In-between Days

Well, in-between-projects, anyway. I’ve just finished a couple of projects off (grading, my contribs to a research report, a philosophy term paper) and I have a few more (another term paper, two journal articles) due between now and January 15, but today I can breathe long enough to cast a hasty post into the noise click ether. Here goes.

*takes deep breath*

This late winter/spring, after fitful debates within myself about the dilemma of wikification and authorship over the past four months, I will be subjecting both bands I’m in to collaborative initiatives. I’ve found a few ways to do this with which I’m comfortable.

In one case, we will be co-hosting a radio show some night in the next couple of months (we have to work out some logistics first, and find a few laptops to borrow) to do what we are dubbing a “call in/call out” album. Listeners will be able to call a SkypeIn number for the first half of the record/show, making live suggestions on the radio during the recording session, which will affect the music. During the second half, we will be calling out to people over Skype, asking them skill-testing questions about recent Top 40 hits that we’ve been playing, just like they do on crap radio stations that play the same set of 6 songs over and over again.

In another case, I’m asking the band’s LJ community cryptic questions that will determine the rules of the next LP the band is recording (in production Jan-Mar 2007). The first question asked people whether they agree or disagree (using a Likert scale, from “strongly agree” to “strongly disagree”) with an unstated statement. Essentially, they were asked whether they agree or disagree with anything, generally speaking. Responses to this question will determine the underlying “values” of the LP. Future questions (I plan to launch one per week, to an increasingly wide circle of auditors) will decide other characteristics of the album. By requesting things so obliquely, I believe that the spontaneous wisdom (the emotions, the ontology, the unconscious) of audiences will be deeply embedded in the music, moreso than with having audiences involved in the superficial aspects of the music (the samples, the sounds, the mix), a process that more often than not reproduces the crap it cuts up.

We could’ve gone the route of simply inviting remixes, or getting audience members to contribute their own samples or tracks, but that’s just so boring. Even Barenaked Ladies do that. And that’s so. not. art.

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