads), I think such a site might get a lot of visitors. We didn't make this music to live on a hard drive. We made it to be heard. This seems like an excellent way to make that happen. Now *I* have to make that happen. It's on my to-do list…

Last post, I was ruminating over whether or not revisiting Sisyphus was a good idea. I realized that it was not. I have to accept that it's over and done with. However, the initial impetus for revisiting Sisyphus - the encouragement of some of those who were involved prior - has now transmogrified into the resurrection of Z-Axis as a performing band. In other words, the core band from Jerome Newton, who would have been the core band for Sisyphus, are now the resurrected Z-Axis. We have begun learning some old repertoire material with an eye towards doing some shows. Jim is a very different drummer from Phillip, and that's something I'm having to adapt to (the chemistry I've had with Phillip for many, many years was one of the cornerstones of Z-Axis in the first place). Brian is a very different guitarist from Mark as well. So we'll see …

I am intending on finishing out the third Z-Axis CD (featuring Phillip and Mark) since several tracks are complete, and most of the tracking for the rest of it is complete as well. 

So the way it plays out is this - Z-Axis reboot learns set of earlier material - to do shows and tighten up. This will sharpen up our sound and define our working relationship. Then we start developing new material, that will reflect the style and input of the new guys. Meanwhile, I finalize the third Z-Axis CD and release as soon as feasible. Then Z-Axis moves onward in its new direction, eventually recording more CDs, etc. - basically doing the "real band" thing…

The idea of a "duo" has led me in some unexpected directions. I did meet with Molly Harvey and we discussed some ideas. It' seemed promising. I even sent some tracks for her to toy around with. But alas, she was too busy - mostly with life-stuff - to get rolling with anything. I think I may have been more into the idea than she was, but we did leave the door open to some future collaboration. What I realized is that I can't just get together with her in the studio and hope something emerges. If we're going to work together, I'll need to bring her a more specific idea. So if/when the muse strikes, and an idea emerges that calls out for Molly's involvement, I will bring it to her and, if her life has opened up a bit, then perhaps we'll do something?

The other potential partner was Kris Nelson. While I still believe that the two of us could make some great music, he is pretty committed to another project right now, and anything that might happen with me would most likely be a one-off. Thats ok though. Our one meeting on about the idea revealed more than a few logistical hurdles that would need to be overcome, so on the shelf it goes.

I have been getting together occasionally with a wonderful British singer - Kim Ribbans - exploring some ideas. I have been pushing for a more ambient electronic approach, and she comes from a bluesy/pop aesthetic, so there's an interesting synergy emerging. Where this will lead remains to be seen - we've got seeds planted for some strong material, but both of us are pretty over-committed already. Nevertheless, we get together when we can. At some point, we'll certainly record some of our jointly developed pieces, and perhaps do a low key performance somewhere (I'm thinking "house concert").

I still haven't found the "Viet -Zen" duo synergy that I had with Stan. There are others I am interested in getting together with - available time being the only constrain. And there's a chance that Stan himself may return. If that happened, I don't quite know where that will lead. His life is very much in a fluid state now, and I'd be reluctant to invest much energy into something that may fall apart once it's getting interesting …

… and then there are solo projects, pick-up gigs (e.g. Bloody Valentines, 3BQ House Band) and work with dance companies ( at the moment) ...

Sometimes I wonder what it is that makes me overextend myself the way I do. I think it all comes back to my inability/unwillingness to focus on just one thing. I guess it's because I still haven't found THE one thing that will completely satisfy me musically. And perhaps it's because no single project that I'm involved in has reached the potential I think we're capable of. And I'm reluctant to let any of them go until that happens.