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Artist Profiles

Lee Townsend: Originality and Feelings

By Published: October 26, 2007
The second collaboration, Selwa, is a successful continuation of this beautiful collaboration where Tibbetts is expanding his musical contribution without distorting the sacred nature of the chants. Selwa is very musical, spiritual, peaceful, and a pleasure to listen to. "First of all, it is such great music. I feel very fortunate to have had a hand in it. That was actually a very unusual situation. Usually I am present for every aspect of a recording and have a very hands-on presence. That particular project was different. My involvement was from afar. Steve kept sending me the music at various stages of development, and I kept giving him my ideas and suggestions about how to proceed. He was very open to my input, and it was a very gratifying experience to work with him.

Floratone is the latest result of a group of musicians consisting of guitarist Bill Frisell, drummer Matt Chamberlaine, and producers Tucker Martine and Townsend. Floratone took two years to shape, and it invokes the pioneering spirit of Miles Davis' 70s music collisions. Townsend has named it "futuristic roots music, and no wonder, as it presents an eclectic mixture of different strands of music with a wide array of electronic sonic wonders.

Lee Townsend "I like to think of it as having a balance between the rootsy and the ethereal. Initially Matt and Bill just played free in the studio. Then Tucker and I had the role of choosing the moments and musical directions that we wanted to exploit—shaping and arranging the music through editing and looping, and exploring the directions we found most compelling. Then Bill and Matt came back and added more to each piece after we gave it some form. Later, for other pieces, we had Matt play some drum patterns, and then had him and Bill add parts from there. So they were built from the ground up before undergoing the same kind of editing, arranging and overdub process.

"After that Viktor Krauss came in and did his magic. Toward the end, Bill wrote some horn and string parts for Ron Miles and Eyvind Kang. We then worked with that material before undertaking the final mix, which was pretty involved. I must say that we had a lot of fun working on this project. It started out as something like a laboratory experiment and came out sounding pretty organic and compositional.

This project which features one guitarist, one drummer, two producers, and guest performers makes the recording studio seems like a perfect place for the "futuristic roots music.

A partial list of Lee Townsend's production credits can be found here.


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