Sunday, November 1, 2009
"Coming Forth by Day" (dedicated to my mom and dad)
"The Day the Sky Stood Down"
"The Day the Sky Stood Down" (Oscillate your plasma column remix)
"The Day the Sky Stood Down" (Colossus remix)
[note: the computer voice is from a film called Colossus, based on the excellent sci-fi trilogy by D.F. Jones]
"Beyond the Eschaton" (Back to Whaledreaming remix)
[note: this one has sounds from orcas and other cetaceans mixed in with my voice progressively slowing down into total acoustic entropy...Ian's handiwork!]
"The Day the Sky Stood Down" (Permanent Brain Damage remix)
[note: that's the voice of geoscientist Leuren Moret...later on you'll hear Dr. Tedd Weyman talking about the health effects of depleted uranium; in the beginning you'll also hear hints of the theme from The Twilight Zone and also Godzilla...]
To learn more about Ian McAllister go to www.audio-centric.com
Sunday, October 25, 2009
1) Interview, Jeff Phillips & Andrew Haig, PBS-FM, Melbourne, June 2001 (part 1)
2) Sound Collage (Mickey Hart/Fiorella Terrenzi/humpback whales)
3) Interview, Jeff Phillips & Andrew Haig, PBS-FM, Melbourne, June 2001 (part 2)
4) "Threshold/Infotoxin" (1985)
5) "Einstein's Brain" (1985)
6) "SDI" (lyrics by Carl Sagan) (1985)
7) "Air-borne Plutonium" (1989)
8) "Sanskrit Fourier Operator" (1987)
9) "American Lullaby" (1995)
10) "Kybernetes" (1991)
11) "Trilobite" (1995)
12) "Return of the Lorax" (1995)
13) "Frat Yak" (1989)
Saturday, August 15, 2009
1) "Walking in Beauty" http://www.mediafire.com/?b1yjxmiimoj
2) "Volcano" http://www.mediafire.com/?rwwwztjemo2
3) "Water" http://www.mediafire.com/?2yun1jcjcx9
4) "Song of Waitaha" http://www.mediafire.com/?xnus5hkbd8dxcxg
6) "Maximal Tilt/Deconstruction of the Universe" http://www.mediafire.com/?bug110pm0zd
7) "George Winston on Acid" http://www.mediafire.com/?q07znqobkmz
8) Spring Studio Session 3 http://www.mediafire.com/?8yrjhuzzzzt
9) "Spankin' the Yank" http://www.mediafire.com/?mjzx92vlmez
10) "A Scottish Theme" http://www.mediafire.com/?dpm9lw1gtn2
11) "Constellations of the Southern Hemisphere/Charlie Brown Goes to Proxima Centauri" http://www.mediafire.com/?bwxu2xc1ksu
12) Spring Studio Session 4 http://www.mediafire.com/?ymvyfbtgm3a
13) Theme from "The Rockist" http://www.mediafire.com/?vv1xhx
14) "Beyond the Eschaton (Back to Whaledreaming Remix)" http://www.mediafire.com/?yzq3tic2oh5
1) "Walking in Beauty"...the opening track from a jam we did in Christchurch in May of 2002 at Duke Dixon's studio near Oxford, which became the "First Ancestor" cd. Ian McAllister, who co-engineered and produced, had recommended Dukes because he had the nicest grand piano, a 100+ year old Steinway grand, and around $50,000 worth of mikes. I invited sax player and vocalist Carmel Courtney, and drummer Redford Grennel (now of Shapeshifter); none of us had ever played together before. Later I added in the simple bass part (in later tracks James Wilkinson put in some 6-string fretless) and some spoken word by south island metaphysician Barry Brailsford. The phrase "walking in beauty" is an English translation of a Hopi word I once knew but cannot remember...but to have one word that meant that is very cool eh?
2) "George Winston on Acid" Once a friend of mine in the states was listening to me play piano and he said "Jeff, you sound just like George Winston on Acid." I knew exactly what he meant...George Winston was/is a very popular sort of "new age" pianist who was one of the first artists to be released on the Windham Hill label. My piano playing that my friend heard, which was quite mellow, like George's, was significantly more abstract than Winston's...hence the "on acid" part. When I recorded my first cd of grand piano improvisations in 1998 ("The White Electric Dog Transmissions"), I was sure to record a piece by this name. it's quite melodic...thanks George for the inspiration!
