Rain Play

02021-07-31 | Music, Santa Fe, Video | 21 comments

I have been organizing and packing and throwing away stuff for several weeks now. A 20 yard dumpster was filled with some of the detritus of thirty years – I moved into this house on my birthday in 1992 – and what I wanted to keep was moved into storage. I was exhausted from the work and hadn’t played guitar at all in a couple of weeks. This afternoon a lovely thunderstorm approached the house and I decided to play guitar accompanied by rain and thunder. The house is empty and the reverb in this room is now enormous. I leaned my iPhone against the guitar case and it recorded my guitar and the rain and some thunder.

My friends say it sounds sad. I say that it should sound sad because it was wonderful to live here and to make music here. I am not moving because I don’t like this house and the studio. I am moving because if I don’t move now I will never move. That would be okay, too, but I want another adventure and now is the time.

I recorded around twenty albums in the studio that’s less than fifty yards from this room. The first album that came out of here was ¡Viva!. We mixed the album here after recording it on the road in 1994. The 1996 release Opium was the first album to be recorded and completed here. In those days we still mastered every album at The Mastering Lab in Los Angeles. A few years later we took the late and great Doug Sax’s (who mastered albums for Pink Floyd!) advice who asked me why I was still coming to him for mastering when the material already sounded perfect. So we started to master albums at my studio as well. Innamorare and christmas + santa fe were released in 2000, Little Wing in 2001. If I remember correctly Little Wing was the first album mastered here. In the Arms of Love was the first album released on my label SSRI, in 2002. La Semana, released in 2004, was the first album I engineered by myself. Then came Winter Rose, in 2005, One Guitar in 2006, the binaural album Up Close in 2008, followed by The Scent of Light in the same year. That album was followed by POP in 2010, Dune in 2012, three-oh-five and Bare Wood in 2014, Waiting n Swan in 2015, slow in 2016, The Complete Santa Fe Sessions in 2018, Fete in 2019, and finally the Lockdown and Full versions of vision 2020 last year.

Now I want to do something different. I’ll tell you more about my plans soon…


  1. LHM

    Tears ….
    The house will miss you. I’m not sure anyone could appreciate that house more than you.

    Wherever you go, I hope you’re happy.

    • ottmar

      Wherever I go there I am.

  2. Victor

    All the best to you on your new journey and departure from this place.

    • Kaz

      I guess it’s time to change key and create new melodies. I hope life’s next journey brings you to a higher octave. Good luck and thank you for sharing 3 decades of your music’s life. Looking forward to hearing from you and this new chapter. Peace 2 u.

    • ottmar

      Thank you, Victor.

      And Kaz, I see what you are doing there… Higher Octave… :-)

  3. Boris

    I think I accompanied you on that journey as a long-distance fan starting with the recording of La Semana. I remember first reading about you in that article in Die Zeit magazine about the recording of Opium and how fascinated I was imagining the recording work. The next day I went to the next record shop and found and bought The Hours and was hooked ever since. I must say that from all your photos and blog entries, this house and the studio always looked appealing to me as well, the architecture, the atmosphere that seems to be there. I always wished I could have visited it myself, secretly, not intrusively, just for once soaking up the atmosphere sitting on the steps next to the studio, breathing in the scent of the Santa Fe air, watching the sunset through that special frame you had built for it. The artist you are I am sure wherever you go it will be exciting to hear about! I am curious and cannot wait to read more. Whenever it will take you wherever, good luck, take care, and keep up the good work and dropping us notes!

    • ottmar

      Thanks Boris. La Semana is almost two decades ago. Fifteen years ago you contributed the song title “Night Traveling Raindrops” to the album “One Guitar”. Yes, we have known each other for a long time. I appreciate your friendship and fanship.

  4. Ali Shafai

    I love the piece and look forward to it landing on a release soon. Incidentally, I didn’t find it sad, rather it was hopeful sounding.

    Best of luck to your new destination.

    P.S. Please send some rain to California.

    • ottmar

      Thank you, Ali. I find it fascinating how we interpret the turn of a melody differently. Perhaps it is rooted in cultural experiences. OTOH can’t a melody be sad and hopeful at the same time? I often don’t feel that my melody is sad and then a friend will tell me it is very sad indeed. Perhaps I was born with a melancholy strain of genetics. :-)

  5. Will

    One door closes…or are there any doors at all?

    • ottmar

      If you live in a tent you don’t have to worry about doors at all.

  6. JaneParhamKatz

    I always think of you when a thunderstorm arrives in Santa Fe. For that time, you and I are sharing that wonder. I will miss looking out at the rain, and the moon and starry sky knowing that is precisely your rain, your moon, your stars, too.

    Thank you for this special video.

    • ottmar

      You are welcome, Jane. It’s a tiny rock hurtling through space and we are both on it.

      • JaneParhamKatz

        Dealest Ottmar, I feel a bit comforted, yet still quite uneasy.

  7. Odisea

    Life is an eternal journey towards oneself and your home is always there … with you.
    There is a light shining on the horizon.

    • ottmar

      Thank you.

  8. Y.

    from deep in the cloud’s
    thunder comes

    Found this translation in English to be a bit more dramatic than in 日本語, but still nice.

    • ottmar

      A short while ago a thunder storm crossed right above my house. Never have I heard thunder so bright and powerful. I was enjoying the majestic power of it and then I started wondering how one could capture such a sound.

      • Y.

        My thoughts as well went to your father’s spirit and contributions to the home. Listened to “quietrainmoss” from, “three-oh-five” while adding that poem. It felt right.

      • Melissa

        Last night’s storm was a journey to the Beloved.
        I surrender to that, the wind that
        is my Friend, and my work.

        Each night, the lightning flashes.
        Every morning, a breeze.

        Not in some protected place, but in the flood
        of the heart’s pumping, in the wind
        of a rosebud’s opening out,
        that puts a small crown on each narcissus.

        A tired hand collapses, exhausted,
        that in the morning holds your hair again.

        Peace comes when we are friends together,
        remembering. Hafiz! Your honest desire
        and your benevolence free the soul
        to emerge as what it is.

  9. Stephen Duros

    Wow, the reverb is amazing. Beautiful piece, love the melodies. I always loved visiting there. Lots of great memories for me. Beautiful home with such a great vibe.


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