Thursday, August 07, 2008

Maniacally Unhinged, Supremely Talented

Here's a cool article on the front page of this week's East Bay Express, and it's all about the Immersion Composition Society. I've been participating in ICS since 2002, and it has truly transformed my creative process in regards to songwriting. The Express article goes into great detail about what ICS is and how it works, but in a nutshell, a bunch of songwriters choose a day, get up in the morning and write and record as many songs as possible, and then meet up that very same evening to listen to the fruits of each person's labors. It's nutty, it's fun, it's sometimes terrifying, and completely liberating. No more waiting for inspiration to strike! No more excuses! You get up, you get to work, and somehow although you have no idea what it is you're supposed to be creating, the most fantastic things manage to spill out of your subconscious. Granted, a lot of crud leaks out too, but the theory goes that in the midst of quantity, eventually there's gotta be some quality too. And one of the cool things about ICS is that the participants aren't there to judge or critique. It's a very supportive environment.

Although my ICS sessions have been very few and far between over the last couple years, at a certain point in time I was doing it so frequently that I managed to write over 250 songs in a period of a couple years (granted, not all of them were good, or even listenable, but hell, I got more good songs written in those years than I would have otherwise!). God, I miss those days. I'm just about ready to kick myself in the butt and start doing ICS sessions again so I can write some new material. But in the meantime, I'll play a very small handful of those 250 songs as one of the many performers at Friday night's show at the Uptown, featuring a whole slew of ICS participants. The concert is presented by the Budget Cinema Suicide Mission, and is a benefit for local filmmaker Annmarie Piette, who's doing a documentary about creativity and the brain, featuring a segment about ICS. If you can't make it to the show, do check out the Express article - it's a very worthy read. I love the author's reference to ICS participants as "maniacally unhinged, supremely talented"! It turns out I am lucky to know quite a few people who fit that description.

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