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Released 2011, my fourth album takes a different direction than all his previous efforts. You want old school jazz? This ain’t it. This EP-length eclectic jazz collection explores music written in or for an earlier time but re-imagined for the 21st century. Surprises abound, so sit back, relax, and enjoy the cool jazz stylings featuring electric wind instrument.
Liner Notes/Technical Details
- Prelude in C Minor – Quintet
- Prelude in C Minor – Improv
- Etude Op.1 No. 4
- The Visitor From Afar
This is a re-imagining of French composer Erik Satie’s Gymnopédies. Originally composed as three separate pieces, they have been combined here into a single arrangement. While I have stayed true to Satie’s melody and harmonies, I have completely ignored the usual performance notes: “lent de douloureux”, “lent de triste”, and “lent et grave”. I don’t know much about the French I took, but one Internet translation web site describes them as “slow painful”, “of the sad slow”, and “slow and serious”. Hopefully, listening to this rendition will not be a painful, sad, or serious exercise. 🙂
From a technical side of things, I’ve delved farther into electronica than usual. The drums and percussion are mostly “modeled” elements from the Kong drum designer in Propellerhead Reason. The bass is a synth bass programmed from the Subtractor synth. The rest of the backing instruments are all from Sonic Reality refills for Reason.There are 5 EWI leads. In order of appearance, they are, Michael Lead” from Patchman’s internal soundbank, “Glassy” from the Cyclone Refill, Bass Clarinet” from Patchman, “EWI Electric Flute” from Bernie Kenerson’s EWI Thor Refill Vol. 1, and finally “EWI Arp2600 Lead” from Bernie’s “EWI 80 Combinators Refill”.
As I said above, I kept the original melody notes and chord progression (except for key changes and the last 4 measures of #2 – what was Satie thinking there?), but completely changed the feel and rhythm. Also I added my own modal outro just so I would have *something* to add to the party.
This is J.S. Bach’s Bourrée in E minor (BWV 996), a two-part lute piece arranged here for two EWI at the start and two recorders at the end with three quite different solo interpretations in between.
With the contrapuntal bass line using lots of 8th notes, I turned to Bob Norton’s Expanded Band-in-a-Box styles
to get fine control of the slash chords needed. So all the solo choruses were in “double time” although I have to admit I resorted to tracking more slowly in spots (all the way down to “normal time” for the 3rd solo) in order to get clean articulations in the EWI parts. I was able to play the EWI intro, the 2nd solo (distorted ‘guitar’), and the recorder ending in real time although all ‘wind’ parts were heavily “comped” due to the complexity of chord changes and speed of the piece. The EWI patches in order of appearance are: Patchman’s internal #52 ‘Arpy’
, (intro duet), Bernie Kenerson’s ‘EWI FM BiTonal Lead’ from his EWI Thor Refill Vol. 3
(first solo), Chris Vollstadt’s ‘PowerLead[fx]’ (second solo) and ‘Recorder[fx]’ (third solo) from his Cyclone Refill
. The ending chorus uses soprano and tenor recorders.
Prelude in C Minor – Quintet
Here is the first of two renditions of Frederic Chopin’s Prelude in C minor, Op.28, No 20. This EWI quintet recording follows the arrangement for brass quintet done by Vilmos Szkelyhidi
The only change I made from the source arrangement is the rhythm, opting for more of a swing or 12/8 feel than straight 4/4. The EWI instruments used (from top line to bottom) are: Patchman
Trumpet, Patchman Flugelhorn, “Trombosax” (Gary Zydek’s Airy Tenor), Patchman Bass Clarinet, and Akai’s Woodwind (with the octave key to mimic Chopin’s original doubled bass notes). The EWI tracks were recorded and mixed on the iPad
in the Meteor Multitrack Recorder
app. The Meteor mix was pulled into Propellerhead Record
Prelude in C Minor – Improv
This is the second of two of Frederic Chopin’s Prelude in C minor, Op.28, No 20. This uses the exact same chord progression as the original but all the lead parts are original.
