These have been strange times in so many ways, and remain so, between racism, social inequities, climate change, the pandemic...but we are also the beneficiaries of light that illuminates and catalyzes our existence. Light and its metaphors are inherently egalitarian; the light that “wraps me” also “wraps all things”. We’re all in it together, and it shines on us without individual regard. The human collective can come to terms with this, and get along, or the light will innocently and beneficently continue to shine on our collective disappearance. How well the music in “The Light That Wraps Me and All Things” reflects this is up to you.
This music owes so much to Adam Holzman, who once again reminds us that he matches the creativity, technique, nuance, grace, and personality that he has on electric instruments on the acoustic piano. This is as much our piece as my piece; Adam, I thank you from the bottom of my heart.
Mastered at Abbey Road Studios by Sean Magee.
The title is from "Song of the Open Road" by Walt Whitman.
"The Vanished Day” grew out of thinking about how the traumas of the past year have felt: pandemic, the lack of racial and social justice, climate change, authoritarianism, economic inequities… I have found the totality of it unsettling if not overwhelming. The impossibility of grasping it all in social, emotional, or intellectual terms, led to this track. The piece is a six-part suite, building from ideas born in the great electronic music studios of the 50s - 70s, and integrating more contemporary influences. The electronic sounds were created with Eurorack & Aries modular systems, with the addition of musique concretè, voice, and hand percussion. Among all the various genres of music I've worked in, it is this pre-MIDI approach to composing electronic music that I began with in the mid 70s. It has been an element of everything I have composed since. Being personally involved in the modular synthesizer revival that started in the early 2000s has been fascinating. It continues to grow to this day, and I’m looking forward to it. Mastered at Abbey Road Studios by Sean Magee.
"Music that evokes falling into and out of dreams, things half remembered, sounds that find their way to long buried emotions, now familiar, now novel, now enchanting, now frightening. It is such a pleasure to hear music that is not driven along by a beat but just makes its own time. To make this music requires a good ear, a good imagination and a mastery of the technological resources so that they serve the music and not the other way around"
- Ronald Perera, composer
I did a series of pieces based on some of my various influences, with a focus on American roots music, a change from the more electronic oriented music I have been working on since the 70’s. The tracks were written and recorded for a few reasons, one being that this was music I loved but could not write or play when I was younger. I just didn’t have the chops or experience to write or play tight band/ensemble oriented music. Those pieces were initially not done for release (one of them eventually became “Canon of Flowers” on the album “Radio Omnibus”). The experiments led to my desire to do a driving blues/rock style track, “Moving On”. This virtual band won't be doing any live gigs, but hope you enjoy listening! Recorded and mixed at my studio and in NYC. Mixed by Gordon Davidson and mastered by Sean Magee at Abbey Road Studios in London.
After "She Looked Back", I wanted to do another track in collaboration with Adam Holzman. "Miles to Go" is jazz fusion with an EDM influence mixed in. The title can refer either to the state of the world, or to Miles Davis. The period from Bitches Brew through the 70's featured a lot of music that sounded to me at the time like a kind of mysterious, spacey jazz funk (Miles, Herbie Hancock, Eddie Henderson, and many, many more amazing artists). At the time I couldn’t write or play at that level, but I always wanted to do my own tribute to the sound. I'm still not at that level; consider "Miles to Go" as an impressionistic look. The riffs and sketches led to a chart, I recorded my parts, and gave it to Adam to work on. He did his magic, I re-wrote a few of my parts to fit & flow better, and then mixed. Recorded and mixed at my studio and recorded at Adam’s Secret Laboratory in NYC. Mastered at Abbey Road Studios by Sean Magee.
Since finishing the pieces from my recent EP, I have been working on a new piece, somewhat outside of my comfort zone. It started as rough sketches and a chord chart, but I was stuck at further production attempts. I tried a few iterations, all unsatisfying. I ran the piece by a musician friend who suggested looking outside the box. After further dialog, the composition evolved into a Latin-influenced jazz fusion arrangement. So, here is “She Looked Back”. It’s a collaboration between myself and Adam Holzman (Miles Davis, Steven Wilson), and features a couple of other players who requested anonymity (their call).
It was recorded in my studio and Adam’s Secret Laboratory NYC. Mastered at Abbey Road Studios by Sean Magee.
We often bring the outside inside, on more than one level. While we are isolated inside, bringing an outdoors sensibility indoors can help. In music, outside playing describes an approach of playing over a scale, mode or chord that is harmonically distant from underlying harmony, while inside playing is harmonically close. Often, the phrase "you can't really play outside until you learn how to play inside" is used. I tend to agree, to a point, but I also see great value in bringing some outside playing into inside playing, as a way of freeing it up. Human beings are constantly receiving the outside stimuli of the world we live in, and trying to process it all in our heads, sometimes for better and sometimes for worse.
Recorded and mixed by MW Gilbert at Siri's Little Corner studio in Amherst, MA. Mastered at Abbey Road Studios by Sean Magee.