My path in putting the audio portion of this package together was a two-fold process. I am very, very picky about the running order. I will spend weeks on just this, trying out various things and tweaking it to get the balance and shape just right.
The first running order I put together was made up of what I thought most people would take to be the best tracks from my 6 solo/band recordings, with some new material added. But when I listened through the finished arrangement it was good, very good, but ultimately not that satisfying to me, personally. It just wasn't what I really wanted to hear from the material.
So, I took a second strategy: "Fuck thinking about what other people might take to be my best material. What do I want to hear on this CD? What are the most meaningful tracks to me? Just me, and me alone."
And that's what I ended up with as a governing strategy. I listened through my whole catalogue, released and unreleased, and picked out the pieces that, personally, moved me the most. In some cases the choices aligned with the first running order, but in many they didn't.
It was during this second process that I found some alternate mixes of several of the tracks. I am not a huge fan of alternate mixes, but with these there were some pluses -- there were missing parts that weren't included in David Bottrill's (Gabriel, King Crimson, Tool producer) version of the pieces. David is a monster audio artist and he made some brilliant choices in what parts to leave out during the mix. With these alternate mixes, done by myself prior to the album mix, you have another version of what to leave in and what to leave out. I think it is really cool to hear that.
On one of the other pluses was the extended tabla solo that Bob Muller did on "Take This Wish." I am not a huge fan of long recordings. I think the length that most CDs are is completely ludicrous. NO ONE can sit down and listen to 70 minutes of music. Not really listen. They can put it on as a backdrop to other activity. And I am fine with that as one use of my recordings. But I, generally, make my records to listen to in detail. And listen to over and over again, because there are many subtle elements that don't reveal themselves until you have heard the tracks 5 or 10 times.
So with the original version of "Take This Wish", off of the One Thousand Years CD, I went for a shortened version of the outro of this piece. It fit best in the context of the record as a whole that way. But now I have pulled out the old mix where Bob takes this weirdly, satisfying, and obtuse groove in 9/4 and just blows over it. I've included the full whammy here. And I still hold to the fact that this wouldn't have worked on the original disc. It just wasn't appropriate there. But here... hey, let's have it!
The DVD was the really exciting part of the project for me. I've just started up a DVD/multimedia production company in Seattle, (7 Directions) and we were aching to get chops on this. We had so much fun with the motion menus. I wanted to find a whole different vibe for each of the three divisions of the DVD:
The live performances
The video montages
And so we built small, mood setting intros appropriate to each.
The Trey Gunn Band live performances were shot over the last few years with extremely varied quality of gear. There are a few multi-camera shots from an intimate studio performance we did in NYC to an audience of 20. Other live pieces were shot with hand held cameras at various gigs. I often manipulated the footage to keep it visually interesting when the excitement of the audio greatly outweighed the visuals.
The interview section begins with a video collage from some days off we had in Mexico City during one of the Trey Gunn Band tours. It is a very cool rendering of what a great day off can be. The rest of this section is video interviews by Joe Mendelson, second touch guitarist in the group. These range from hilarious to quite interesting. Joe got all of us talking about our gear, and in particular about Bob’s insane percussion set-up --- with drum kit, tablas on stands, and all sorts of mic’ed up hand drums and shakers.
The final section of the DVD, the video montage part, is where the video chops come into play. I have put together four of these montages that are built upon Trey Gunn recordings. One of these tracks has never before been released. They are very exploratory, very dreamlike and very powerful. Each has it’s own particular visual language that the piece is built upon. In exploring the individual languages, I chose particular color schemes for each of the pieces depending on the given musical material. I also chose particular visual/symbolic motifs for each piece. And then began working on them.
Most of this montage work was done in the mountains of New Mexico a few months back. I would wake up in the morning, make a pot of matte tea and take my note pad out on the porch to sit with the ideas and the Sangre de Christo Mountains. Then I would come inside, crank up the computers and begin editing and forging into the pieces. After this, I would take a few hours break and go hiking high up into the mountains (13,000 feet!!!! Yeah!!!) Then return for dinner and delve deep into it again, long into the night.
Trey’s first person bio:
My earliest fascinations with music came from hearing my grandfather play harmonica and sing old western songs to me. We used to listen to Hank Williams records together and I quickly found the urge to play an instrument.
Piano was where I began at age 7. I studied the classics enough to unlock the magic and power of the West’s great composers. But, I also learned that I would never be a master of this instrument. And, after six years (with a brief interlude on the violin), I found an electric bass under my hands. This was pure bliss