For all of its technique, theory and philosophy (or intentional lack thereof), improvisation is an extremely human conversation between people or the self, built and evolved from histories personal, political, cultural and cosmological. But also… it's not terribly complicated, just intuitive. That's why I love this roundtable discussion with members of the Bill Orcutt Guitar Quartet; in particular, this quote from Wendy Eisenberg:
The way I think about it: there's very rarely a chance in civilian life, you could say, to live in the world of abstraction and all the pleasures of that. When I improvise, I feel like it's the one place where it's accepted to use reference as abstraction, the way it feels when I learn anything. I improvise as a way to metabolize the world. On the other hand, the actual technique of that is basically just being hyper-observant and very quick to react, which has created a feedback loop where all I want to do is make absurd and really abstract references to everything else in my speaking life as well. (laughs) It started out as a way to feel normal in an abnormal world and became just a really abnormal way of living.
This, too, is generally how I think about music: a labyrinth of references that make sense in my brain. Explaining the connections isn't complicated, just doesn't always feel necessary — it just feels.
And I agree with Orcutt that the live versions of Music for Four Guitars have been superior to the record — they come alive with a jumpy and joyous tension I didn't expect! I mean, just watch the Tiny Desk if you haven't already; as the producer of that Tiny Desk, it's been an absolute thrill to see y'all's ecstatic reaction. —Lars Gotrich
Mammatus, "Expanding Majesty"
Abdul Wadud, "Camille"
S.C. Sharma, "After the War"
Nakibembe Embaire Group (with Gabber Modus Operandi & Wahono), "160"
Wolf Eyes, "Days Decay"
Aya Metwalli & Calamita, "El Khala3 Wel Dala3"
Krallice, "Porous Resonance Abyss part III"
The Veldt, "The Everlasting Gobstopper"
Tsuadatta, "Electric Wave on Night Beach"
Strange Magic, "Dunce Cap Hood Brigade"
me too, thanks., "Spooky Cave"
Carrie Nations, "descendents"
Electric Eels, "Wreck and Roll"
Sally Anne Morgan, "The Center (Demo)"
Scott Tuma, "Early Summer"
Lifeguard, "17-18 Lovesong"
Svitlana Nianio, "Episode III"
Ben Chasny & Rick Tomlinson, "Waking of Insects"
Bill Orcutt, "Or from behind"
Junior Mint Prince, "When I Am Him"
Petal, "You Really Love Me"
Rata Negra, "Ella Está En Fiestas"
A Pregnant Light, "Mandarine"
Pilau, "In a Void"
Inhuman Nature, "Take Them By Force"
Coffin Party, "Common Sense"
Haunt, "Send Me An Angel"