"Dance the orange!", said the poet Rilke. More modestly, I've been recently learning to, or rather rediscovering, how to dance the microphone.
I'm in the rehearsals for the song I want to release to the atmosphere this month. Rehearsals, I've realized, are not only the moment where the bulk of value is created (the more you rehearse, the more you dig in on where the song intends to go, and also the more you liberate yourself. It is once you've automated the finger positions that the actual expression starts); not only that, but they also liberate you from undergoing later all the horrible "technical disease" of having several takes that are almost well so you have to adjust, match... all that sick but sometimes necessary microsurgery when you don't "get it right at the source".
Today's rehearsal was the voice track, and the engineering works previous to the tracking were a beautiful example of how the magic of steady processes can help you. A convoluted, complex series of steps designed to allow the simplest outcome: press play and start recording. When you're done, press play and start listening what you just recorded.
It took almost one hour getting to recording mode (should be faster in the upcoming days; this one was slower for being the first time, in a new location...). And it wasn't free from little moments of doubt, indecission, and even wondering frustration ("I thought I was advanced when I wrote these instructions, how could I still make this rookie mistake?"). But the process, with bumps and all, worked nevertheless like rail, taking me from A to B.
And the final station was that that I could get goofy, and start to understand what the song asks me to do. After a few initial stiff takes, I started to try silly stuff -I started to PLAY-; intonations; proximity effect? Rather not? Wishpering? how would the singer from Life Sex & Death would sing it? How about Butthole Surfers?
I got it right when I started to swing my arms while I sang. Soon I was dancing (it's a very comic song). It wasn't until I discovered the right coreography for the song that I got the voice nuisances that I needed.
This was one of those reminders that you can always refresh from time to time; you're not just a corpse holding on top a wind-shaping mechanism, you're an alive being so you sing with your whole body, and the good singing has something of the craft of the actor; you create a character, you live emotions for each song. It is the space that the process liberated what has allowed me to recover this wonderful, always endangered degree of freedom.