RPM jam session: Making music (and a racket) for fun
Musicians in this year's CBC-sponsored Record Production Month (RPM) Challenge have an extra day to finish their albums, since the leap year adds a 29th day to the annual event that is usually 28 days long.
A mix of musicians and instruments were at the Rocket Bakery in downtown St. John's Sunday, taking advantage of this extra day and turning a jam into an RPM album.
Elling Lien's organization UNpossible NL spearheaded this jam session, as well as organizing the RPM Challenge in Newfoundland and Labrador.
"It's to give people a chance to participate in an album, even if they have a short amount of time," said Lien.
"We're just going to take a few toys and make noise for 35 minutes and record that, and we'll call it an album and we'll call it a day."
For seven-year-old Wish Hehir, being part of this music-making session makes him a little nervous.
He brought his accordion but said he hasn't been practicing and would rather play the magnetic noisemakers that he called "little bits."
"I did not even know that we were going … I'm not even gonna play my accordion, I'm gonna play that," he said.
"They're little bits — you put them together with magnets and they can do something."
'It's kind of magical'
Lien said some people just don't have enough time to put together an album in one month and this jam "is just fun" and "a great family thing to do".
While the final product, he said, won't be the same as the average submission, "it's kind of magical."
"It's sometimes really hard to listen to … but then sometimes it's kind of magical because everybody is making noise," Lien told CBC.
"There are moments where it seems to almost come together, things kind of build and then they fall away, that's just the nature of improvisation but here, with a whole group of people who knows what's going to happen."
Since 2008, the annual album-making competition has seen tremendous growth resulting in over 650 new, original albums produced in Newfoundland and Labrador, making it one of the biggest hubs for the annual, international RPM challenge.
Lien said the challenge this year has been going very well and he's looking forward to hearing this year's albums.
"It's hard to know how many people are going to submit albums at the end because so much work actually goes in to the last couple of days and some people are on the fence even at the last minute and record an album in a day," Lien said.
"There's a lot of good things that you're going to be able to listen to at the end of this month … we'll be able to take this model of RPM challenge and use it to do other things, to encourage people to take part in the arts in other forms."
Ted Blades, with CBC Radio's On The Go, will host a live radio show at the RPM finish line at Rocket Bakery on Tuesday, starting at 4 p.m.
All the albums will be posted online next month.