dadala began in 2004 as a remix project, originally a way to recycle earlier material from RDunlap's archives (solo projects and collaborations recorded 1985-1996). The project was and is a continuation of RDunlap's long history of exploring alternative methods of creating music and audio-art, going back to the days when he bounced recordings from one cassette tape deck to another, performing live overdubs on the fly. As acquaintances were made online the project began to include material from other artists and until about 2007 used only already existing recordings in the process. With the album 'candy fish barrel' in 2007 dadala began to settle into a core set of contributors and began incorporating some material that was specifically recorded for dadala's use.
As of 2009 dadala had evolved into a long-distance ensemble of four core members blending improvisation with digital alchemy, collage and serendipity. The members live in three different states in different corners of the US and with a few occasional exceptions involving brothers Richard and Frank Dunlap, they don't ever actually record together in real time. But unlike its earlier incarnation the project now features original material recorded specifically for dadala, and the band members' interactions with that material (performing overdubs, remixing, etc). The rest of the raw material comes exclusively from Loopy C's vast blog, including a private stash he has processed from earlier dadala tracks and recordings from the members.
UPDATE - 2014 found dadala working with three new international contributors: long-time online acquaintance Roger Sundström of Sweden (aka Erocnet - guitars, drum kit, soundscapes and more) and new friends André in France (aka Darius - basses and more) and Frank Wilke in Germany (aka brass-lines - trombone, trumpet and more).
The way dadala tracks come together varies widely in process. Improvisation occurs not just in the instrumental performances but also in the mixing and production process. Unlike conventional and intentional composition dadala is an exploration of coincidence and synchronicity, including arbitrary elements and chance along with careful craft and manipulation. All the members of dadala get to enjoy novelty and surprise in the process, unlike the more static and predictable results of more conventional techniques.
The members contribute a wide variety of recordings ranging from unprocessed acoustic instrumental solo improvisations to elaborate experimental digital alchemy created with sophisticated cutting-edge software, equipment and techniques. Founding member RDunlap uses these recordings as raw material (along with his own occasional contributions programming and performing on a vintage Casio CZ-101 digital synthesizer) to arrange, combine, remix, edit, layer and otherwise manipulate to produce dadala.
Sometimes members perform overdubs to existing recordings (of their own, from other members, or premixes from RDunlap), other times completely unrelated recordings are combined. Sometimes material is used pretty much "as is" and combinations are left to play out as they will. Other times there is extensive editing and manipulation. It can be like building sculpture as an assemblage of disparate parts or like chiseling a statue out of a block of marble, sometimes both.
The listener is often not going to be able to tell what was intentional and what was happenstance, what was "live" and what was manipulated, or in what sequence parts were recorded. In dadala what sounds intentional was probably serendipity, and what sounds random was probably played that way on purpose.
The current core members:
RDunlap - www.last.fm/music/RDunlap - Has been recording alternative and experimental music and sound-art well outside both the commercial and academic mainstreams since 1985.
Loopy C - loopyc.com - Has extensive experience in the music industry, both as an artist (was a member of Jesus Wore Dickies, among other things) and on the studio/engineering/software side of things in the background.
Frank Dunlap - www.reverbnation.com/frankdunlap - Self-taught improviser and multi-instrumentalist, has recorded with brother RDunlap sporadically over the years. Currently also plays in a local band (Still Lookin') that actually jams together in the same room at the same time, playing Grateful Dead, Neil Young, originals and others.
Johann Meier - at SoundCloud - Has a background in jazz piano and has branched out into other instruments as well as electronic and electro-acoustic works of his own (several free DL releases as Jopy).