Wednesday, June 22, 2005


Last night I dreamed that I organized a recording session with pianist Cecil Taylor, Slayer/Fantomas drummer Dave Lombardo and Orthrelm/Flying Luttenbachers guitarist Mick Barr. We were in a really nice studio - it looked like Avatar, in midtown NYC. (I remember what that room was like, because I watched David Ware record Surrendered there.)

In the big main space, I'd gotten Cecil one of those 96-key Bösendorfer Imperial pianos with the huge, thundering low end - the one he plays on The Willisau Concert (Intakt). Man, that CD is life-changing; if you haven't heard it, go get one. Seriously.

Lombardo was in his own room with all his drums, including a giant gong like the one Alex Van Halen used to have. And Mick was isolated, too, miked super-close to capture that buzzy, ultra-trebley electronic tone he's got on the new Orthrelm disc OV (which is another must-hear; see if you can do better than Ben Ratliff of the New York Times, who claims to love it even though he hasn't made it all the way to the end yet).

I dreamt that the trio had two days of intense rehearsal before the all-day recording session, and that my only instructions to them (because who am I, after all, to tell Cecil Taylor, or the other two guys, anything about how to make music?) were to work out a couple Barr-Taylor unison phrases that they could use to anchor the proceedings, and that other than that, I just wanted avalanches and tsunamis. Some delicate moments would be fine, but I was after serious earth-moving, skull-cracking music.

And in my dream, that's what they gave me. I wound up with two CDs' worth of material, stuff that was unbelievably intense, with all the stylistic hallmarks of the three men combined into a roaring, living whole that was vastly more than the sum of its parts. Cecil's baroque explosions on the piano combined with Mick's insectile buzzing and Lombardo's hellish battery to create a music unlike anything ever heard on earth, and I sat in the control room, listening to it pour forth from the speakers like hot mercury, shimmering and seemingly possessed of its own consciousness as it filled the world.

It was beautiful. And if I ever win the lottery, that's what I'm going to spend the money on.

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