The Collectives project consisted of 50 hours of music on 50 CDs. I received a grant from the Cultural Affairs Division of the State of Florida and the National Endowment for the Arts to complete it.
Each CD was unique: only one existed, so when it was bought, that person was the only one with that music. Clips of some of the Collectives CDs were compiled for 2 CD releases: Collectives, Vol 1 and Collectives, Vol 2.
Each CD was named for the unique collective name for a specific animal. Every CD contained unique artwork, as well as an extensive multimedia section featuring a blog about every recording, outtakes, video and more.
And if I thought it had been done this way before, I probably wouldn't have tried.
Releasing 50 hours of music at once is something I did in my younger days, when I didn't care that you weren't supposed to do that. I recorded on a minidisc, released them on tape, and sold them at live performances. I used these recordings to learn about my instrument, my looping devices, and how to structure an hour-long improvisation.
So why do it again?
Well, its been awhile, more than 10 years since I have attempted such a thing. I think the purpose was the same: to test the bounds of creativity, and to learn more about the equipment I use to make this music.
I will tell you this...I am no longer afraid to start pushing buttons during a performance.
But why Collectives? What do all these crazy names mean?
Honestly, I have always liked words. I like strange words you usually have to explain. I never thought 'The Troubling of Goldfish' should sound like goldfish, although I am surprised at how sometimes the names reflected parts of the recordings. Generally, the songs were recorded, and the names added later. I didn't think the name or sound of an animal should steer me in a particular direction musically.
These new recordings were more labor-intensive, better quality, and more rewarding in the end.
When an artist uses up their stock ideas, what is left? I didn't know, but I wanted to find out. It could be just reassembling those idea in a different order, or it could be some new ideas altogether. I worked really hard to not just change the order of my ideas. I did lots of research, learned new chords, scales, and all that music theory stuff all musicians should be drawing upon. I listened to a lot of different music, and forced myself to not play the same patterns I had been playing.
In the creative visual art world, the artist isn't as concerned for 'making it big'. There is much creativity, and, with the end expectation level lowered, they dream up wild ideas and regularly make them a reality.
In the music world, we have access to more people. Sadly, more people can 'get' music before they understand visual art. However, the expectation level is high, and we musicians are constantly compared to our peers, and usually are asked 'Do you sound like anything I have heard before?'.
Being a musician, I really dislike being in this situation. If I stay true to myself and play what I like, I risk a life of obtuse obscurity. If I play what they want me to play, I get the love, the chicks, the money. I have jumped between both worlds, and I have to say, I'd rather keep my soul.
Playing improvised music that has really no base in modern rock, blues or jazz (but is certainly modern, being that it couldn't have been made 15 years ago) presents many challenges to this musician. Describing what I do is hard enough, much less finding a venue for it. But I've always had hope.
I know there is a huge gap between 'rock star' and 'lazy musician' and I am determined to live between that world of fake opulence and drama-laden despair. Outlets for all types of music are out there, it just takes a little more digging to find them.
Guitarists, especially, tend to play in patterns. They might move the patterns up and down the neck, but they are the same. I find myself doing this all the time. This leads to boredom, and a really unsatisfying creative life.
And in the end? I have to say I feel like a better musician after all of this. I also made a terrible racket, and had a lot of fun.
- Dave Monday, Oct 9, 2006
List of Collectives CDs
1. The Troubling of Goldfish 2. A Lovliness of Ladybugs 3. An Array of Hedgehogs 4. The Exaltation of Larks 5. A Kettle of Hawks 6. A Cete of Badgers 7. The Seige of Herons 8. A Blessing of Unicorns 9. A Convocation of Eagles 10. A Quiver of Cobras 11. The Deceit of Lapwings 12. The Flamboyance of Flamingoes 13. The Business of Ferrets 14. A Rookery of Seals 15. A Cowardice of Curs 16. The Wisdom of Owls 17. A Smack of Jellyfish 18. A Confusion of Weasels 19. The Richness of Martens 20. The Sloth of Bears 21. The Unkindness of Ravens 22. A Mob of Emus 23. A Raft of Otters 24. A Mutation of Thrushes 25. The Shiver of Sharks 26. The Mustering of Storks 27. A Leash of Greyhounds 28. The Labour of Moles 29. The Scurry of Squirrels 30. The Pitying of Turtle Doves 31. A Prickle of Porcupines 32. A Flutter of Butterflies 33. A Pounce of Cats 34. The Cry of Hounds 35. A Brace of Quail 36. The Pladge of Wasps 37. A Bale of Turtles 38. A Grist of Bees 39. The Charm of Goldfinches 40. The Scold of Jays 41. A Gulp of Magpies 42. The Skulk of Foxes 43. A Steam of Minnows 44. A Pandemonium of Parrots 45. The Obstinancy of Buffalo 46. The Paddling of Ducks 47. The Rhumba of Rattlesnakes 48. The Lamentation of Swans 49. A Battery of Barracudas 50. A Husk of Hares