Of course, I used Band in a Box
to help generate the parts for this arrangement. A total of 7 styles were combined across the two choruses of the original prelude with 4 bar intro/break/outros added. The leads are the same as used for the quintet except the Woodwind patch was not used. Overall the leads are more laid back with the mellower Flugelhorn taking the starring role instead of the brighter Trumpet. The EWI parts were again recorded in Meteor
on the iPad
, but this time, the tracks were imported dry into Reason/Record
for mixing/mastering alongside the backing tracks. Some highlights among the backing tracks instruments include Dan Dean Bass Collection
, Reason Drum Kits
, Sonic Reality World Percussion
, and Reason ElectroMechanical
Etude Op.1 No. 4
This is Etude in D minor by Franz Liszt, more formally known as Etude Op. 1 No. 4. If you search for this on youtube, you will mostly find a lot of 8-10 year old piano wunderkind playing at breakneck speed. Perhaps this appropriate as Liszt supposedly was only 14 when he composed it. But what if Liszt had come of age in 1960’s Jamaica instead of 1830’s Paris? Hmm, what then?
This etude mostly alternates between sections of arpeggiated harmony with more scalar passages focusing on diminished and melodic minor scales. It can be seen as two part harmony with basso continuo. My arrangement has kept this structure, just wrapping it all in a more laid back reggae feel. The two parts are EWI patches from Patchman
, #8 “Recorder” for the higher voice and #19 “Cello” for the lower voice. However, both parts have a 5-octave range (D3 to F7) so these parts cannot be considered emulative in nature, going far beyond their namesakes’ natural ranges.(By the way, I had originally titled this track “Franz Marley” due to the strong reggae influence, but I dropped back to the normal title when I couldn’t think of clever names for the other tracks. 😉 )
This 1887 work by French composer Gabriel Fauré is usually presented in a more, shall we say, “subdued” setting, but also holds up well to the swing-ish, funk-ish, and reggae-ish ‘milieu’ provided here. Bon appetit!
I originally found this piece in a recorder songbook where it was accompanied by very sparse piano. I kept the key change to Am of that book but arranged my own chord progression, harmony part, and solo sections. This production is all Reason/Record
. The “electric violin” melody sound comes from the ‘EWI Portamento Lead’ patch from Bernie Kenerson’s EWI Thor Refill
for Propellerhead Reason. The “trombonish” harmony part is the ‘EWI FM Horn’ patch from Bernie’s EWI Thor Refill Vol. 2 Refill. Some other highlights include Dan Dean’s
Hofner Violin Bass, drums from Reason Drum Kits
, and my own percussion programming for Reason’s Kong drum designer.
The Visitor From Afar
“Who is that ornately robed stranger? Does anyone know where he is from? He looks a bit strange, but he’s a very elegant dancer, don’t you think?” So read the program notes for Victor Eijkhout’s composition “The Visitor from Afar”, part of a larger neo-renaissance work called The Courtly Suite
. Originally written for “pentatonic instrument and two bass recorders”, it has been reinterpreted here for 3-part EWI and electronics.
This is my second project realized entirely on the Apple iPad 2
. While the first iPad project (the not-yet-officially-released Blip’s Blues
) was realized entirely in the NanoStudio
app featuring MIDI-controlled EWI patches, this project used the EWI’s internal synth recorded into the Meteor Multi Track Recorder
app with the backing instruments coming from NanoStudio. Mixing happened in both apps, but with NanoStudio exported to two tracks in Metor, and the final mix and mastering done in Meteor. For more details on this experience see here
. The EWI patches were Akai’s “Woodwind” for the lead and Patchman’s
“Bass Clarinet” for both harmonies (and a solo). To give a sense of “afar-ness”, the percussion kit was constructed from hits from sampleswap.org’s
“Arabian Percussion” folders. Also the main pad sound is my attempt at a “synth sitar” in NanoStudio’s Eden synth.
A special thank you to the following individuals for allowing me to use their work: