Friday, February 23, 2007

Thunder Echo Ensemble – WTF?

A guy at work asked me the other day, “Thunder Echo Ensemble, what the f@#% is that?” I was wearing a TEE Shirt with the cover of the new CD on it.
(The new Thunder Echo Ensemble CD, Just Now, is available FREE by the way, so go download it.)
So I said, “Thunder Echo is a band that I am in.”
That was a good enough answer for this particular guy, but I knew that it went much deeper than that. So here is my attempt to answer that question in a more genuine way (even though you didn’t ask).

As a young man and a young artist I tried really hard to be original. But I found that my artwork was always directly or indirectly derivative. And the more I studied other artists’ work the more I realized that nobody was doing original work, nobody. That got me interested in collage and other methods of directly exploring how artists create new combinations of elements instead of creating new elements.

Take the cover of the new CD for example. Now this illustration would traditionally be called an original work of art. I sat down with a blank canvas and drew things on it. But as the artist I can tell you that there is very little originality in this piece. I have been exposed to a wide variety of art and artistic techniques in the past. I have looked at thousands of paintings and thousands of comics. I did not invent the concepts of Eskimos or shamans or ceremonial masks. I took all these things and put them together at a specific time and place. And the results are rather pleasing (if I do say so myself). It is a drawing. It is art. And that is okay. But it is not original (Everybody is a critic).

I also do a lot of visual collage work, where I literally take other peoples’ images, cut them up and reconstruct them into new configurations. And I think collage is just as legitimate as that CD cover illustration. It is just a little easier for others to see and trace the influences and components of a collage.

When I make music I do the same thing. I collect influences and actual bits of music created by others. I use computer programs to help me sequence these bits into interesting new configurations. I add a few bits of my own: vocals, keyboard parts, etc.. I am basically a musical collage artist as well.

So when I wanted to share my music with other people I did not think it was entirely fair to say, this is my Original Music. I feel there are very few lightning flashes of true originality in music (or anything else). Most of us are lucky if we can get close to the thunder from those flashes once in a while. And with my musical talent (or lack there of), I figured I was lucky if I could capture a few distant echoes of the thunder. That is how I came up with the name, Thunder Echo. I thought about calling it the Thunder Echo Assembly, because of the collage aspect, but I settle on the Thunder Echo Ensemble because it sounds more musical.

That is my theory and why I call my music and my blog Thunder Echo. And you can take that, chop it up and rearrange it if you can manage to create something interesting out of it.
Snap! Crackle! Pop Music!

No comments: