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--- Mar 24 1999 Go to category
Subject: Total album experience
Category: Musical Philosophy
From: Sander Kempen (Netherlands)

I was wondering the following:

When you compose an album, do you compose a set of tunes, select the best of them and put them on disc in the best possible sequence or is it more like that you have some sort of a feeling how the total album should sound and you write the tunes accordingly?

For example, in my humble opinion, the average song quality (whatever that might be) on the album 'We Live Here' is extraordinary high, but somehow albums like 'Imaginary Day' and 'Still life (Talking)' give a better feeling about the album as a whole eventhough the parts (the tunes) are not the level of 'To the End of the World' or 'We Live Here'.

So my question is: How do you see this paradox (Not in this specific case of course) and how do you listen to records of others? (I mean as total albums or as a set of tunes)

Pat’s Answer:

well, i TRY to make each album a whole thing - kind of the way i try to make each live set a whole thing, almost like one long song. one thing has changed radically in this area in the past 15 years is the advent of cd's - one hour to hour and an quarter set - as compared to lp's - two 20 to 25 minute sets with an intermission in the middle. this has made the planning of albums totally a new experience with very different requirements. to me, the best "record" records as a whole thing would be AFWSFWF, secret story, BTMS and imaginary day. in all cases, we really planned the record from the ground up as a particular thing that would address a pretty specific musical goal that we had in mind.