3) "Constellations of the Southern Hemisphere/Charlie Brown goes to Proxima Centauri" This jam was the fourth track of the Proxigean Solstice Session I did in Atlanta in December of 1999 with drummer Zach Velmer of Sector 9. I was imagining seeing the stars of the southern hemisphere for the first time (although it was to be several months until I actually saw them) come out at dusk, then taking off on a journey out among them. The piano theme I came up with in this jam reminded me of the Peanuts theme, hence the name. Proxima Centauri is actually the closest star to the Earth/Sun. It's not very bright, but is a part of the trinary system we see as Alpha Centauri, one of the "pointers" in the southern sky...
4) through 7) These are piano improvisations from my first cd, "The White Electric Dog Transmissions" I just sat at the piano and thought of tornadoes (on this one I told the engineer to go crazy with effects...", stars, and water, and the "insignificance of humanity" in the grand scheme...do we matter to anyone other than ourselves? Do we even matter to ourselves???
8) "Return to Aotearolan Jam/Beak of Time (Sep Tepi premix)" This is the last track of the "First Ancestor" cd...it's a 16 minute recapitulation of the whole previous jam. At around the 14 minute mark, after James Wilkinson's freaky bass glissando, it takes a turn for deep space...and ends up with time-stretched humpback whale sounds! check it out...("Sep Tepi" is the original world in the ancient history of the Egyptians...the "golden age" or "garden of Eden"...)
1) "Vladischlock Chase" and 2) " Brink Anthem" These tracks were part of the "Frankenspine/Volcano Session" done in Wellington NZ in May of 2005, with drummer Glenn Fletcher. I was playing a Yamaha 7 foot grand piano and a Roland D-70 synth at the same time.
3) This is a nicely recorded guitar improvisation done at Harry Williamson's studio in Melbourne in 2004.
4) through 7) "GAT-earoa Session" These are guitar over-dubbing experiments done again at Ian McAllister's studio in Chch in September of 2005...my first attempts at guitar over-dubbing. I used a Peter Stephen classical guitar, a Takamine 12 string, and my modified Crafter six-string...
8) "Mountain Summer Jam" This is a jam between me on grand piano and my friend Dave Bredel from New Jersey...we recorded this on his mobile tape deck in a practice room of the music dept. at CU in Boulder in the summer of 1989
9) "Night of the Electric Schmetterling Jam" This is a 4 minute excerpt from a jam done in Wellington NZ with me on grand piano and acoustic guitar, Takumi Motokawa on piano, percussion and pipe organ, and Tristan Carter on electric violin.
10) through 13) "Berry Bunch Jam" a jam at my friend Helm Ruifrock's place in Christchurch...I was sitting in with Helm and his group which I called the "Berry Bunch" because Berry was the lead singer and female sex icon! On these tracks I was playing either drum kit or percussion.
14) "Man was in the Forest" This is really my first 'symphonic' composition, done on Cubase at pre-hacking levels while living on the base of an active volcano in Chile last winter. I was somehow inspired to layer together the following: samples of the Ligeti composition "Atmospheres" from the soundtrack from 2001: A Space Odyssey; Fiorella Terenzi's galaxy sounds (she's an essential ingredient for any serious space-sounding experiment!); I think some David Dunn might be in there; some didge tracks mutated in various ways; and the voice is Bambi's mom, from the original movie. There had been a disturbance in the forest, and in a moment of complete silence, Bambi asked his mom what was wrong. She replied, "Man...was in the forest."
1) and 3) interview with me and Andrew Haig on a radio show he was doing called "Future Static" on PBS-FM in Melbourne. I was involved in communication work with dolphins using music in the early 80's...
2) Sound Collage composed of three audio tracks playing simultaneously...no planned synchronizations...Mickey Hart, "Drumming at the Edge of Magic"; Fiorella Terenzi galaxy sounds; and songs of the humpback whale recorded by Roger Payne. This was done during intermission of a concert by a Boulder band called Midnight Kitchen. I was doing visuals for them, and at the break I had three cd players going into the board...I just started them one after the other...I let it run for all of the break, the whole thing is about 20-30 minutes long...
