Finalizing the 12-String part for Vision Opening just before recording, Jan. 15/22. Photo by Daci.
2021 continued the strong momentum in composition from 2020, but with much more time for recording.
That’s because Carving in Shadows, the vision-quest album in progress, finally claimed priority this year, after over eight years in gestation. Writing resumed, and recording began in earnest.
Two classical pieces were also completed, along with the final, largest piece for the second duo album with Chris Russell, and a new synth piece for a special album release.
2021 saw the inauguration of my classical website. The two new classical pieces are Sandcat Lullaby (Flute, Viola, Harp) and The Pearl Divers (Oboe, Santoor, Double-Bass, Percussion). Both pieces were gifts: the Lullaby was requested years ago by my wife Daci and written in secret, just in time for her birthday, when I surprised her with both a printed score and a delightful Zoom performance (Jennifer Gosack Darwell, Flute; Colleen Kuraszek, Viola; Nichole Young-Luchs, Harp).
The Pearl Divers (like Two Promises before it) was a wedding gift; I especially like its swinging Oboe melody and ventilated Santoor groove, and hope to have a good performance video made someday.
Both of these pieces were begun in August 2020 and completed early in ’21.
Most of my parts for the album with Chris Russell were written and recorded in 2018-20, but one piece remained: the 27-minute Polar Vortex, which was written and recorded in early February. Chris created an amazing part for it, and I’m excited to hear the album’s remaining few pieces.
The only release for the year was technically on New Year’s Day ’22, but close enough: Visions of Old Souls was spontaneously conceived as a gift to listeners, with remixes of six deep-atmospheric pieces from the first four solo albums, along with a powerful new synth piece, A Million Suns.
Chicago photographer Jennifer New’s stunning photo directly inspired the title and perfectly captures the music’s serene mood.
Diana Smethurst of Radio Spiral featured the album on her program Around the Campfire on Jan. 12 (four tracks), and it’s also had airplay from One World Music (two tracks), with hopefully more to come from some other old friends…
The album is free until Jan. 31, so don’t miss it.
Carving in Shadows
Composition of this album has been a long, involved process, with most of the pieces needing months – or years – to be written. One piece (the closer, Emerge), which began as a live guitar improvisation, morphed into a through-composed multi-instrument chamber symphony. The first piece to be final-recorded was the opener, Haven, in July 2020. Both composition and recording moved ahead briskly in ’21 and are nearly complete.
The recording runs the gamut from live, single-take synth performances to major editing jobs, and will include some interesting surprises, especially from guest musicians.
In this connection, Big Gratitude to Jennifer Gosack Darwell, who has just beautifully recorded a Flute part for the ending of Vision Opening, an important moment in the journey.
I couldn’t wait to share some of the music, and so released an early preview clip. This also gives a teaser of Steve Roberts’ incredible photography, which is going to make for a wonderful album package. I will be pulling out all the stops to get a physical release, including approaching two major labels.
Big Thanks for your interest and support!