Zerx Records & Press


Recording the "Zatoichi" way

I asked J.A.Deane to explain 2 things about his "blind swordsman" technique that is employed on his composition "Chain Letter." 1) What is the blind swordsman 2) How did you use it with "Chain Letter" which can be found on ALBUZERXQUEs Vol. 17 & 29 -- the piece is for bass flute (Dino) and cello (Katie Harlow).

-mark weber

The blind swordsman (like in the martial arts movies), is a technique I love to use when I'm creating a multi-track piece and using other musicians. the idea is to remove the person doing the overdub (or remove the sense of hearing), from some of the key elements of the piece. this is easy in a multitrack situation where people are adding parts after the people who played the first parts have left the studio. it's kind of like the childrens game where you whisper a story into your friends ear and they whisper it into the next ones ear and so on, until the story that comes back to the original person has mutated but retaines certain elements of the original.

This works very well with improvisation, and the results are always amazing, filled with musical responses that just would not happen if the people all played in the room together. always full of surprise, with a very low percent of un-usable material. a great multitrack technique that can be expanded on in many interesting variations.

In the case of "Chain Letter" i had katie in the studio to do several tracks of drones on cello for a play i was working on, and decided to make a little side piece with her.

1 - she listened to a mix of the drones (that she had played), and played a solo over them.
2 - she played a second solo only hearing the first solo with no drones
3 - she played a third solo only listening to the second solo
4 - later after she had left, i played a solo only listening to her third solo
5- i played a second solo only listening to her second solo
6- i played a third solo only listening to my two solos

The drone tracks which were part of another project were removed altogether and I now had 3 cellos and 3 bass flutes to work with. I think that I ended up with 5 mixs that I liked. just going through and trying the different combinations of duos trios a quartet and the sextet

There is a clear connection between all the parts but there is also a removed quality at the same time. just like the blind swordsman who must connect with his opponent without the use of his eyes.....removed yet connected.