In the wake of the extremely short-lived E2 Musical Project, it occurred to me that the main problem was one of responsibility. A few people were supposed to be Tune Deities, and write the basic outlines for songs and then assign parts for other members of the project to record. Unfortunately, everyone seemed to be too busy to take on such a task. Everyone (presumably, since they did sign up for the project) wanted to submit their bit of musical ability to a greater cause and collectively create some neat little tunes, but no one could afford the time/energy to compose and assign parts and do all the managerial stuff. If anything like this is going to be done, I realized, it needs to much more anarchic.

And so, the idea came to me to combine the concept of the impromptu jam session with Everything2's Favorite Game, Eat poop you cat (if you've never played, be sure to read this, and perhaps play a few games before you continue reading). In Musical Eat Poop You Cat (henceforth "MEPYC"), each person would receive an mp3 of another participant playing a part on their instrument, and over the course of an hour or a day or a week, come up with an accompaniment part or a solo line to go over it, and then record it and send their mp3 on to the next person. Eventually, all the tracks get sent to someone with the appropriate music software to be mixed together. Sounds simple, eh? To avoid total cacophony, the following rules seem fairly necessary:

  • Whoever starts a game of MEPYC must first record a click track, and make sure they perform in time with it. This track gets sent to each participant, because we obviously can't have people playing at different tempos. Since you can only hear the recording of the previous player, without a click track each person would invariably play just a smidgen off-tempo with the last person, and the whole thing would sound terrible.
  • In the original game, at the end the phrases and pictures are read in the order they are created, and one can get a sense of the way each player interpreted hir predecessor's creation. It wouldn't make any sense to cut out all the pictures and look at them at the same time. Similarly, in MEPYC it would sound horrible to just stack a dozen very different tracks on top of each other, especially if key changes occassionally take place from one track to the next. So, after everyone who wants to play has recorded their track, they'll all be sent to someone to be mixed down, each track chopped up and put back together in as artistic a fashion as the mixer can muster. This means that the songs will be considerably longer than any individual's particular contribution, and that the way your track was lined up with the track you received when you recorded it may not be the way they're lined up in the end. If someone has storage space on the internet they're willing to donate, all the individual tracks can be posted for public access so anyone can create remixes.
  • After we've tried this out a few times, some kind of standard about the order in which different kinds of instruments (accompaniment/lead/vocal/percussion) should follow each other during the recording process may present themselves, but I really can't think of any optimum way of doing that now.
I've been wanting to do this for a while, but have only recently had the free time and motivation to put together some initial tracks. If you're interested, /msg me and we'll see if we can't get this idea off the ground.

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