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Beyond Bass Camp

Digging Deeper Inside the Bass, with Steve Lawson.


At the moment, I’m in the middle of a three-day Artists Research Lab on Memory, organised by Motiroti – you can read more about it on the Amplified Site.

Here’s a fabulous TED talk, exploring the different between our experiencing selves and our remembering selves.

The implications of this for musicians are huge – how often does our reaction to a recording we make reflect our experiences when the music was actually played?

And for those of us who are improvising musicians, the difference can be even more stark – last week I played as part of an ‘Adventures In Sound’ show for BBC Radio 3, on the last day of the London Jazz Festival. I was in two improvised line-ups – the first was with Otto Fischer on guitar and Tony Buck on drums – I’d met Otto the week before on an improv gig, but hadn’t ever heard of Tony (though I knew of his band The Necks by reputation).

10 minutes of the 30 minutes we played is currently on the iPlayer – it doesn’t feel anything like the music I remember played. I remember the sounds that were made, and some of the shifts between sections, but I don’t recognise the way my body feels when I listen to it. My experiencing self and my remembering self have very different relationships to the music. If you’d asked me to rate the gig out of 10 directly after playing, I’d have marked it significantly lower that I would’ve done after listening back to the recording. That disconnect is SO important for us as musicians, because our ability to understand, process and react to what’s happening in the moment is what makes us functional improvisers, or not.

I’ll write more about it soon, but for now, watch the video above, and have a listen to the concert on the iPlayerour bit starts 40 minutes in (if you can – it’s UK-only – I’ll post the full gig on Soundcloud at a later date, and update this post when I do).

Feel free to use the comments for your own stories of the connection or disconnection between our experiencing and remembering selves when playing music…

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One Response to “Memory and Music”

  1. Memory & Music | Amplified Says:

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