The past two years have seen a lot of changes in this group. We're now a four piece with no permanent drummer. We've been lucky enough to have Robert Schoville of Reptile Palace Orchestra fill in for the new recording. His presence during the writing process has had a big impact on the group. His mastery of percussion and overall aesthetic has been a great boon.
As I'm preparing for my own parts I've come to appreciate the idea that "composition is improvisation slowed down". I always thought of this as something of a truism, but the past few days working on ideas for solos, etc. have begun to reveal the depth of this statement. Of course, I still have a twinge of guilt for working on the parts before hand. I've spent a majority of my musical life championing improvisation in its purest forms, and here I am working out melodic ideas for solos. In fact, I feel at times I'm actually writing them instead of trusting the moment to provide inspiration. I suppose this is what happens when your own money is on the line.
However, I think this will become more a part of my daily routine. Taking changes and writing out lines away from the guitar. Or taking melodies and writing variations. The process allows you to let certain things in and others out. It reminds me somehow of this quote from Stravinsky's The Poetics of Music.
"My freedom thus consists in my moving about within the narrow frame that I have assigned myself for each one of my undertakings. I shall go even further: my freedom will be so much the greater and more meaningful the more narrowly I limit my field of action and the more I surround myself with obstacles. Whatever diminishes constraint, diminishes strength. The more constraints one imposes, the more one frees one's self of the chains that shackle the spirit."
Think of it this way, in space you have no ability to move without something to push against. I wonder what this says about the nature of strength itself. I suppose that's enough for now. I'm going back to writing chord subs and such.