There’s deadlines and then there’s drop-deadlines. For this soundtrack for the award-winning firm SsD I had 5 hours to write, perform, record, and mix the music before the video was submitted to an exhibit at the Modern Atlanta Museum in 2011. Without leeway to experiment, was it time to give in and do what I already knew how to do?
The problem was, this time I found myself in a totally unfamiliar place: After 15 years of not playing, returning to my ‘musical home’ was like coming back to a childhood house years later to find out the interior had been totally gut renovated. Even the light switches you could once hit in the dark were all in different places…
My new/old guitar had just been retrofitted with a Roland guitar synth pickup that day. But lack of time coupled with lack of sleep will sometimes inspire: Dialing through the hundreds of synthesizer presets and playing sounds that a normal guitar should never be able to make (like footsteps at 2:00), the past and future suddenly became a psychedelic collage. Gravity pulled me toward the electric pianos, a 12-string guitar… But then came the sublime GR-300 analog synth guitar made famous by Pat Metheny (3:15), a sound so ingrained from my teenage years that playing it for the first time was like experiencing some kind of surreal déjà vu: Muscle memory for something I’ve never experienced took over and allowed me to record the first take.
By only having a shadow of a memory, sometimes we can re-imagine and reinvent the shadow’s source. Although this sketch version of Bicycle Ride has been relegated to the recycle bin, it has inspired the writing of new tunes and tones that resemble the past but are something altogether different. The final version of this and other new compositions will be featured in the upcoming EP Magnetic Resonance, a follow up to the 1987 album Resonance.