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 new music in the moment that had all the narrative coherence and propulsive drive of composed works.
In keeping with the group's 100% live aesthetic, each improvisation was performed without the help of synths, laptops, sequencers, prerecorded loops, apps, overdubs, or preconceived notions. Thus, everything you hear on these recordings was created live, in a single take.
A core compositional technique was the intentional use of "damage" -- a steady stream of non-traditional tonal, textural, rhythmic and chance elements -- to disrupt the equilibrium and force musicians into new territory.
Continuously introducing damage 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"
Followed zealously, a logical consequence of this manifesto is that recordings would never be released, as doing so might obligate or tempt the ensemble into recreating the recordings during live performances rather than exploring new ground.
This is in fact why, up to now, no official recordings of Boat Burning's early period exist. Performances were intended to be unique and ephemeral experiences: created live and in the moment, then forever gone.
Such 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)