BFT Schwarz / Voccia / Rößler


Ulrike Schwarz (as, fl), Céline Voccia (p), Isabel Rößler (b)

* BFT Circle 1 U_C_I

Just recorded my first (starting-) track for the Berlin-Frankfurt-Trio (BFT) Schwarz/Voccia/Roessler, looking forward to their reactions. Whereas USU is a trio that’s been playing over the last two years – the Berlin-Frankfurt-Trio is relatively new. So I’m being very curious what the difference might be between working for and with the different trios. 

Yesterday I got the piano track from Céline adding to my starting track. While putting the two tracks together and editing them I listened to them quite some times. I was really excited about the color the piano sound added to the music.

But also there were some spots where I wished I could have intervened in my own playing. I would have loved to react to some of Céline’s ideas, which of course wasn’t possible. Also it’s so much easier intonation-wise to add to a piano track – than to start out first position and then –maybe – be surprised… 😉

Today I got the finished track from Isi – and am looking forward very much to listening to the first circle trio piece of this experiment with our Berlin-Frankfurt-Trio. Also I got the starting bass track from Isi today.

Wow, what happened here? Our trio piece is about 3 minutes faster than we recorded it. Very weird… 

I think, we figured it out. 
I had edited the recording of Céline and myself with GarageBand and sent it out to Isi with a rate of 44.100Hz. Isi imported the file into Ableton, which had been pre-set to a higher frequency.

Interesting effect…. The Bass sound is excellent on this track – with the saxophone and the piano hurrying through and skipping small parts…. oh well.

Now Isi will start anew – adding third person to our duo track. (I know this is against our own rules … but hey … ) Excited to hear the results. 

Also we want to give it a try to take Isi’s recording and lay it under our duo track in the right tempo. That would mean, that Isi’s part will stop a couple of minutes earlier than the piano and saxophone.

We will definitely have fun fooling around with this “mistake” and see what new ideas will arise from there. Some music will be online, as soon as we’re through and ready for presentation.

Now I will listen to the piece Ulrike_Céline_Isi. This is the one with the different sampling rates at Isi’s first try. Here is her second recording.
Ahh, a quiet piece, quiet at the beginning…

And here is Ulrike_Céline plus the shorter bass track recorded along with the fastforwarded duo track… (by incident…) Curious how that sounds … the bass relates to the same piece, but at a different tempo, it will be more and more ahead of time – and come to an end earlier….

Funny, I also listened to the first version again with sax and piano fastforwarded and bass right in time. Sounds funny to me. The piece stops about 3,5 minutes ahead of time, Saxophone and piano are almost double speed….

* BFT Circle 1 I_U_C

Oh goodness … Just finished adding second person to Isi’s bass track. 
First impression: Yes, I can tell the difference between rather familiar playing (Silvia, Uli from USU) and playing that’s not so familiar yet (Isi, Céline from BFT).

I remember the first time Céline, Isi and I played together: I loved the energy, the fun we had as soon as we realized it’s working. In that live situation the fact of not yet knowing each other very well (musically) contributed in a positive way to some sort of excitement. This excitement resolved into musical energy and made me happy while playing and afterwards for quite a while.
It’s different here in my room at home. Adding second person to Isi’s bass track felt weird. Maybe I should have turned my headphones louder, I sometimes found it hard to listen to Isi while playing. I’m sure that can be done better and I hope I will get better in those technical things over time.

Also something I noticed, something really disturbing:
In order to make sure I’m not too close to the microphone when playing loud and sharp sounds I kept looking on my notebook screen from time to time. But of course that way I could also “see” the bass track – somewhat knowing in advance whether there are loud or soft parts to be expected in the near future. I was ahead of time, in a way – which made it much more difficult to be focused in the very presence. “Real time” improvisation even harder to pretend that way.
I tried not to look, but somehow that was difficult. I definitely hope to change my setup soon – so it will neither be necessary nor possible to look at the recorded track in my computer.

Now listening to the recording. Alright – sounds better than it felt while playing. That’s an effect I’ve had before. Sometimes after recording, I feel the lack of fulfillment really strongly. Something is missing. 
I’m looking forward to hearing what Céline will add to this.

For about 10 seconds I thought I had just erased my track. That also is something that does NOT happen on stage – one person’s playing disappearing all of a sudden. I’m so glad I managed to restore it!!!

After a day out, playing a live “gig” in Wiesbaden, I now FINALLY find the time to listen to some of the music the Berliners recorded… I had completely lost track…. found Céline’s recording somewhere on my desktop, hadn’t even realized that I had to still put the tracks together.

Interesting – in the full trio piece, there are some moments when I think that from the perspective of a listener you probably wouldn’t be able to tell who startet out the first track. I ought to put on some music without the information about the order of recordings – and invite readers and listeners to make their guesses!

The music seems wild and full to me. Maybe a bit too much on the dense side!?
Is that due to the recording technique, the mixing? Ah, the music is coming down after all….  still hardly giving the listener a rest.
All in all, I think we tend to play too (?) much!? Maybe not yet trusting in the emergence of something bigger than the sum of our three tracks?

Céline’s chair is making sounds, I guess. I keep thinking someone just entered my room….
I like the ending, it’s somewhat humorous and reconciling.

Listening to the Trio Isi_Ulrike_Céline again, trying to finish the editing today. The piano track is softer than the others, I find it hard to get the tracks balanced.
I realize how much focus is on the editing and mixing now. This had not been intended – I guess that’s the prize for playing contact-free improvisations …

Today I don’t consider the piece too dense, not as strongly as at first impression. Interesting how the added sounds somehow seem to legitimate the previously recorded tracks.

I just finished the mixing and sent it to the others, looking forward to our upcoming online video meeting to check with their impressions. Curious to hear what they think!
Actually I really like Isi’s soundcheck. When I did my recording, I also played on the soundcheck because I wanted to listen to both tracks together before really starting the piece. And I happen to like this very short tiny “soundcheck-piece”. Funny. Sort of an incidental waste product.

Soundcheck Isi_Ulrike

* BFT Circle 1 C_I_U

It makes me sad to play to the recorded tracks of Isi and Céline.
I like their sounds and all – it’s just sad to only get half of it, only their sound – but not their presence, not the chance to interact in all directions, not the chance to make a difference in their playing.

Also something I notice: I want to listen to their music, listen carefully and enjoy. Somehow it feels wrong to play along with it, because the music, their music, is already there. It feels like a lack of respect towards their playing to “ramble along”. Maybe next time in a situation like this I might not play at all. I’ve had a similar experience before. My guess: I would feel free to not play in a live situation more than in this contact-free version. Because now – if I don’t play, there is no other way to demonstrate my presence and part in the piece. On stage I can add to the piece by just being on stage and supporting the concentration.
Yes, the overall feeling right now is sadness. Weird.

This is the first time I recorded in the morning. And it was the first time I used the monitor and a closed headphone. Before that, I had always used an open headphone and heard myself acustically only.

Sometimes it’s harder to catch moments of intensification when playing contact-free. In a live situation the atmosphere with its increasing or decreasing intensitiy is in the air, for everybody at the same time. In this way of playing, it is a bit like taking a guess. Sometimes one can tell solely from the present sound where it might be going – but it’s the sound alone that represents the development of the piece –

My assumption is that playing in a very familiar line-up the difference is less striking, because the group is sharing some experience and therefore some expectations… which on the other hand shines a new light on the assumption of unpredictability in improvised music … !?