Every song and compostition has attached to it a place, a time, a moment, a feeling.
Happenings that were the inspiration and genesis for the music to birth itself through.
Here is a glimpse into the
Stories Behind The Music
Solo, improvisational cedar (Native American) flute
I've been playing cedar flutes for many years and have always enjoyed the simplicity of sound and the peacefulness it invokes. Opening the CD with the serene nature of the flute sets the tone for the rest of the CD to expand on.
of the Mother (1999)
Cedar flute with electro-acoustic arrangement. Exotic east indian percussion and lush, calming string section. Very melodic and detailed.
This was the first collaboration David Joyce and I did and it became the title track of the CD. David is an amazing talent and has toured with Natalie Cole, Burt Bacharach and others. I started improvising the main theme while I was thinking about a close friend who was moving to Kaui. I remember being close to tears, as David started adding chords. It was a moving experience. Knowing it was a keeper, we spent 6 months on and off, mostly off due to our schedules, slowly arranging the theme. I love the cello duet in the solo section.
Morning Wonder (1997)
A beautiful musical portrait that invokes the quietude of dawn. Great for relaxation and inner journeys.
This was an amazing afternoon. The three of had never played together before. Robert Meyers, a great composer and woodwinds player, was visiting from Hawaii We recorded live to a Tascam 1/2 in. 8-track.
We improvised three distinct pieces of music and just after the last note of the third piece the tape ran out and spooled off the reel.
Richard Rosing, songwriter producer extraordinaire and I listened down later and felt the magic. We proceeded to sweeten it up and add a few things, but basically the track is how we played it.
An electro-acoustic impression of Sedona, Arizona.
I love this piece. I wrote it when I got back from Sedona, Arizona. Red rocks, against blue skies, faces in the clouds, summer rains.
The percussion rhythm in this was played on a variety of Navaho clay pots that I bought during my visit.
I remember buying my first Kachina on this trip. It was a red tail hawk, the bringer of rain. The moment I signed the visa card receipt there was a loud thunder clap and the first summer shower poured from the sky.
The main melody of this piece appears in several of my compositions. Originally it was the vocal melody for a song called Carried Back To thee. But that's another story.
Ask me sometime about the feeding
frenzy, since my good friend that I was staying with was a restaurant
reviewer for Sedona.
A percolating weave of afro-cuban percussion with guitar and keyboard. Catchy, beautiful melody.
One of my all time favorites.
This started with me fooling around with my mbira or thumb piano. The one I had was made in South Africa. My idea was to create an interesting stereo percussion experience for the listener. When I added Tom Henry's hi-hat to the mix it all came together.
Josh Balbien I had met in college. Besides being a phenomenal technician on guitar, it's his tone that always blows me away.
At the time Phil Parlapiano, of Brother Figaro fame, and tours with Vanessa Williams, Grant Lee Buffalo, Rod Stewart, John Prine....get the picture, was the only I knew with a sampler. I just couldn't get my alto recorder in tune with the track, so I had him sample it and play the melody on keyboard. aaah, the wonders of technology.
in Durabai (1997)
Great for relaxation and inner journeys. A nature documentary style sound bed with very interesting elements.
From the same magical Powers/Rosing/Meyers session as Early Morning Wonder.
I had this crazy scene come to mind when we were mixing this. Some ancient future rainforest jungle where the pygmies are watching dragons fly across the river.
Listen and you'll here them!
A light, lilting duet for guitar and cedar flute.
Toliloquay are the little people, the fairies and earth spirits. It is a word, I was told, is from the Lakota language. Watch out for your small shiny things. I hear they like to take them.
Guitarist Greg Hurley and I have been collaborating on a project called Sirius Bliss for quite a few years. Primarily writing songs with an old Genesis kind of feel but not as bombastic. This completely out of character instrumental just came through the ethers. I like the happy feel of it.
Cedar flute and chamber orchestra conjures up the whispers on the wind. Cinematic in scope and feel.
I've always wanted to write a piece for cedar flute and orchestra. My original idea was a concerto, however, that was dreaming a little large.
