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Once upon a time (and that was the end of spring in 1977), we had the possibility to use a better recording equipment. We did recording sessions. But one of them, happening in the night of April the 28th, was special - we played more than four hours without stopping. It was recorded on three tapes we proudly marked "Triple Live 1, 2 & 3". We listened to them and played them to our friends and somehow the tapes drifted apart.
When the project with Thomas´ Kalemegdan Disk started, we only had "Triple Live Nr. 1". It didn´t really contain anything valuable for our present purposes. After our part of work on KD1 and KD2 was completed, Drakula´s ex-girl-friend and my long-time friend Ljiljana announced that she "just now" remembered having one of our tapes marked as "Triple Live Nr. 3". Wow, all of a sudden we had almost 90 minutes of "new" music, powerful music that could be arranged in several ways to form the spine of an interesting LP. So we put it together, combining it with some material from another similar session, held on the 28th - 29th of June 1977 with the same recording equipment. (We hope to present more of the material from "Triple Live", especially if we manage to get hold of "Triple Live Nr. 2" - but that story will be told in "The Further Incredible Adventures of The Second Missing Tape").
Why do we call it "Live", although it was only four of us playing at Joshua´s attic? Because we played "throwing in all our feelings and abilities without stopping for anything (like occasional intrusions from radio-amateurs)", ´cause "the show must go on" and you can´t stop in the middle of the gig and ask the people to wait half an hour while we revive the whole thing. Each "number" somehow "developed itself" to serve as a lounching site for the next one. That´s also the idea we tried to apply at our gigs - using sound with the help of lights, slides, etc., but primarily SOUND ITSELF to create a path that leads you thru ever changing, expanding vistas, discovering new and hopefully surprising ones. And we did have an audience - four of us were a very willing and grateful audience, in fact, the best there can be! The second part of the audience were powers above, below, around and inside us, who "lent us an ear", because we were occasionally "allowed" to reach the beyond (to "look over yonder", as Jimi used to say), to bring forth something new and beautiful and to add to the diversity of the world at least a little bit. Anyway, as time went by, we used those tapes as a kind of "open mine-field" (for example: the very first version of "Lyzzard Square" was played in that night).
After all drives (from drive-in to deepest inner drives) were put together, the general feeling was that we had something potentially very powerful - but something was missing. And we were very much driven to do something about it (I could not resist this sentence). Obviously, the first thing was a lack of guitar in "Warriors" (it doesn´t mean that Joshua didn´t play anything - he "played" sound-treating machines). So the formula became obvious: a track without guitar + Joshua + guitar = overdubbing. Overdubs are, generally, alien to our idea of creating music and that´s why we did it - it was new and we wanted to "meet the alien", to try a new angle (although to the one in Yugoslavia who´s writing these lines now - spring of ´92 - it seems easier to meet alien than human).
The idea was not to make overdubs in a usual way - not to play over or along these tapes - but to see if we could play with those guys, who created (what now became) "the basic track" more than ten years ago, to partake in their act of creation and to do it in the same way they did. The fact that we were those guys who did help, I must admit, but now WE are different and more than THEM (also less than them somehow).
Preparations: No rehearsals, but playing with the complete tapes - to get the hang of their general mood, its changes, twists, ins and outs. There were no arrangements in a common way, no putting numbers apart in segments and parts.
As synchronicity would have it, the person who offered us a suitable studio, Zoran "Voodoo", was an excellent musician with a different taste but similar approach. Suddenly we felt the need (or were we driven?) to add a new, strong spice to the "Drives". And the spice was Voodoo. He liked the idea and approach (especially the idea of throwing everybody out including the owner while we play). The original idea was to make just a few touch-ups - but you never know when you play around with voodoo magic - do you? Instructions to him were not in musical terms but in terms of feelings and psychological effects we wanted to achieve.
And so "Drives" became a new project: AN EXPERIMENT IN TIME TRAVELING.
Rules for everybody:
1. Avoid multi-track-layering, paste-ups and other studio gimmicks - but play "live" (as mentioned before) recording directly with the "basic track" on a two-channel tape - just the way THEY did.
2. Try to record the first attempt. Prepare as long as necessary, then just do it - no thinking.
3. Do only things THEY would approve.
So now we communicated ... I could talk about the reversible arrow of time, properties of hyperspace, tachion-beam emissions, multiple astral projections, shadow-selves, etc. ... but the only important fact is that I really enjoyed playing with "The other Pedja", he cooperated excellently, especially on "Crazee-Lazee". I could literally hear his merriment. So I had the privilege of playing with myself twice: once in the past now, once in the present now (there is only the "eternal now" anyway). The same goes for Joshua, and Voodoo was surprised how well THEY cooperated with him.
Rules are meant to be broken. "Return ...", the last part of "Drives" and "Crazee-Lazee" were recorded the way we planned. (Well, not exactly ... the piano on "Crazee-Lazee" was later recorded in the same way.) But with "Warriors" we had problems. The number was very long and studio time is always short. One of the very few objects I hate is the studio clock! So we used a multi-track tape and recorded two layers of percussions, two layers of keyboards and one guitar, but each instrument was recorded in "one take" - all thirteen minutes of it. (For data-freaks: the guitar was recorded three times and we were "told" to use the second take.) I played percussions in my usual way. People say I play percussions in a strange way and produce strange rhythms. I don´t know about "strange" - that´s just the way I am. Anyway, I played by hands without sticks, but sounds were selected and treated in such a way to take over the full function of the drums, wherever it was necessary. Voodoo added his really strange playing (we wouldn´t settle for anything else) and good ideas (using koto-like sounds instead of the suggested bell). Joshua did his thing - he used the guitar as a sound-producing device, making unexpected sounds not limited by the electric guitar as such. Electric guitar appears here only as a physical manifestation on the reality-plane, as a mean to translate sound created by soul, heart, Ka, Atman, whatever ... into vibrations of electrons and finally into a wave-front of air molecules! Zoran helped putting it all together and that´s it.
Some of you will recognize "Return ...", but this is not just "Return to Lyzzard Square", it will "return" you to other places as well ... just let it do it.
The "Drives" painting was produced in a "Method Approach", without sketches or extensive planning of a composition. I let it grow in my mind and then just repeated the growing process on paper. I have the pleasure to present on the back side one of my older paintings "just touched up". It´s approximately from the same period as the original tapes and it really wasn´t difficult to fit it into the "Drives" concept. And not to forget - kisses from New York, from Drakula. He plays and sings hard, but bites gently.
We like these drives, we enjoy being driven by them ... Hope you do, too. Have fun, take care and explore, explore everything.
Written 1992 by Predrag Vuković, overworked by Vesna Jakovljević.
Published 1994 as insert of the Kalemegdan Disk LP KD 003 Igra Staklenih Perli: Drives.