Racer Sessions

Sundays, 8-10pm at Cafe Racer in Seattle, WA

Jared Borkowski - October 24th, 2010


Process and Expectations

Should I even mention the moment now?  The moment when a musical performance or experience changes your mind?  It swings it one way or the other.  All it takes is one moment, one event to make you remember the entire experience as positive.  One thing will convince you and you will remember that. You will tell your friends.  How do we make sure that that one thing happens for everyone listening as the performers?  The musicians.  We have to know this.  The emotional reaction is what makes the difference and nothing else.  A recording can be great, but if you don’t have that reaction to it at some point it is not great yet.  What is greatness if no one thinks it’s great?  You have to have that moment.  Just a split second.  That is art.  And if that is art, then the receiver has a much harder job than the presenter.  The viewer or listener has a much greater role in making something art, because if they don’t have that moment, it never rises up to such a status.  It just doesn’t.  It’s static and clinical otherwise.  So if the receiver is who makes it art, then the creator must be the receiver at the same time… and they must find a moment with it… they must!  Or else it’s doomed.  Truly doomed… and not art. 

Okay, so here is the deal.  My concept is all about process.  Everything is a process and continuously in that process.  Here, it applies to the creative process.  Process.  I like to write.  I like to just write and let it just happen.  Whatever comes out comes out.  This is what I am doing right now.  You might call it rambling.  It usually comes very naturally because I do it for myself and never with the intention that anyone is ever going to read it.  More often than not I don’t even read it.  Sometimes I go back and check stuff out.  Some of it seems cool.  Some of it doesn’t.  Either way, it doesn’t matter.  It’s just stream of consciousness.  Free-writing if you will.  This is exciting to me.  It feels like raw creativity.  For the sake of being creative and expressing and processing… and that’s it.  Most satisfying.  There is almost no stopping.  Quick intuitive decisions.  This approach is what inspired my concept for the session.  The first paragraph above was taken from one of these writing sessions.  Totally unedited.  I barely remember writing it.  And I like it that way.  Often, when I compose music, I sit and stew over it.   Over thinking every decision… Chiseling and sculpting until it turns into something that I like, little by little.  This process is different for me because I feel pressure.  Because I start out knowing that one of it’s purposes is for other people to hear it.  This can feel less honest, and confusing. Also… sometimes cool and sometimes not.  What I realized is that some of the most satisfying parts come to me when I am in the “free-writing” zone.  So… I decided to intentionally compose two pieces using the free-writing, stream of consciousness approach that I love to use with language.  It requires that I go with whatever ideas I think of one after the other. 

I have two pieces.  The first piece is written for guitar trio featuring Cameron Peace and Skiff Feldspar. …  The process thing worked.  When I found myself aware of thinking too much, I quickly went with whatever idea came next.  Two things about the result:  First, I ended up using musical ideas that are habits for me… things that I always do… that sound like me… so much so that if I was thinking more about it I would have probably tried to avoid that.  Secondly, I had to accept some things that happened and not let myself go back and edit. Some of the transitions seem weird and unrelated, or sudden, but I just went with it … that is how I write with words too… and I like that freedom.

My other piece is very different.  Maria Mannisto and Hamilton Boyce will be singing along with some electronic drum samples and guitar.  I hit a wall here. I started working on it… and started getting excited… then the doubt hit me.  I lost track of the nature and point of my original concept.  I started thinking about how it would be received and how I am representing myself.  That is not it at all… This approach allows you to bypass that and see what happens.  I was going to either restart or call off the piece until I was reminded that such a decision would completely negate my whole theme.  I have to go with it and let it be that way.  It was such a struggle.  I have to really trick myself.  Even right now… It’s hard knowing that people are going to read this.  It feels false to change something based on that.  I learned that I have to accept and allow something to not be perfect… and not care.  Let it be what it is.  That is the whole point. Doing something while thinking about how the reaction is going to be by other people just fucks it up.  How can you ever be yourself?  You have to let what comes out come out and keep doing it, and let that develop over time.  That is you.  No wonder we are all so confused.

Feeling like something has be perfect is such a trap.  Feeling like we have somewhere to end up is such a trap.  The process is all there is.  There is a strong tendency to feel like we are getting somewhere.  That there is a destination ahead… but there is none.  Just more path.  The only destination is more of the same thing, which is exactly what is happening right now.  It’s disturbing.  Disturbing to think you are waiting to live.  Or waiting for anything. That’s the bigger picture.  Of process.  When composing art… it is dangerous to think that the point is only in the end, when people hear it and see it and like it.  really… All parts are equal. …………… ~~~~~~~

When we improvise, we are basically doing all of this already, because you cannot refine what you have already played, but there is an approach here that I think is helpful.  The same insecurity, doubt, and self-consciousness can happen when improvising as it does with composing, or anything else that you attach yourself to.  For the jam:: Don’t think, just play.  There has been a lot of planning and improvising off of concepts recently, which is great, but for this session I want you to just play.  Don’t think.  Be yourself and let it be whatever it is.  You have to not care about any outcome for it to work.  No expectations. 

I have a side theme too…  I really like it when instruments with the same or similar timbre play together.  I encourage you to group up with players in your instrument family. 

Fight the fight.   I think it’s good to acknowledge and call yourself out on feeling self-conscious.   No one can really have their own opinions and we are all just repetitions of each other anyway. 

Like this. à Here is a poem, or something, that I wrote freely.  More stuff that was never intended to be seen. The words for my vocal piece are based off of this:


 …think… so cold.

…more and more… (as part of a… larger scale)

…feel… (important)

(…trigger…) harsh thoughts,…

…think of… the past.

…they are gone…

…but…we are (exactly) the same.

…advanced is an illusion…

So… see all this.

…cold hearted and emotionless.

And then…

…fly… home is weak.

…not… the strength to use… instincts anymore.

…not… quickly like… normal…

…often… rests.


…try to get… outside…

My heart turns over.

…hurt and sad for this…


I can see us as… the future, but I am also in it.


Huge thanks to Cam, Skiff, Maria, and Hamilton.

Are we cool?  ok

(self-portrait ‘10)