"As Is Where Is"
In January of 2004, I began a downtempo music/CD project. My intention was to compose music that was original sounding. I was finding that much of the downtempo/electronica music was starting to sound the same. One of the elements I wanted to bring to this project were talented musicians. At various times I invited some great players to come to my home studio to record for this project. One of the musicians on this project was Blake Angelos, who is a very talented piano player and also the west coast Yamaha keyboard rep. His parts and solo work were vital to this production - check out Smidlley’s Cure. Playing guitar on several tracks is the talented Christopher Woitach who lives Portland Oregon and performs all over the northwest. His guitar parts are amazingly exquisite. My favorite part of his is on That Blue Sky - it is a cool guitar line. I am very honored to have Havilah as the featured vocalist on this project. Her voice fits this musical style well. Havilah has self released several of her own albums. I could not have done this project without Paul Chandler. He is a very talented jazz trumpeter, bassist and arranger/mix engineer who’s input was vital. This group of musicians is available for performance, however we have not pursued that direction as of yet.
The music on this CD is a bit eclectic. It represents my years of listening to many different kinds of music. I’ve always been one to not really conform to any one style. My intention was to come up with something that was original sounding, something that had its own voice.
Step Off The Ground is probably the most dance groove tune on the CD. Lyrically it is about just letting go of fears and going for it. Musically, it’s unique with its layered synth arpeggios creating poly rhythmic textures. Havilah’s bluesy vocal comes through well on this.
It Just Is is a combination of musical styles. It’s got that ethereal groove tied in with drum and bass with Havilah’s soaring voice riding on top.
Come Into The Circle is a groove tune. I played around with textures, drum grooves, and atmospheres.
One And Only could be considered a jazzier tune. It was a concern of mine to not have it sound like a smooth jazz tune. The main line many have asked what that sound is. It is three saxophones, tenor, alto and soprano with a bit of processing.
In For A Ride may be my most pop sounding tune on the CD. It has gone through many arrangements to come to this one. I definitely spent some time editing and rearranging this. There were considerable more lyrics originally, but it kept sounding too much like a song. So I settled with this arrangement. Basically it’s about going down deep into ones self and just feeling it and riding it.
In The Field is another instrumental groove tune. It winds in and out of textures and simple melodies.
That Blue Sky is one of my favorites. I had recorded this voice-over for a session I did for Micromedia Films. It was originally a poem for a film that Micromedia was producing. They used my studio for the voice over. The beautiful voice belongs to Tanya Asmundson. She is the wife of Bellingham’s Mayor Mark Asmundson. I never get tired of listening to Christopher Woitach’s guitar on this.
Smidley’s Cure is a jazzy groove tune featuring Blake Angelos. He came over to my studio with his Yamaha Motif and laid down several tracks over this groove. What was two hours of him playing turned into months of editing his solos. Again, like One And Only, I did not want to make this sound like some smooth jazz tune. Most of the time I was not planning on including it on this project, however I really wanted it to part of it.
The Dark Whole Of Light was for the longest time an instrumental tune. Then I decided to put a vocal on it. This song is about going to sleep and waking to the light in one’s dreams. It needs to be noted here that all vocal songs with Havilah, we worked on the lyrical content together. I basically hired her to write and then she’d bring it in and we would edit together. Then I would record her, and then re-edit. On all her songs we did not follow a prescribed lyric form. Lyrics were created after the music groove had been established.
The Knower is my most techno sounding piece. It has many different sounding textures and parts. It’s got a dark mysterious sound.
On Course is my contribution to the ambient genre. It is quite hypnotic. I wanted something to end the CD that would chill the listener. I used the Access Virus plug-in software on my TC Powercore system recorded into Ableton Live’s session window then pieced it together. There are some cool subtleties to this piece.