This piece captured perfectly what I had intended and once again, David Joyce (see notes under Heart of the Mother), did some great arrangements to tell the story of the Wind Dreamer. I would love to record this with orchestral instruments sometime.
This took us a few months to finish. I was very persnickety about the guitar parts. Originally we used a sampled guitar but later we brought in Joshua Balbien to add more intimacy to the track.
of Fantasy (1989)
East meets West in this colorful improvisational mix of cultures. Tabla, acoustic guitar, sax, acoustic bass, keyboards and percussion.
This was an interesting process. Though it was improvised, each player came to the studio separately to lay down their tracks.
I then mixed the palate to shape the form of the piece.
Also, what's unique is the tabla player
had just bought the drums (he was a kit player0, the saxophonist was a
keyboard player who also just got that instrument and the stand up bass
player was an electric bassist.
All in all it was a worthwhile experiment, loose feeling but thematically composed.
Guru Ma (1996)
Some have called my style Shiva Jazz. East meets West on this sexy instrumental ballad with sitar, piano, drums, keyboards.
Jai Guru Ma celebrates the Divine feminine, the Great Mother that nurtures everything.
This is one of the pieces that is included in a video score I did for a Tantra (sacred sexuality) project.
Due to the schedule, or should I say, behind the schedule, of the post production, I had 1 week to compose 50 minutes of music.
Yes, sleepless nights and lots of sequencing. But I finished it with a great paycheck, good royalties and a few more gray hairs.
Beautiful melodies, exotic sounds. Evokes the oceanic womb.
Mmm... it's amazing how some of the most loving, beautiful music comes from the most painful times of our life. This was one of them.
I had recently separated from my soon
to be wife whom I shared a home with. I was living temporarily with a
friend and selling health insurance to make ends meet.
I really like the opening theme and the way the piece evolves. The middle section is a great place to hang out in.
As with many of my pieces, it would be fun to have acoustic instruments replace the keyboards.
Rose Eagle (1992)
A transcendental experience. An ambient journey that soars through the eyes of the eagle.
This was a total experiment as I explored the sonic edges of my plastic soprano recorder through a multi-effects processor.
Something about this particular piece really works for me. The ambient nature puts me in a really deep and axpanded space.
Definitely a glimpse into my mystic tendencies here.
Of Service (1990)
The stillness of the night, the song of the crickets, the silence that's inside. Here in this short, but beautiful cushion of sound.
This is an instrumental reprise of a song called Secret of Service from my album Archer and the Muse. Originally it was part of the song but then I split it up and made it it's separate track on the album.
Archer and the Muse is a folk rock collection I wrote in 1991 that was self released and my first and only vocal release to date. Funny, since voice is my first instrument.
All the songs were written in a three month period and have themes of love and social comment. I recorded them all in my bedroom on a Fostex 8-track and minimal gear.
The songs are fairly timeless and I would love to re-record the tracks at some point using live musicians. All but the vocals were sequenced, however the arrangements are some of my best ever.
This came out at the beginning of the LA coffee house scene and I regularly played many of these venues to great response.
Along The Watchtower (2002)
For fans of Eno, Mark Isham etc. this piece will surely take you into another dimension.
Cool Calcutta (2002)
Sexy grooves and muted horns permeate this, what friends have dubbed, Shiva Jazz.
Bali Dance The Navel (2002)
Minimalism has been a constant inspiration for me over the years. Not only Westerners like Steve Reich, Terri Riley, and Brian Eno, but indigenous tribal music for ritual and celebration; Balinese, Moroccan, Quwali, Tibetan, Native American etc.
This piece reflects the respect and gratitude I have for these influences.Well, I have discovered Sonic Foundry's Acid Pro and I am thrilled. The ergonomic way in which I can compose now is so transparent and the beautiful thing is it's very similar to the way I have always constructed my compositions, even in my analog days.
I used to record palletes of sound on the analog tracks and mix them in as needed. So rather than parts, per se, each track ran the full length of the song and was simply a color to add and subtract.
The loops available, especially the world music instrumentation, are performed with the same aesthetic I would play them and often performed by the very same musicians I would have hired for the part.