My band, the Inflatable Hippies, has a new album coming out soon. Instrumental, no voices.
I find myself thinking about the musical creative process in a different way these days. If you take a step back and look at the variables–tone, timing, intensity, syncopation, melody, harmony, the voicing peculiarities of different instruments, mood, etc–you quickly realize that the possible outcomes are nearly infinite. All those components can be arranged and rearranged in a breathtaking number of different ways. A number that cannot be fathomed in human terms.
As countless as the grains of sand on all the world’s shores? As countless as the stars of the universe? I’m starting to think so. The problem (if it is a problem) becomes even more dizzying for me because I find my songs. I’m not sure if I create them. Typically, I’ll start by writing a melody on piano, record that, and then layer on some harmonies with different instruments until I have a dense mass of music. And then I’ll carve away pieces, not unlike a stone sculptor at work with a block marble. Finding the figure hidden within, that was always there, before the sculptor was even born.
While this means, in the light of sand and stars, there’ll be no end of songs to be discovered, what if we ever do come to the end of universe? No, the edge of the universe. We come to that end and find a humble door that opens into a place outside the universe. This might mean there are no songs on the other side of the door. No songs, no stars and no lovely beaches curving along the blue expanse of a south sea island bay.
Though, while there might not be any songs past that door, there very well might be things that, while they are not songs in the way we know music, they might be more truly music than we could ever imagine. I can only hope that there’s some echo of that in the Inflatable Hippies.