Fo(u)r Hands Multimedia Project

Those of you who are long-time readers know that Tory is a pretty amazing musician. Out of his many projects, one of the most impressive has got to be Fo(u)r Hands.

Tory and Andrew Cote alternate tracks, each throwing down an improvised piano piece that’s done in a single take.

As of last week, there were just two Fo(u)r Hands albums. But now, we’re ready to unveil the third…with a twist.

Unlike the past two albums, Three was a multimedia project. As Tory and Andrew played, Cindal Lee Heart and yours truly used the emerging music as the inspiration for a 10-chapter short story. Writing nearly in real time with each track (with a few breaks for wine, pizza, and deep thinking), us gals put together the written equivalent of an improvised piano piece. Like the boys, we weren’t allowed to edit away sour notes…we were allowed to delete no more than five words back in each sentence, and other than a very light copyedit the next day, the story is virtually untouched from the night we wrote it.

Well, I say night…we actually got started on this project last Friday night around 11:30, and wrapped up around 4:30 AM. Suffice it to say, exhaustion, red wine, and potato chips were equally important muses as the piano itself.

Is it perfect? God, no. But this wasn’t about creating a perfect story. Rather, it was about trying to capture an imprint of one night’s creativity, without being trapped by revisions, self-doubt, or that little voice inside a writer’s head that says, “Oh no. We’re not putting that in.”

And I guess, at its heart, the written part of the project is ultimately about the interplay between composer and audience. As an artist, you are constantly creating new pieces, and always aware that not everyone who encounters your offerings will experience them in the same spirit in which they were created. I can listen to a piece of classical music, and let my mind wander to memories almost-forgotten, and have a very personal experience with that piece of music…but all the while, I am also thinking about the fact that my experience is probably nothing like what was going on in the mind of the composer at the time.

The story we wrote, in the end, isn’t the definitive companion piece to the music that Tory and Andrew created that night. It doesn’t encapsulate the minds of the composer, or any pre-agreed upon story (they were, in essence, composing blind, since they didn’t read the story until after the last track had been recorded.)  But the story does stem from a pure, reactionary place. We heard music. We tried to find the story in it. You alone, dear audience, must decide if the whole music/story thing speaks to you.

If you want to take a listen to what we’ve done, you can download the new Fo(u)r Hands album and a PDF of the finished story here. Tory’s also got a write-up on his site, and you can also hear the album there, download the PDF, and see pictures of the whole gang in action.

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