Fragments of What was recorded and mixed from October 2001 to July 2003 at The Surface in Oakland, CA. Most of the recording originated on the Yamaha AW4416 digital audio workstation. Some material was recorded directly to portable DAT and later transferred. Some tracks were recorded in ACID. A few tracks were culled from old ADAT tapes. This recording was mastered in HDCD (high definition compatible digital).
My approach on this recording was intuitive and open-ended. At the outset, I had no prearranged collection of music. I had one or two song ideas in mind, and just started recording. Everything that followed seemed to fit.
After recording almost entirely with Trance Lucid for six or seven years, I had numerous ideas/forms/sounds that I was eager to explore within a non-band framework. I have been fascinated by guitar synthesis for several years, and I find it to hold an enormous amount of creative and expressive potential. Fragments of What is the first project on which I have been able able to use the guitar synthesizer in an ample fashion. To me, the guitar synthesizer is useful for much more than merely playing traditional keyboard sounds via the guitar. I have found that by exploring radically different sounds and adjusting the playing technique as necessary, the guitar synthesizer sometimes reinvents itself as a completely new instrument.
That is to say, to get what you want out of the guitar synthesizer, your approach must sometimes change, as if you were playing a completely new instrument. Rarely can you get away with playing it just as you would a guitar. It seems that the ear can be fooled for about five seconds hearing a trumpet or a piano sound, before the nuances of touch and phrasing reveal the guitar controlling it. It usually takes a fair measure of attention to touch and phrasing, and sometimes a modification of playing technique, before the “new instrument” can become a unique channel of expression.
Other synthesizers used on this project were a Waldorf Micro Q (rack module), a Kawai D-65, and a Casio CA-110. Real and programmed percussion and drums were used in varying degrees. Loops were created using ACID or the drum machine, with SoundForge for sonic refinements. The guitars used were a Kramer XKG-10 in altered tuning, a US Masters Vector Versatek and an Electra Westone Dynasty (XV-2), sometimes in standard tuning, but often not. A Yamaha AEX500N was used on several songs. The primary amplifier was a MosValve 962 through a Marshall 2 x 12 cabinet (1922) mic'd with a Shure SM57. A Roland JC-77 was used sparingly. The guitars were also sometimes recorded direct. Other equipment used extensively: Digitech GSP-2101, Antares AMM-1, PreSonus MP-20, Tech 21 SansAmp.