Hiya Steve, I was wondering where you stand versus your brother in the whole “seat of the pants” improvisation argument?The idea of hiring a studio full of musicians, only then to make it up as you go along – must surely be daunting, to say the least. In the continuum of Pop, I see a band like the Ramones , with their pared back simplicity and rawness at one end & the likes of David & his experimentation at the other. Where does Steve Jansen fit in?

Hi Noel. I assume you are referring to recording rather than live performance. I think there are levels of distinction when working with improvisational artists. Inviting a group of experimental musicians to improv together in the studio could be, (with digital recording), more a means of gathering a wealth of original samples to then manipulate into something representative of your own ideals, in other words plagiarising. If the improvisation were not tampered with in any way, and was a true ‘live performance’ recording rather than edited and manipulated then I would take no issue with it, but whether it’s any good or not is another matter. I prefer wrestling with composition without any hint of improv. To my mind this is much more daunting, particularly if you’re composing outside of more standard forms. In answer to your question I don’t believe this has anything to do with a sliding scale in ‘pop’. Perhaps each music genre has its own sliding scale of depth and ingenuity but they each serve a different purpose.

2 thoughts on “Hiya Steve, I was wondering where you stand versus your brother in the whole “seat of the pants” improvisation argument?The idea of hiring a studio full of musicians, only then to make it up as you go along – must surely be daunting, to say the least. In the continuum of Pop, I see a band like the Ramones , with their pared back simplicity and rawness at one end & the likes of David & his experimentation at the other. Where does Steve Jansen fit in?

  1. Are Manafon, There’s a Light, etc. plagiarism? I always thought they were more like collage. Were the musicians not told that that’s what might become of their contributions?

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