Unlike my live, improvisational work, these pieces were each developed over days, weeks or months. Most are solo; a few benefit from guest artists.
(2020) Tim Wolf: likembe, sanza, donso ngoni, tanpura, berimbau, voice, celesta, keyboards, percussion, virtual drum and hand pan programming, loops, and samples; Jack Beal: upright bass on “Tai Chu”; Asa Peters: alto sax and flute on “Tai Chu”; Amiya Dasgupta: voice and tanpura on “Tarana Memories”. Tarana in Raga Sindhi Bhairavi within “Tarana Memories,” composed by Amiya Dasgupta. “Swimming With Tanpuras” remastered by Tim Wolf. All other tracks mastered by synonymist.
This set of music reflects back on my years at the California Institute of the Arts (1977–1981). In that formative time, while exploring the practice of improvisation and absorbing the influences of Indian classical and other world music traditions, I adopted a minimalist approach to creating music involving phasing and interlocking melodic lines and rhythmic cycles. These pieces either expand on that approach or grow out of pieces composed at that time.
“Tai Chu (The Great Accumulation)” was written in 1981 and finds a robust re-rendering here, invoking the Spiritual Jazz tradition atop a bed of world minimalism. “Tarana Memories” is a reflection on my friendship with my teacher Amiya Dasgupta, a North Indian classical sitarist, vocalist, and composer, and incorporates an intimate recording of the two of us singing one of Amiya’s compositions. The third piece, “Clean Sheets”, exploits the random and syncopated rhythms emanating from a clothes dryer to create a subterranean soundscape. Finally, “Swimming With Tanpuras” is another, albeit more abstract, homage to Amiya and percussion master Pandit Taranth Rao.
(2020) Mix by Tim Wolf. Personnel — Jack Beal: bass guitar, electronics; Jeff Day: electric guitar, Line 6 DL4, iron bar, knitting needles; Amy Hannum: voice, body percussion, water; Alex Khan: Korg MS-20 with analog effects, Eurorack modular synthesizer, tape loops, police scanner; John Schwenk: Continuum Fingerboard, electric piano; Pamela Wilson: sine wave generator, melodica; Tim Wolf: digitally-processed sanza. Produced by Tim Wolf and Pamela Wilson for New London Drone Orchestra. Mastered by Tim Wolf
From the release notes:
“In mid-March 2020, our gatherings and plans for recording and performing were suddenly interrupted as the United States was coming to terms with the coronavirus pandemic. ...home isolation and social distancing protocols were adopted for the greater good. The collective vibe was tense, fearful, and introspective.
“To counter this isolation, Orchestra member Tim Wolf put forward a proposal to his fellow droners for a collaborative project: any member who wished to participate would record (with a common tonal center) at least one solo track at home. The tracks would then be shared amongst Orchestra members, who would assemble and mix them into a fully-realized piece. Within two weeks, 7 members recorded 16 individual tracks, and in an additional two weeks, 5 of those members created the mixes that are included in this album.”
(2020) See personnel list from Liquid Mix, above.
(2018) Tim Wolf: donso ngoni, likembe, sanza, drum programming, MIDI bass.
There was this dance music inside my head that had to get out. So I let it out.
This track is available as a free download on Bandcamp.
(2018) Tim Wolf: donso ngoni, sanza; video.
A sound poem that takes cues from visual movements on the surface and above a fluid landscape. Incidentally, the donso ngoni is strung with nylon fishing line—something I found coincidental with the appearance of a fishing boat. The video of the Atlantic Ocean was shot at Acadia National Park in Maine.
(2018) Tim Wolf: donso ngoni, drum and samples programming, keyboards; Krush Money: vocals; Kutmaster B-Str0: scratch samples.
My second (recent) collaboration with Krush Money (Myron Moye,) who provides a commentary on some of his experiences and observations of the music industry over the years. Krush Money’s rhymes float above an updated 808 drum track I first used 30 years ago for a fashion show I provided music for. Multiple donso ngoni tracks, an additional drum track and some keys round out the flava. Use Sriracha sauce to taste.
(2017) Tim Wolf: donso ngoni, likembe, sanza, keyboards, beats; Krush Money: vocals, beats.
Krush Money (Myron Moye) and I met In 1983 when I co-produced a breaking and popping dance contest in Hartford, Connecticut, where he and his crew, The Master Poppers, took first place (he became a state champion in 1984). For a few years I helped manage and book him and a group of all-star b-boys. In the following years, he turned from dancing to rapping, and after hooking up with the extraordinary DJ Kutmaster B-stro (Kevin Bell), formed the Busy Boys.
Krush Money and B-stro asked me to engineer and help produce some of the Busy Boys’ first studio sessions, many of which were released on the Bee-Pee and B-Boy record labels, including the classic (now old-school) tracks “Stop Jockin Me” and “Funky Fresh Christmas.”
Over 30 years later we joined forces again—this time with Krush Money enhancing my beats and instrumentals with his rhymes—and AfriJazzHop happened as if we had been working together for decades. Kutmaster B-stro, who died tragically fighting a fire in 2014, is honored on the track with samples of his scratching from our early work together.
(2017) Acoustic and processed donso ngoni (6-string Malian hunters harp)
The Tibetan word gangshar could be translated as “whatever arises” (in the context of one’s mind).
(2012) Tim Wolf: drilbu (Tibetan bell), keyboards, caxixi, percussion; An old friend: electric bass
Art Jarvinen (1956-2010) was a close friend and musical collaborator when we were both students at Cal Arts. In addition to a lot of hanging out, we had an improvisational trio (The Caucasians) and did some recording and performing as “The Folk Hunters” (an experimental folk music duo).
Over the years, Art and I drifted solidly out of contact. When I learned of his death in 2010 it was a sudden shock that reverberated with great sadness and regret. This piece is dedicated with fondness to Art, a creative force I was fortunate to work, laugh, eat, drink coffee and create with.
This composition started before I learned of Art’s passing, inspired by encountering Igbo Ogene music of Nigeria. After hearing the news, the piece developed over several months as a reflection on Art, our work together, death and transition, repetition and variation. I am grateful for a friend, who also knew Art at Cal Arts, for adding the bass parts and providing me feedback on the piece.
This three-part piece is available for download on Bandcamp.
The graphic is a closeup of Art from a stained, woven poster I made for a performance by The Antenna Repairmen, a trio he was a member of.