In 2004, after over a decade of self-imposed musical retirement, I stepped back into the waters of laying the musical imagery in my mind onto a recordable medium. At that time, new and inexpensive digital recording software was coming on the market, and this allowed me to get ideas down quickly and efficiently—liberating after my years engineering analog concert and studio sound.
(2004) doussn’ gouni, thumb piano, vocals, Tibetan singing bowl, Apple loops
After dusting off my dousn’ gouni (Bambara hunters’ harp from Mali), tuning up my thumb pianos, and borrowing a MIDI keyboard, I got to the business of creating what you hear, my first multitrack recording in over 15 years.
(2005) MIDI keyboard (upright bass, piano, electric piano, organ), Apple loops
Not being a keyboard player, my approach to playing a keyboard is informed by playing African thumb pianos. Not that I play with my thumbs, but the way I am drawn to shifting melodic patterns and layers of rhythm.
(2006) Calabash, MIDI bass, berimbau, caxixi, suling, bamboo recorder
This piece grew out of the bass line, which in turn inspired the “drum” parts that were collectively played on a large calabash (dried gourd) supplemented by a set of caxixi (basket shakers). The berimbau followed, and after letting the whole thing rest for a few weeks, was finished off by the flutes—a bamboo recorder from Japan and a Balinese suling.