The Other Forgotten Letters is the first of a set of collaborations between Bill Seaman and myself.
This one serves as the prequel to a full length album coming later this year, also on Room 40. As with many long-distance collaborations, files were exchanged. We worked with the goal of creating works that would feel composed, whole. What felt a bit different in this case was the way that each of us created source material to be treated as raw material by the other. Bill would send me “libraries” of short phrases, piano recordings for the most part but also synthesizer tracks and orchestral elements. I would send much longer improvisations - primarily guitar (acoustic and electric) but not only … for Bill to fish through and identify passages that he found interesting, and maybe malleable towards his own interests. From there, each of us would use the other’s material to create a base-structure, often taking any number of liberties with processing and layering along the way.
Collaborators were brought in. Molly Berg came to my studio and overdubbed some lovely clarinet tracks, while other musicians contributed source material to be played and played with. There’s an element of trust in this sort of exchange. We’re fortunate to have found trust in each other and from our collaborators.
In listening back, I have a sense of dark foggy landscapes with search lights breaking through. Most sounds live in halos of reverberation and delays. Occasionally a sharper element, such as a bit of percussion will punctuate the air, living outside the haze. That’s just a personal offering of imagery and sonic observation but hopefully, the tracks create different narratives for each listener.