4) "Threshold/Infotoxin" These are the first songs that I ever multi-tracked, playing Emulator "Drumulator" drum machine (that's a sample of John Bonham of Zeppelin on kick!), Prophet 5 synth, strat, and vocals. Engineer Rick Chapman played lead guitar on "infotoxin." It was meant to be a piss-take, an advert for 'infotoxin' = bullshit in mass-media!
5) "Einstein's Brain"...the true story of how they saved Einstein's brain in a jar, against his will! This song was recorded at Rick Chapman's Harmonic Labs in 1985; this and "Threshold/Infotoxin" got played on several college radio stations and enabled me to get to meet Frank Zappa in Berkeley in 1985.
6) "SDI" or "Strategic Defense Initiative"...based on the Reagan administrations plan to build "weapons in space"...to fulfill Hitler's vision of military dominance from space. I did this using a Korg Poly 6 synth and a Yamaha drum machine...this was 1985 when drum machines were just coming out. The lyrics are from a Carl Sagan pamphlet on the implications of nuclear war.
7) "Airborne Plutonium" This one was recorded only to a re-used cheap cassette on a Roland D-50 in the basement of a friend's apartment in Boulder CO in the summer of 1989. Rocky Flats, a plutonium processing facility, was located only 30 miles to the north and "airborne plutonium" had been a recent item appearing in various Boulder news media
8) "Sanskrit Fourier Operator" All I have of this was recorded on a cassette, hence the shitty sound. But the original was a brilliant digital recording done using an at that time brand new Synclavier with a Roland D-50 midied to it...my friend Scott was working at a studio called Prosonus in LA and he invited me to come and check out the new Synclavier...I just sat down at it and started dialing up some sounds. first the shaker part, then the bass/synth part...then the percussion, then the strings from the D-50. Because the Synclav was new and the sound samples were hot, he refused to give me the song in digital format. This was a great pity...by the time I made it back to LA Scott was in Berkeley...
9) "Earthquake Jam" This jam was a very special occurrence...I had met Carl Malone at the recording studio of Michael Boddicker in LA, at an Emulator party. He worked at the Jet Propulsion Lab in Pasadena working on I believe it was space probe power systems. He was a killer flute player and also had built his own digital reverb unit. He invited me up to his place for a jam. He played flute and I played his synth, using a bunch of his own samples/sounds, through his new reverb system. It was a KILLER jam. After we stopped playing, we sat on the veranda on the nice southern California September evening. We both noted that the crickets and bugs sounded unusually loud. Next morning, when I was on-lab at JPL nearby, a 6.2 earthquake happened. We figured that the insects somehow sensed that it was coming and were letting us know...and hence the name of the jam.
10) "Trilobite" This and track (11) were done at Daktaris Sound in Boulder in May-June of 1995. I played keyboard drums and synths, as well as vocals. I had just done a trek onto Blanca Peak in southern Colorado, one of the four sacred mountains of the Navajo, their name being "Sis Naajini", "the home of the sky people." After hiking on that mountain, all I could think about was trilobites. It was like trilobite consciousness hit me out of the blue. I was inspired to read up on them and do this song...they were nature's first use of the eye...a compound eye, like an insect.
11) "Return of the Lorax" After my visit to Sis Naajini, I also was inspired to write a poem called "Return of the Lorax", picking up where Dr. Seuss' s book leaves off. I did this at Daktaris studio; I played Doctor Dan Burns' 1964 Strat, keyboard bass and drum programming.
12) "I am aware" might be the freakiest thing I have ever done. It was inspired by a dream I had in which Jimi Hendrix showed me some stuff on guitar. I took his Woodstock performance of "The Star Spangled Banner", recorded it, then reversed it, all on one track. Next track was all of this but slowed down. Then we (I was working with Ian McAllister on the winter solstice of 2002 in Christchurch) added in some dialogue from an excellent film called Judgment at Nuremberg, which is a re-enactment of the trial of four Nazi judges for their part in the Third Reich. Then I recorded my own voice, pitch-shifted one octave lower and one octave higher, saying the words "Freedom and democracy...greedom and dumbocracy..." Then, near the end, I recite the words to "The Scar-Strangled Banter"...my piss-take version of Amerika's "transnational anathema."
