A Plan

02021-08-11 | Uncategorized | 10 comments

I could have comfortably stayed in my house in Santa Fe for the rest of my life. The studio sounded great and was intimately familiar. The light in the house was beautiful and I was accustomed to every room. I knew the number of steps of each of the stairs. Instead of door knobs all of the doors had European door handles – which I could open with my elbows or even my bare feet. The kitchen was near perfect for me and I probably spent more time in it than in any other room, except for the studio. I had been in the house for more than 29 years and I knew it better than any place I ever lived.

On the other hand I felt that if I didn’t make a move now I would not likely ever make a move. If there was something I wanted to explore I would have to start now. Moving and exploring something new is not going to become easier as we grow older. So what was it that I wanted to do? I hadn’t lived near the water since leaving Köln, where I lived a few hundred yards from the river and spent many, many hours sitting by the Rhine. Hawaii? Costa Rica? Somewhere in the Caribbean? Perhaps something more unfamiliar? Sri Lanka? Somewhere in East Asia?

After much contemplation I set my sights on a place in Europe, near the water, with a language so different and strange and beautiful, with a music that Frank Howell introduced me to in 1989. Best of all I have not yet heard anybody say anything negative about the place. In fact, people tell me they have visited the place and loved it.

I am hitting Duolingo hard. I don’t have much hope of ever speaking the language well, but I will give it a good, hard try.

This month we will start to renovate this website and add a new subscription blog. In the new blog I will detail my new adventure and describe my impressions. The blog will be optimized to present photos better. I will create more video. And, of course, there will be music, lots of music.

Going off on a little tangent… a few weeks ago I woke up with a start in the middle of the night – how will I record without building a studio???? I lay awake for a while and thought about the options. I remembered thinking about studios in the mid-Eighties and liking the idea of recording in foreign countries, where studio time might be a little less expensive, and where the music would be influenced by the local culture. I fell asleep thinking about Saigon and Bangkok. In the morning I searched for studios in Saigon and found lots and lots of them. I could rent a studio and bring my own microphone, preamp, and, of course, a laptop with recording software. All I needed was a decent sounding room and the wiring. This idea has become a LOT easier since the 80s when all recording was done with tape recorders. Hard to travel with a multitrack tape recorder!


  1. Anne

    Thank-you for sharing your thoughts/insights and music.

    The collective field is a vast space.

    All the best on your new adventure in Europe.

  2. dave kirschner

    Will we see you on House Hunters International? ;-)

    • Melissa

      Frank is probably there winking and smiling from a rented Porche 911. He has an angel in the passenger seat.

      If you could touch my heart, you’d find it swollen with a happiness I don’t really recognize. You’ve gone a bit into the unknown, and that’s always a bit magical. Ottmar, I’m inspired by you, and through you. My face is tired from smiling for so many days.

  3. Nancy

    Glad to see you are settled and happy! Enjoy your new adventure.

  4. JaneParhamKatz

    Ottmar, a tear dropped onto my cheek to hear how much you truly loved your Santa Fe house. I love all those things about my Santa Fe house – the beautiful light that changes shape and trajectory by the moment, the European door handels (and beautiful Brazilian Wood doors), plus all the aspen shadows, the clouds and sunsets/sunrises from the deck. Oh! So much more! This is my first house, which I selected on my own. The first place I ever felt was truly MY place.

    My Santa Fe home was what I was searching for all my life. Until I moved here six years ago, my life was about exploring new places, new jobs, new ways of living. Now, I am satisfied to spend a month or so several times each year “living” in other locales, exploring their offerings. But I am always glad to get home again.

    What you did so spectacularly well was Focus on your talent and create your career. I Wish I had settled down in that direction for myself. I was just too restless! Now I really appreciate calmly striving for the discipline of practising piano and doing art, whoever may or may not appreciate me.

    Always, Jane

    • Boris

      Oh, that’s a challenge! As a European I am tempted to guessing where it is you are talking about. But it is hard and I could not come up with a guess despite having various ideas. Looking so much forward to the website revamp and the subscription and hearing more. Take care!

  5. Eric Nolan

    Just now seeing this news and I’m saddened in a bittersweet way. Ottmar, there was so much emotion I found in waiting for each release of your albums and I always wondered what the space was like that evoked what ultimately would be the soundscape of your music. I remember when Opium came out I was so enamored at the other-worldliness of the sound it was hard to imagine what your studio looked like. Years ago when you posted pics of the studio I remember thinking of the space like a Buddhist monastery where a sacredness was present. Very sweet memories for me.

    You’ve always signified the archetypical artist to me and you helped me find my inner artist. Thank you for so many wonderful memories and photos of the magic and mystery of Santa Fe. I wish you and your family the best in your next chapter and look forward to your upcoming inspirations.

    • JaneParhamKatz

      Thank you, Eric. Your post is so touching.

    • ottmar

      Thanks Eric. It is my hope that this new adventure will produce lots of new music, writing and photos. Instead of coming from one studio in Santa Fe these new works will originate from different places I will find.

  6. Boris

    Kept remembering what you wrote here about living close to the water and what has been said about your playing when you left your house. I recently found the album EUSA by Yann Tiersen (the guy who composed the music for the Amélie movie). Very piano-ish, so probably not yours. However, there is one thing. Yann’s music is both beautiful and has this sad touch (and is instrumental). He lives on the island of Ouessant, off the Bretagne coast, which might add to the mood.


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