Friday, June 18, 2010

Greater than the sum of its parts

I'm busy working out the track order for my upcoming cd, The Day the Money Run Out. I am finding it a fascinating process. We've recorded 14 songs, so how many possibilities does that add up to? Anyone want to do the math for me? (If I remember anything from Grade 10, I believe that might involve exponents).

Some choices are so easy: the first and last songs are no brainers (Buy More Buddhas and Never Too Late, respectively), and for some unknown reason, it seems dead obvious to me - like a law of nature - that the title track should either be Track 3 or Track 4. Why? I have no idea, except that my favourite song on an album is so often the third or fourth, that it can't be a coincidence. As for the rest of it, it's all trial and error, moving things around, listening, rearranging, trying to create the right flow of tempo, theme, key.

How do you approach these kinds of tasks? Not necessarily in terms of an album: what about set lists or scenes in a story or play, arranging quilt squares or photos in an album or pieces of art for a gallery show (or on your walls at home)? What are the rules you're guided by, the beliefs, the prejudices? I'm curious to learn more about how ordering contributes to the impact of creative work, how a greater whole is created out of different elements.

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