The timing of a Junto project about making music on the road could not have been better for me, since I’m in Berlin for Ableton Loop this week. After all this listening to people talk about creative process I was super fired up to do some music making. And since I’m writing a paper about Duke Ellington’s “Black and Tan Fantasy” at the moment, the obvious solution was to remix it.
I took loops of the trumpet and trombone solos from two different recordings of the tune and laid them out over one of my favorite rhythmic beds, “Blind Man Can See It” by James Brown. Some of the Ellington loops are more or less intact, some are timestretched, some are ring modulated, and some are insanely vocoded with pitch tracking and beat repeat. The James Brown loops are pitched up a minor third to fit the key of the Ellington tune.
I started work on the track at Newark Airport, pushed it forward a bit in my hotel in Berlin, and completed it in the Loop conference green room, otherwise known as the control room for one of the gigantic recording studios. I was listening to a talk on overcoming creative obstacles by Kaki King, Machinedrum and Akiyomi, which was so energizing that I had to run up here and make some music myself. As I write this description, those three artists are doing their Q&A on the other side of the glass. It’s pretty inspiring.