A brief history of “I sing the body electric”

As you may know, on April 14th we are going to release our new album of modern classical music played on electric guitars. It is called, “I sing the body electric” Now that this project is leaving the incubation stage and going out on it’s own into the world, I will share with you a brief timeline of how it all came to be—from conception to completion in just two years. It has been truly remarkable.

March 2010 – We first have the idea of playing classical music on electric guitars.

June 2010 – We found and began to play the first piece which really “worked” on electric guitars, one of the Silent Songs of Valentin Silvestrov.

December 3rd, 2010 – We have our first public performance on electric guitars at La Paloma Sabanera in Hartford, Connecticut.

April 11th, 2011 We premiere our arrangements of the music of Arvo Part to a huge and enthusiastic crowd at the Galapagos Art Space in Brooklyn.

June 2011 – We decide to try to record an album of electric guitar music in 2011-2012.

August 2011 – In addition to preparing for my wedding which took place on August 27th (yes, during Hurricane Irene!) I found the time over the rest of the summer to complete all the arrangements of the music for the projected album.

September 12, 2011 – I knew I would need help on many aspects of this album. I wanted to work with someone who could be more than just a recording engineer. I wanted someone who knew the music, who was creative enough to understand the new sound we were going for and who would be just as passionate about this project as we were. I found that person in Peter Blanchette. I had known and loved for years his extensive catalog of self-produced recordings of music for the archguitar and other ensembles and had only recently made his acquaintance. We happen to live in the same neighborhood in Northampton, MA and on this warm September night we walked around the block about 20 times and discussed our ideas for the album. I was very fortunate to have been able to convince him to sign on to the project as producer.

October 13th-15th, 2011 – Three all night recording sessions with Peter produced the raw material that would become “I sing the body electric”. Thanks to Tristan Chambers for the session photography and for bringing us pizza and beer and to my wife Shana for the chocolate chip cookies (I think they were the best I’ve ever tasted).

November 2011-January 2012– This was not a time of idleness. Peter and I spent well over 100 hours in the studio editing, mixing and mastering the album. I was amazed by Peter’s genius in this part of the process (not to mention his generosity with his time and energy). To be a part of this was an incredible learning experience as slowly each of the 15 pieces on this album took shape and became even better than I ever dreamed they would be. I also must thank my wife Shana who, at every stage of this process listened to the album with me (probably hundreds of times) and provided invaluable feedback on many aspects, in particular, track order.

November 2nd – December 11th – Our fans old and new help us raise 5,656 $ on Kickstarter, without which this whole thing might not have been possible.

December 8th 2011 – Somewhere in Estonia Arvo Part himself listen to our version of his “Spiegel im Spiegel” and nodded his head in approval. We were incredibly thrilled when we heard this and were happy to incorporate a few subtly brilliant suggestions that he made for our arrangement into the final mix.

February 8th 2012 – At around 2 pm, Peter Blanchette shows up at my door looking tired. He had been up since 8pm the previous night working non-stop on the final master of “ I sing the body electric” which he handed to me.

February 27th, 2012 – After receiving from Tyran Grillo (who not only writes all of our program notes, but is also a constant source of inspiration with his listening suggestions—it was Tyran who introduced me to the music of Sivestrov) the luminous liner notes for the album and completing all the other art and design aspect of the album, I send the whole thing off to the presses.

March 16th, 2012 – On a road trip to a brief tour of performances of our electric guitar program, we stop at the Discmakers plant in New Jersey and pick up the final product!

April 14th, 2012 – We release the album the world and let’s hope even more exciting things happen from there.

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