13) "Frat Yak" This was done during an impromptu visit to Steve Koppe's RedDoor Audio studio in Boulder in the summer of 1989. I had written the lyrics ahead of time...again, a piss-take on the partying scene in Boulder, based on my experience of being in a fraternity in college...I lovingly refer to it now as "Phry Krappa Trou"...a social group in which people were free to eat acid and shit themselves! My live-in experiment in primate social psychology lasted a year...but I will always remember "frat yakking"!
1) "Coming Forth by Day" This is the first time I ever over-dubbed synth with acoustic guitar. It's dedicated to my mom and dad who got killed in a car wreck a couple years ago...it was VERY heavy but it was if the angels came and got them...and they got to go together. Cosmically it was somehow all ok. "Coming forth by day" is how the ancient Egyptians referred to what we call "death"...to them, it was a waking up into a vaster and brighter eternity...to them, THIS life was the 'dream' and THAT the 'reality.' This song is not only for my parents...it is my message to anyone who has experienced the 'death' of loved ones...and it is a journey that we ALL will go on...and it's all ok!!! This song is my message to humanity...that what we call "death" is NOT an end or something to be feared...but a wonderful awakening into a vaster eternal reality...a return to cosmic love and a bliss beyond our wildest imaginings here now.
2) "Beyond the Eschaton" Tracks 1, 2 and 3 here I did at my friend Ian McAllister's studio in Christchurch last spring. I sort of went to the next level with my music...I played acoustic and electric guitar together for the first time, and I played percussion and synth together with these guitars as well. "Eschaton" means 'the end of the world.'
3) "The Day the Sky Stood Down" Here is the birth of the new style I created called "perc and gat"..."percussion and guitar" instead of "drum and bass." It's got a drum&bass rhythm done on bongos and congas played with mallets. I had my foot on the high-hat, and overdubbed the tambourine and shakers. Ian said it reminded him of music from an old ufo movie.
4) "The Day the Sky Stood Down"("oscillate your plasma column" remix) This has the rhythm track from (3), with sound modulations, and an acoustic guitar part. I LOVE this sound. It's not really finished...it needs an electric guitar part over it and maybe a synth bass line.
5) "The Day..." (Colossus remix) Colossus is a supercomputer in a science-fiction film by the same name. I put this onto a remix that Ian did of "The Day the Sky Stood Down"...it consists of these complex noise fields. I took Ian's mix then reversed it and overlaid it onto the forward version...pretty freaky sounding. It ends up with the introductory rhythm track going backwards.
6) "The Day...(Bone-seeker/Permanent Brain damage remix) This piece is still pretty rough. There's a lot going on...the woman is Leuren Moret, probably the world's leading researcher/educator re: health effects of the nuclear scenario. You also hear Godzilla, theme from The Outer Limits and the Twilight Zone; Dr. Ted Wyman, Canadian DU researcher...over-laid onto Ian's remix of the original "Day the Sky Stood Down"...the vocals are are from mp3's I got from the net and reconstituted into .aifs...hence the poor audio quality. I will do more work on this track to clear out spaces where now you can't make out what they're saying...
7) "Permanent Contamination" Here we begin with sounds from Dr. Fiorella Terenzi, which are acoustic versions of the signals from two colliding radio galaxies, and the voice of Santa Fe artist David Dunn modulated by algorithms he devised based on mathematical properties of Enochian intelligences communicated with by John Dee in the 16th century (Dee was a psychic in the employ of the Queen of England and was supposedly the original James Bond). Then the voice of Dr. Ted Wyman, and a rhythm track of tabla and drum kit by Karsh Kale.
8) "Burcsodni Whale" This track has some whale sounds over-laid with a song called "Indoscrub" by Mickey Hart from his "Supralingua" cd..."burcsodni" is "indoscrub" backwards!
