Creativity takes on different expressions. Japanese ink paintings are all about the moment and one has to work fairly fast. No corrections are possible. A painting might take only minutes from start to finish. The old European masters on the other hand were all about planning, layering and perfecting. A painting could easily take from a few months to a few years.
When I watch Vicente Amigo’s concert DVD or recall Paco’s live performances, I think of European masters. Very little improvisation is taking place. They compose, work on counterpoint and once the piece is perfected, they rehearse it and perform it like that every time.
I love that kind of work, but don’t often work like that myself. I like to make shit up fast. In Japanese ink painting more time is spent on making the ink, preparing the brushes and paper than on the painting itself. Likewise, I spent time preparing a piece of music, recording the rhythm guitars, the bass and percussion etc… all leading up to sitting down with my guitar and reacting to the music – improvising a melody.
In other words, most of the time I don’t know what melody a piece will have until the very end… of course that could mean a colossal waste of time if we spend days recording the rhythm elements and then I can’t come up with a melody – but that has never happened.
Ink pantings and the great masters – very different expressions. My work would not be possible without the modern studio. I mean, I guess I could have a band rehearsing and then playing a song without a melody and then improvise over that… but that would not be the same.
My work has in some ways more in common with Rock than Flamenco, in that Rock has always thrived on making shit up. Especially in the Seventies. Immediate creativity, happy accidents… just listen to Bowie’s Low or Heroes… I would love to have been a fly on the wall for those recordings.
Because of this I am less likely to perform a song exactly the way it was recorded. That may disappoint some and be exciting for others. I am always looking for ways to set myself up for improvisation and that goes for live performances as well. A good show is one where I play music I have not played before.
I am reading my post after the show… and of course things aren’t as black and white as that. Pieces like the new untitled are composed and arranged and I don’t deviate much from show to show… ah well, it is a fun story though…
PS: What a bunch of crap. Music can’t be categorized like that. Improvisation leads to composition and a composition can be the starting point for an improvisation… and the best pieces may utilyze both – a mosaic of improvisation and composition. Creativity is like water… it will find the cracks and flow and find expression through whatever method available or necessary.