The Collectives project consisted of 50 hours of music on 50 CDs. I received a grant from the Cultural Affairs Division of the State of Florida and the National Endowment for the Arts to complete it.

Each CD was unique: only one existed, so when it was bought, that person was the only one with that music. Clips of some of the Collectives CDs were compiled for 2 CD releases: Collectives, Vol 1 and Collectives, Vol 2.

Each CD was named for the unique collective name for a specific animal. Every CD contained unique artwork, as well as an extensive multimedia section featuring a blog about every recording, outtakes, video and more.



And if I thought it had been done this way before, I probably wouldn’t have tried.

Releasing 50 hours of music at once is something I did in my younger days, when I didn’t care that you weren’t supposed to do that. I recorded on a minidisc, released them on tape, and sold them at live performances. I used these recordings to learn about my instrument, my looping devices, and how to structure an hour-long improvisation.

So why do it again?

Well, its been awhile, more than 10 years since I have attempted such a thing. I think the purpose was the same: to test the bounds of creativity, and to learn more about the equipment I use to make this music.

I will tell you this…I am no longer afraid to start pushing buttons during a performance.


But why Collectives? What do all these crazy names mean?

Honestly, I have always liked words. I like strange words you usually have to explain. I never thought ‘The Troubling of Goldfish’ should sound like goldfish, although I am surprised at how sometimes the names reflected parts of the recordings. Generally, the songs were recorded, and the names added later. I didn’t think the name or sound of an animal should steer me in a particular direction musically.

These new recordings were more labor-intensive, better quality, and more rewarding in the end.

When an artist uses up their stock ideas, what is left? I didn’t know, but I wanted to find out. It could be just reassembling those idea in a different order, or it could be some new ideas altogether. I worked really hard to not just change the order of my ideas. I did lots of research, learned new chords, scales, and all that music theory stuff all musicians should be drawing upon. I listened to a lot of different music, and forced myself to not play the same patterns I had been playing.

In the creative visual art world, the artist isn’t as concerned for ‘making it big’. There is much creativity, and, with the end expectation level lowered, they dream up wild ideas and regularly make them a reality.

In the music world, we have access to more people. Sadly, more people can ‘get’ music before they understand visual art. However, the expectation level is high, and we musicians are constantly compared to our peers, and usually are asked ‘Do you sound like anything I have heard before?’.

Being a musician, I really dislike being in this situation. If I stay true to myself and play what I like, I risk a life of obtuse obscurity. If I play what they want me to play, I get the love, the chicks, the money. I have jumped between both worlds, and I have to say, I’d rather keep my soul.

Playing improvised music that has really no base in modern rock, blues or jazz (but is certainly modern, being that it couldn’t have been made 15 years ago) presents many challenges to this musician. Describing what I do is hard enough, much less finding a venue for it. But I’ve always had hope.

I know there is a huge gap between ‘rock star’ and ‘lazy musician’ and I am determined to live between that world of fake opulence and drama-laden despair. Outlets for all types of music are out there, it just takes a little more digging to find them.

Guitarists, especially, tend to play in patterns. They might move the patterns up and down the neck, but they are the same. I find myself doing this all the time. This leads to boredom, and a really unsatisfying creative life.

And in the end? I have to say I feel like a better musician after all of this. I also made a terrible racket, and had a lot of fun.

– Dave
Monday, Oct 9, 2006


List of Collectives CDs

1. The Troubling of Goldfish
2. A Lovliness of Ladybugs
3. An Array of Hedgehogs
4. The Exaltation of Larks
5. A Kettle of Hawks
6. A Cete of Badgers
7. The Seige of Herons
8. A Blessing of Unicorns
9. A Convocation of Eagles
10. A Quiver of Cobras
11. The Deceit of Lapwings
12. The Flamboyance of Flamingoes
13. The Business of Ferrets
14. A Rookery of Seals
15. A Cowardice of Curs
16. The Wisdom of Owls
17. A Smack of Jellyfish
18. A Confusion of Weasels
19. The Richness of Martens
20. The Sloth of Bears
21. The Unkindness of Ravens
22. A Mob of Emus
23. A Raft of Otters
24. A Mutation of Thrushes
25. The Shiver of Sharks
26. The Mustering of Storks
27. A Leash of Greyhounds
28. The Labour of Moles
29. The Scurry of Squirrels
30. The Pitying of Turtle Doves
31. A Prickle of Porcupines
32. A Flutter of Butterflies
33. A Pounce of Cats
34. The Cry of Hounds
35. A Brace of Quail
36. The Pladge of Wasps
37. A Bale of Turtles
38. A Grist of Bees
39. The Charm of Goldfinches
40. The Scold of Jays
41. A Gulp of Magpies
42. The Skulk of Foxes
43. A Steam of Minnows
44. A Pandemonium of Parrots
45. The Obstinancy of Buffalo
46. The Paddling of Ducks
47. The Rhumba of Rattlesnakes
48. The Lamentation of Swans
49. A Battery of Barracudas
50. A Husk of Hares