9) "Cymbalic Supra-Orca" This one has the opening high-hat phrase from Jeff Beck's "Blue Wind" over-dubbed with didge from David Johnson, Paul Horn playing flute inside the Great Pyramid, and sounds of the orca, aka the "killer whale"
10) "Kyber-Kosmos Experiment" Again, a very rough sketch of an idea...the opening synth part is from a piece I recorded in Atlanta in 1991 called "Kybernetes" using the "universe" patch of the Korg M1. The female voice is from Ann Druyan, widow of and former collaborator with astronomer Carl Sagan. This is from her introduction to the dvd release of the Cosmos tv series. My music fades and then comes a rhythm loop from a track from Charles Lloyd's cd "Sangam" with Eric Harland on drums and Zakir Hussein on tablas/percussion. Beneath that are 3 tracks of native American flute from Coyote Oldman, modulated and slowed-down.
11) "Honky Zep-Smith" This one starts with a synth line from Steve Miller called "Threshold" overdubbed with the opening drum riff from "Honky Tonk Woman" by the Stones as well as the opening bars of Led Zeppelin's "Immigration Song" going backwards; these give way to the opening bars of "Sergeant Pepper's Lonely Hearts Club Band" by the Beatles, then the opening phrase from the intro to the original Outer Limits tv series...then a rhythm loop alternating between "immigration Song"'s opening bar and Aerosmith's "Walk this way"'s opening beat...overlaid with the Outer Limits thing, a voice from an Adbusters "advert" for the fat content of a Big Mac, and the voice of the People's very own Dubya aka Herr Shrubdolf Gitler saying "go home and die"...this one is fit for MTV if any of my music is!
12) "Godzilla-Tornado" Here I took a segment from Steven Spielberg's really cheesy film Tornado where an F-5 is coming to suck them all up...then I put in Godzilla's footsteps and sound, from a Gong song called "Gongzilla" and then Godzilla's "actual" sound from the original movie. I LOVE doing this kind of stuff...I can't wait to do it with visuals, too! Imagine seeing Godzilla roar and the exhalation becomes an inhalation which sucks everything into her mouth, just like a giant tornado would do. The part I REALLY want to show is this really fat chick running for the storm cellar when all of a sudden she remembers her 3 liter bottle of Diet Coke is still in the kitchen..."Honey...my Diet Coke...IT'S STILL IN THE KITCHEN. YOU HAVE TO GO BACK IN AND GET IT...PLEASSSSSSSEEEEEEEE!!!"
13) "Dunn-Interspecies"...here we have more of David Dunn's Enochian voice algorithms mixed with assorted marine life sounds courtesy of Jim Nollman's Interspecies Communication organization
14) "Didge Project" I took didge tracks from three different players and fucked them up as fully as I could...
I began to play trumpet in the seventh grade when I was 13, then I switched to tuba/sousaphone in the tenth grade; consequently, I learned to read and play both treble and bass-clef music. My participation in band stopped after high school. Then, in 1978, a couple years after I had quit college, I bought a classical guitar (the only instrument I have ever owned other than a shaker egg or drum-sticks!). I took one classical guitar lesson. Then I decided I would teach myself guitar and piano. Now, 25 years later, I have developed a certain level of proficiency on guitar and piano, as well as drums and bass. But I’m really more of a composer than a player. I am by no means whatsoever anywhere approaching virtuoso-level abilities on any instrument, but I can do some cool stuff on them. I am probably as good as or better than a good rock band, myself. I cannot tell you much I love music, both to listen and to play. To me, practicing and playing has always been the same thing. My favorite instrument is a nice grand piano…there’s nothing like it. I would have to say that my earliest and biggest inspiration here was Keith Emerson then maybe Elton John and Keith Jarrett. I also liked Stevie Winwood’s piano, and the guys in Supertramp.
It’s funny, I have a lot of friends who are musicians of various kinds, and some of them quite good. Most of them have a lot of respect for what I do, although sometimes the more technically oriented might have a good laugh at how I play! Which is all well and good, as I have never taken making music “seriously.” This does NOT mean that I do not put my best efforts into what I do; au contraire, that is ALL I do. It DOES mean that I have never taken myself over-seriously as a musical artist; I do not dwell on technical perfection in terms of notes and I am not into repeated takes which diminish spontaneity. My playing has been compared to people as diverse as Keith Emerson, Keith Jarrett, Lyle Mays, George Winston, Elton John, Stevie Winwood and composers Bach, Chopin, DeBussy, and Steve Reich. I am nowhere nearly as good technically as most of these guys, and could never hope to be; it’s the spirit of the music that I am all about…not the notes, the technical precision, the stucture of the composition or the chord progressions…but the music in the music.
