Once Thru

by Doug Theriault

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For this recording I wanted to compose live a Jazz-Rock concept album. Many musicians record an idea, then re-record another idea, and then edit those ideas over many hours into a workable song. Or they write music on a page and have other people play that idea. The concept for this record was for me to play all the instruments only one time through when overdubbing. And, if I screwed up, that would be a part of the piece where I would have to adjust my playing accordingly live. The goal was to be able to write a whole piece of music with all the instruments in ten minutes or less. This depended on the length of the first improvisation. Some of the pieces had me starting out on drums. I improvised this track one time through. Then, I would overdub another track one time through and so on. Sometimes I would improvise an idea with the guitar or bass. The requirement would be to never re-record any part of the overdubs.
As an improviser the job is to create a piece of music right then and there on the spot. I’ve been working this way for 23 years almost exclusively. My background is in Jazz, Rock and Classical music. Then, from here, I have been very interested in Free Improvisation, Electronic music and Noise. I wanted to use Free Improvisation techniques but use them in not extending the language of the guitar, but moreover put those techniques (listening, etc.) into regular technique and music composition. Ten years ago, I played a free improvisation piece for my childhood guitar instructor. He said, “You have thrown away everything I’ve taught you.” This really was not the case at all. Instead, I took my knowledge of regular playing technique and expanded this technique to create a music language that was all my own. I have been creating different music languages for the guitar for many years. For this recording I wanted to try and write a instrumental Jazz and Rock piece one time through, like a Free Improvisation but using traditional music forms and playing all the instruments myself.

Whether or not if I was successful wasn’t the point. The point was and is to create a piece of music that is in my imagination.


released March 16, 2017

Doug Theriault: All instruments and automatic compositions



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Doug Theriault Portland, Oregon


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