This album documents BOAT BURNING's early period as a live improvisational ensemble, working primarily with amplified guitars, cello, analog tape, percussion and chance.
The goal was to create entirely new music in the moment that had the drive and narrative coherence of composed pieces.
In keeping with the group's 100% live aesthetic, each improvisation was performed without the help of synths, laptops, sequencers, prerecorded loops, apps, or overdubs. Thus, everything you hear on these recordings was created live, in a single take.
A guiding principle was the concept of introducing "damage" -- a steady stream of non-traditional tonal, textural, rhythmic and chance elements -- to disrupt the equilibrium and force musicians into new territory.
This technique increases the number and duration of moments where the creative hivemind of the group must work in overdrive to turn chaos into order. In doing so, the improvisation becomes a laboratory for exploring the shifting consensual lines that separate chaotic and musical forms.
Other notions on improvisation gelled into a loose manifesto called "Hard Ambience," which at first blush reads like a recipe for cacophony, but is actually a call for improvisational fearlessness:
"Hard Ambiance: a Manifesto
1) Subvert the Past (DON'T REPEAT) - new performances should not draw on the past
2) Subvert the Present (DON'T LINGER) - keep moving; when a successful moment arrives, mark it for destruction
3) Subvert the Future (DON'T PLAN) - avoid predefined motifs
4) Subvert the Mind (DON'T THINK) - play from the heart, or don't play at all
5) Subvert the Convention (DON'T FEAR) - anything goes
6) Space is the Place (DON'T COAST) - when out of ideas, drop out; silence is an undervalued contribution"
It is interesting to note that that item 1, when interpreted dogmatically, means that recordings should not be released, as the temptation would then exist to recreate them live in lieu of exploring new ground.
This is in fact why no official Boat Burning recordings were released during this period -- each performance was intended to be a purely ephemeral experience: created live in the moment, then gone forever.
Zealotry has its price. We are grateful for what recordings exist. -AF
released October 11, 2012
Andras Fekete - guitar, analog tape
Ken Friedman - drums, percussion (Road, Fishing, Train)
Pete Gamble - guitar (Fishing, Train)
Josh Starmer - cello (Train)
David Rabin - cello (Brow)
Mark Kapeluck - violin (Brow)
David Sausser - tabla, percussion (Brow)