About Each Track

02016-11-01 @ 19:11

The tempo is expressed in BPM = Beats Per Minute (Wikipedia Explanation)

01 Rain

tempo = 80
rhythm = 4/4

On the left side I recorded a Bossa Nova rhythm at half speed. It is full and rich, one octave lower than the normal guitar range. Slowing down the rhythm creates the feeling of walking through a bog, one’s shoes only slowly releasing from the mud. An octave melody opens and closes the piece, where I pluck the lower note with my thumb and play a three finger tremolo an octave above that note.

02 Lalo Cura

tempo = 88
rhythm = 6/8

Lalo is a first name, Cura means cure in Spanish, but La Locura means the madness. There are two sections to this piece; the first is played solo and the second with multiple guitars. The “bass” is a guitar figure played at twice the tempo and then recorded at half the speed to lower the pitch.

The ending notes show an expanded range of the guitar, with some of the notes reproduced at half speed.

03 Haiku4

tempo = N/A
rhythm = N/A

I’ve read a number of books of haiku, and have occasionally tried my hand at writing them, too, but recently I thought about what a musical haiku might sound like. I tried to follow the traditional arrangement of 17 morae, arranged in three lines of five, seven and five morae – a mora is a sound or syllable.

04 Butterfly Dream

tempo = 90
rhythm = 6/8

The title alludes to a Taoist classic, the Chuang Tsu, in which a man wonders whether he dreams of being a butterfly at night, or whether he is a butterfly that dreams of being a man during the day. A solo guitar performance of this piece can be found on the album “One Guitar”.

05 Tana’s Blue

tempo = 60
rhythm = 4/4

Is Tana blue, or it this blue her color? The English language is ambiguous in this case and no context is offered. The kick drum is the sound of a knock on the guitar, just behind the bridge, replayed at half speed to give it more bottom.

The arpeggios in the beginning are false harmonics, the bass is a guitar re-recorded at half speed.

06 Adrift

tempo = 70
rhythm = 4/4

While I slowed down the Bossa Nova guitar part to half time for “Rain”, here I actually played the rhythm at the slow speed.

The bass notes are half time guitar. At 2’25” into the piece I broke with my rule of only using sounds from the one guitar, and you can hear my voice making a rhythmic sound. I think this marks the first time I “sang” on an album.

07 Haiku1

tempo = N/A
rhythm = N/A

The first two lines sound Japanese to me, but the third line sounds Flamenco.

08 Love

tempo = 80
rhythm = 5/8 + 6/8

Most of the piece is played in 5/8, except for the second half of each chorus, where the rhythm changes to 6/8. What I call the chorus starts at 1:09 and 3:15, and the 6/8 section begins at 1:39 and 3:45. There is a support melody that is played only during the second round of each chorus. The kick-drum-like sound during the 6/8 section is again the half-speed sound of my hitting the top of the guitar.

09 Ocean

tempo = 50
rhythm = 6/8 + 4/4

The guitar playing harmonics in 6/8 is taken from the piece “seesalt”, on the album three-oh-five, but here I had something different in mind: while the opening melody sways with a 6/8 rhythm, the rhythm soon switches to 4/4, at 0:52, and gains forward motion. At 1:31 the music switches back to 6/8. Even while the rhythm changes to 4/4, the first guitar stubbornly continues to play in 6/8.

The piece ends with the left side repeating the harmonic arpeggio that’s on the right, reminiscent of a phase composition.

10 Hope

tempo = 50
rhythm = 4/4

The melody uses an Arabic scale I discovered a while back, and previously used on the piece “Horse” on my album Dune. The intro is solo guitar. At 0:50 a second guitar enters, playing a 4/4 rhythm, but here every measure is divided into 5/8 + 3/8, with the kick-that-is-really-a-hit-on-the-guitar always falling on the first beat.

11 Haiku2

tempo = N/A
rhythm = N/A

I think of this piece as a western sound, a cowboy lullaby. The melody is harmonized with thirds, reminiscent of Mexican music.

12 Elegy

tempo = 55
rhythm = 4/4 + 5/8

I recorded this the week after Prince died. The rhythm switches between 4/4 and 10/8, but the notes of the melody fall in the exact same place. The music feels slower and faster, but the tempo stays the same.

13 Rainbow

tempo = 65
rhythm = 4/4

This piece starts with a rumba guitar rhythm, which includes slapping the body of the guitar, but slowed down to half speed. After “Elegy” this feels more like a sendoff, a returning to life.

14 Night

tempo = 86
rhythm = 6/8

This piece starts with a slow waltz rhythm. The rhythm breaks and dissolves into a solo guitar, playing a timeless reverie of the moon and the stars. Then one turns away from the night sky, and the rhythm returns.

15 Haiku3

tempo = N/A
rhythm = N/A

16 Stumbleweed

tempo = N/A
rhythm = N/A

An empty road at dawn, and tumbleweed stumbling across the lanes, now resting, now being pushed forward, or sideways, by a gust of wind. This piece started out as a solo piece, to which I later added a few extra notes.

17 End Less

tempo = 60
rhythm = 4/4

It’s a wordplay on endless, of course, but I was also thinking about how men always look to the finish line. In daily life as well as in philosophy, the question seems to always be how do I get over there? Over there is where I need to be, whether over there is enlightenment or heaven or just a specific car model or a certain amount of money in the bank. So “End Less” is advice to myself – to stop looking at the goal line and to simply be.