“No End” was recorded at Cavelight, Keith Jarrett’s home studio, in 1986. In his liner notes he describes the setting:
“The Studio: Cables and cords everywhere. A drum set in the corner. Tablas and percussion, instruments of all kinds strewn around the room. A beautiful deep red Gibson solid-body on a vertical stand alongside a blond wood classic Fender bass in its stand, both in front of the same blond wood chair which was directly opposite the drums. The tablas were on my American Steinway. Microphone stands were in front of the guitars, holding (to the best of my knowledge) a Neumann stereo microphone, and I believe another identical microphone was on a boom over the tablas. All the other percussion was played using the room as the guide as to where to stand or how loud to play, though I had to do many tests to achieve some intuition about this. My studio is very small, so I didn't move the drum set at all, or the microphone while playing the drums.
In the control room were two Tandberg cassette recorders which were used exclusively for this project; so I would record something first, then overdub, using headphones as a guide to the volume or position I needed to use, then overdub (with headphones, always) again, each time transforming the new information to the ‘other’ machine. Then I would put the newly recorded tape in the first machine, start them both, and run into the studio to overdub or start the next piece. Not a single machine breakdown occurred despite the fact that no one was in the control room monitoring anything.
There was really, to my knowledge, no forethought or ‘composition’ (in the typical sense) going on; just a feeling or a rhythmic idea or a bass line concept or melody. But none of this was written down. Beginnings and endings were either hit-or-miss or just plain astoundingly intuitive.
I used a small mixing board and a little reverb to send the sound out to the headphones and simultaneously onto tape. I honestly can't remember a hell of a lot about the details, but somehow something happened during these days in the 80's that won't ever be repeated. I had wanted to record on drums most of my life, and when I got the tape out recently, I thought I'd better run with it.
[...] Drums were always with me in some way. [...] I have always been drawn to instruments that you touch directly, without a mechanism in between. Therefore, I cannot say I have ever loved the piano as much as the drums or the guitar. And, though I have a reputation for being in the acoustic world, I have always loved electric guitar.”