You’re invited to musicians’ recording sessions

With projects by three high-profile artists, music fans have been able to look into the creative process as new projects were being created.

Drew Gurian/Invision/AP
Singer Esperanza Spalding poses for a picture in New York in 2016.

When music fans wanted to learn about how their favorite albums were made, they used to have to wait until deluxe anniversary box sets or documentary films about the recordings were released. 

But with projects by three high-profile artists, they have been able to look into the creative process as new projects were being created.

British singer/songwriter/multi-instrumentalist PJ Harvey incorporated a live art installation as part of her latest album, “The Hope Six Demolition Project.” 

Back in January 2015, she embarked on her roughly monthlong “Recording in Progress” exhibition behind one-way glass at Somerset House in London. 

Audience members could witness the action – or lack thereof – in 45-minute segments. (No phones or anything that could record footage was allowed.)

Meanwhile, New Zealander and veteran troubadour Neil Finn livestreamed rehearsals and the sole four-hour recording session for his latest album, “Out of Silence,” each Friday this past August from his studio in Auckland.

In September, American bassist/vocalist/songwriter Esperanza Spalding wrote, arranged, and recorded “Exposure,” her upcoming release, in Los Angeles over a 77-hour period. The 2011 Best New Artist Grammy winner used Facebook Live as a portal. She planned on issuing only 7,777 copies of the album on CD and vinyl; preorders for the physical media versions of “Exposure” sold out.

“It’s great to come as you are and have that be accepted,” says guitarist Matthew Stevens, who participated in the “Exposure” sessions and says he stopped noticing the cameras early on.

“I kept asking her, ‘Are you sure you don’t want me to come in with any ideas?’ ” vocalist/violinist/guitarist/songwriter Andrew Bird, who also participated in the “Exposure” experiment, remembers. “And she just said, ‘No, no – just yourself.’ ”

“We were really revitalized by [it],” Mr. Stevens says. “It was an amazing experience.”

You've read  of  free articles. Subscribe to continue.

Dear Reader,

About a year ago, I happened upon this statement about the Monitor in the Harvard Business Review – under the charming heading of “do things that don’t interest you”:

“Many things that end up” being meaningful, writes social scientist Joseph Grenny, “have come from conference workshops, articles, or online videos that began as a chore and ended with an insight. My work in Kenya, for example, was heavily influenced by a Christian Science Monitor article I had forced myself to read 10 years earlier. Sometimes, we call things ‘boring’ simply because they lie outside the box we are currently in.”

If you were to come up with a punchline to a joke about the Monitor, that would probably be it. We’re seen as being global, fair, insightful, and perhaps a bit too earnest. We’re the bran muffin of journalism.

But you know what? We change lives. And I’m going to argue that we change lives precisely because we force open that too-small box that most human beings think they live in.

The Monitor is a peculiar little publication that’s hard for the world to figure out. We’re run by a church, but we’re not only for church members and we’re not about converting people. We’re known as being fair even as the world becomes as polarized as at any time since the newspaper’s founding in 1908.

We have a mission beyond circulation, we want to bridge divides. We’re about kicking down the door of thought everywhere and saying, “You are bigger and more capable than you realize. And we can prove it.”

If you’re looking for bran muffin journalism, you can subscribe to the Monitor for $15. You’ll get the Monitor Weekly magazine, the Monitor Daily email, and unlimited access to CSMonitor.com.

QR Code to You’re invited to musicians’ recording sessions
Read this article in
https://www.csmonitor.com/The-Culture/Music/2017/1107/You-re-invited-to-musicians-recording-sessions
QR Code to Subscription page
Start your subscription today
https://www.csmonitor.com/subscribe