Similar to my paintings, I find that I need an atmospheric foundation to make detailed drawings. I approach compositions in a similar way: Harmonies often emerge first on the piano before I devote myself to developing a melody.
Lest We Forget has been floating around in my head for a while as a well visualizable song. The clear melody line, on which the focus lies, is in favor of an equally clear drawing on atmospheric ground.
I deal with the latter first by choosing a blue foundation, which gets something earthy through the use of a certain structure. At this point, the working title „SOIL“ is created.
I extract the creation of the background as a time-lapse video and slow it down in iMovie. Finished is the intro for the improvisation. After I decided not to meticulously mirror what I hear in the visual, the white melody line that I animate in the animation program flipaclip follows Esperanza Spalding’s vocals only in its basic movement and does not run perfectly synchronized with the vocal movement. Both movements are nevertheless perceived as belonging to each other. The already established melody line now appears once again in a different color and placed differently in the image. A third line joins it in a different form and color like a kind of echo. It occurred to me that Spalding’s melody could be placed in a canonic context, and I now establish this for the subsequent improvisation.
At this point I realize that I am already dealing with the compositional process, in that I am already influencing the course of the improvisation in advance through the use of fixed melody lines, color changes and the progression of the form.
Of course, it remains to be seen whether the implementation in the simultaneous situation of improvising will occur in exactly the same way, but nevertheless an improvisation concept based on visual composition emerges at the point I am at.
I see myself facing a small challenge in presenting a rhythmic concept. That’s why I keep it puristic at this point and pick up the rhythm of the song only rudimentarily through light impulses. It will be hard enough for the rhythm section to react simultaneously to the visual stimuli.
It is important to me to have a harmonic change in the further course, so here I choose an offensive contrast between blue and red. A clear but not too abrupt return to the „initial harmony“ of blue should form the final frame of the video. The melody line slowly dissolves and merges into a more naturalistic starry sky.
Esperanza Spalding, on her album 12 little spells, has assigned her songs to different elements of the body. Lest We Forget is dedicated to our blood. So with the help of the bluescreen function, I added some shots of blood cells under the microscope. It provides another moving element and picks up the substance of her lyrics in a naturalistic way.
You can watch the final result here: