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  • Shambhu

The Recording Process - A Thumbprint as a Song

The process of discovering a song is like activating the Apple ID Thumbprint reader with my finger. Over the course of a few minutes, the detail of my thumbprint is registered with my device and my ID is fully realized.

A song emerges for me in much the same way. For me a musical composition already exists inside silence; I have to explore silence to find it. That requires showing up mindfully for a 'practice' session, or a 'meditation'. As I play a song idea over and over, the composition fills itself in over time, just like a thumbprint completes itself over a few minutes of scanning. At a certain point, I listen back and say, "this works." Then that song moves into a bucket of possibles for a future album.

Did Paul McCartney write Blackbird in one sitting? I have several songs on my new album that emerged whole - one take and the song was written. It sometimes happens that way. When I recorded Edge of Eternal (2010) with producer Will Ackerman at Imaginary Road Studios, we finished that song in a couple of hours.

In most cases, my songs generally take a while to find their voice.

Mindful Jamming. My creative process is mindful jamming. I enter inside a mindful place where I feel a heart connection, Then I start playing and connect the interior feeling to my fingers, unfold a song and, ultimately, a story unfolds as music.

Tune the guitar. Press Record. Music happens whenever I show up. Any musical idea floating in the ether can kick it off. A chord sequence, rhythm, melody or feeling that is inspiring and interesting. And I accept one fact - everything I do generally sucks in the beginning. Just about everything worth doing takes a while to find it's sweet spot - and patience can be a best friend.

Here's a sketch titled, Woodsy Green, a song I'm including on my 4th album. This song emerged from the creative process described above. There are lots of stories inside these notes - for me. What do you feel from the song?

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