My basic philosophy of music is that LISTENING is by far the most important aspect of the musical experience. If you can’t hear or aren’t listening, you are completely missing the boat. Even if you can’t play a note on anything, the entire universe of sound is available to you through your ears and through modern technologies of recording and transmission. Even when you are PLAYNG music, listening is STILL the most important aspect; only through acute listening do you know what the other musicians are doing and in fact what YOU are doing, and how it all fits together. Really good music can be made from extremely simple parts played by several people, which fit together well. It’s really what you DON’T play as much as it is what you PLAY. And I put a lot of emphasis on “play.” Why is it called “playing” music? Because…AND DON’T EVER FORGET IT!…it’s supposed to be FUN! That’s what playing is all about…it’s fun and you don’t take it too seriously. This helps you keep the clear and open spiritual orientation needed to play good music. All too many very talented musicians totally lose touch with the “fun” dimension as they plow deeper into the ruts of “success”, fame and celebrity, and related problem areas like molecular dependencies and having too much money in general. All of this distracts you from PLAYING MUSIC. It’s the music that I love, not all this other stuff.
Over the years I have tended to do two basic things in terms of making music, other than playing piano or guitar alone whenever I can. I have done several studio recordings, where I play mostly everything myself but then have say some flute or lead guitar put in by the owner of the studio. The first of my studio recordings were a pair of “post-industrial techno-rap” songs, “Threshold/Infotoxin” and “Einstein’s Brain”, done in Atlanta in the spring of 1985. These songs got airplay on maybe a dozen college radio stations over the next year. I was big-time!!!! The first time I ever played “live” in front of an audience was that first Widespread Panic show in Athens in June of 1985.
Through the rest of the 80’s and all through the 90’s I would on occasion do a studio recording here and there, depending where I was or who I might meet. I would also do an occasional live gig, mainly in either Athens or Boulder, where I would pull together some of who I considered to be excellent local talent, then we would just do a spontaneous live jam on stage. These always turned out extremely well. We did a few in Boulder that people said sounded like Miles Davis and Weather Report; in November of 1989, we did one at Quigley’s, a coffee-shop at CU-Boulder, where we showed the film 2001: A Space Odyssey and jammed an alternative sound-track for it, in honor of the peak in the sunspot cycle happening at that time. Probably the best live gig we ever did was an outdoor jam for Earth Day 1992 at the University of Georgia in Athens. The feedback was great; but the guitarist forgot to turn on the DAT machine, so the show went totally unrecorded.
In 1985 I had decided to use the name The Brink for all of my musical projects. I thought it summed up the state-of-the-world at the time…the Reagan administration threatening to nuke the Soviet Union’s “evil empire.” And being an ecological and information activist I was acutely aware of the many problems confronting humanity as one of many life-forms on the Earth. I realized that the word “brink” has a heavy connotation to most people…the “brink of doom”, the “brink of destruction”, the “brink of extinction.” But I defined the brink as the limit of our perception, the horizon of navigation…not an edge we can fall off of! Many people had told me that I should do the sound-track for a science-fiction movie, based on how my music sounded. The Brink sounded like a good name to use.
In 1998 I recorded what was to become my first cd, The White Electric Dog Transmissions. I did it in Portland, Oregon on July 23, the date of the Egyptian new year, after flying over to Salt Lake City and hitching down into the Four-corners area, where New Mexico, Arizona, Utah, and Colorado all meet, to gather energy and inspiration. According to the Hopi Indians, this area is the “navel of the Earth” and is a major planetary vortex. This recording consists of nine grand piano improvisations, and is so-called because according to Jose Arguelles’ Mayan calendar, that day was the “white electric world-bridger”, and the Egyptian new year was when the star Sirius, the “dog star”, became visible again after 70 days of being in conjunction with the sun. This music expresses a lot of feelings I have; it’s not about the notes or technical ability or lack thereof. It’s about conveying a sense of the cosmos…and the uncertainty of the human condition and the sadness of Mother Earth at what we are doing to her.