© 2002 Warner Bros Records. Text © Drew Hird. Albums

 
Zaireeka

4CD set for simultaneous play

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Some Zaireeka starting points

Okay, so you've gone out and bought Zaireeka. Now what? Do you have four CD players? Do you have four hands? Can you decide which disc to put in which stereo? Can you get it to run smoothly?

The answers to these questions probably aren't all yes - a lot of people have certainly written and asked things along these lines. If it's the case that you're wondering about which way to go, then what follows might help you to progress but remember one thing - the whole point of the multiple sound source idea is to allow you to become involved and be an interactive decision making part of the entertainment. It's up to you - don't do the same thing all the time, experiment on your own terms and see what happens! These notes are just some of my (Drew's) ideas to help people get started or to keep a gathering running smoothly if you're involving the unconverted....... once you've tried a few, then just do everything you think of - even if it seems like a bad idea, you may be suprised and thrilled by the results!

The question everyone asks about Zaireeka at some point is about getting your cd players synched up. Well, don't be afraid - you just have to learn a little about how well your players start. A simple count in (eg "One, two, three, go!") should suffice if all your CD players start instantaneously from pause play (see liner notes for further instructions). However, if you (like me) have a particular CD player that needs a few seconds to think about it (even from pause) then obviously you need to get some delays going on there. So, what you could do is figure out where your slowest starter compares to the middle starter and how the fastest starter compares to the middle starter. Then adjust where you start each one on the count - still aiming for all the players to start around the time (or fractionally after) you say go. Try it out a few times, and the you should be able to get it right every time you start a track. The sound of all the players seeming like one voice for the start of track announcements is most satisfying and when you have to check they all started, you know you've synched it so well to sound great - the next variable comes from how closely the players run in time with each other (which will have a lot to do with heat, so assume nothing from one session to the next!). If they go well, you might not have to restart if for each track - judge that on how close to one voice the announcements sound at the start of each track. Of course, you might want to stop it all anyway and go for a different track, or go for a different disc combination.....

So, the other regular thing that comes up is about the number of CD players. I can tell you this - you can play CD one and get a great set of tunes, for the most part. Perhaps Track 2 and Track 6 lose a bit too much, but it's still quite great. If you've two or three CD players, then you'll be wondering which disc(s) to leave out. Well, the obvious answer is to try all six combinations with the two cds, or all four combinations with three cds. But if you want some thoughts about where to begin then, for the easiest and most song based listen try CDs one and three - you'll get almost all the vocals except 'Future Crashendos' which will sound completely ethereal without the vocal from CD two. Similarly, for three players, try one, three and four to give the same result with slightly more substance to the air around you! You could also try CDs one, two and three for a similar result and get all the vocals I think. I actually like 'Future Crashendos' without the main song part but if you want that bit, then just fool around with any combination containing CD two. So, that's the safe way - next it's time to start deliberately choosing the CDs to eliminate the vocals or certain melodies and then see what strange soundscapes you end up with. Believe me, it's worth spending a few hours at that!

So, that's all isn't it? Well, no - we forgot something: how do the stereos compare to each other for sound quality and what controls do you have on each stereo? Volume, tone, equalization, pan, and more in some cases. You've got multiple sound sources and they'll create a different mould according to what cd you allocate to what source and what you do to the variables for that sound source. If you're going for an easy listen, then CDs one and three are probably the ones to put in your best stereos, with the controls set for normal listening. If you want to explore the horizons of the sound offered to you, then try anything else that comes to mind! Set the controls for no bass, lots of bass, or saturate the treble and the bass... turn it right up or right down, put the main part CD in the trashiest CD player and the texture sounds in the expensive seperates hi-fi on low volume... put your speakers along two walls, surround youself with speakers in pairs, put each left speaker together and each right together, stack speakers on top of each other from all over - get random or WHATEVER! This is a multiple sound source experimentation kit waiting for you to have fun. You have huge potential to alter the shape of the great music in that four CD box. (personal hint: try playing all the CDs except number three... but put CD one in a real trashy stereo and the other two in good machines - spacious sound will ensue... well, I like it anyway!)

Of course, if you're feeling really adventurous, you could then take it all to an extreme and deliberately start the CDs at intervals to see what happens... I haven't tried that one myself yet but it might yield some interesting results. As you can see, the possiblities with Zaireeka are many - you could listen to it a hundred times and make it specifically different each time. Besides which, each listening experience is likely to be unique due to speed variations on the cd players! Whatever you do, remember this - with Zaireeka, YOU are in charge! Find your own way through new sound experiences with the experimentation kit you've got at your disposal... and if anyone offers you a single CD of Zaireeka mixed down from it's four parts, remember to laugh in their face.

 

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