I made this music video as the summer was dying off into the first pandemic autumn. Not saying what it meant to me, I’m hoping it will mean something for someone else. Music never fails to speak, but we seem to be hearing it differently.
In early May 2020 OddGrooves.com shared a generous gift with the worldwide musician’s community, the Lockdown Grooves Pack. A free pack of drum kit performances by master drummer Magnus Brandell. Being a long-time OddGroves fan I grabbed the download right away and found this pack-of-drummings extremely inspiring for a song idea I was working on. I had already been using OddGrooves for some time, and this pack locked in so nicely with this Phrygian mode instrumental piece. Magnus Brandell plays the drums with a deep understanding of the story-telling aspects of musical performance. Ghost hits, fills, and transitions are not just thrown in at specific points, they are all parts of a continuously evolving rhythm vibe through-out the long drum kit performance. Exactly the type of drumming that inspires me as a player and composer. I felt how my sax and guitar improvisations along this track in C Phrygian came out like “standing on the shoulders of giants”… he, he… in this case the shoulders of Drummer Giant Brandell :-) Thank you, Magnus. Good job!
OddGrooves announced a contest, “to support musicians around the world to go creative during the Corona Lockdown”, and I submitted this instrumental track. A week later I was informed that my piece had won the contest, sharing the highest rank prize with three other submissions.
The Phrygian mode has a certain evil side to it, that I like. Neither minor nor major, it stays in a grey zone that you normally just pass by on your way somewhere else. Much like dusk, the shortly flickering passage between day and night. But Phrygia nails you to the coffin while the same notes keep coming back in ever-shifting series of various configurations. And Phrygian can be extremely dissonant. I think listeners may instinctively experience these characteristics as an instant threat, thus causing the well-known “flavor of evil” we know Phrygian for.
In this track, I’m playing my EWI loaded with a SWAM tenor sax patch by AudioModeling and my 8-stringed *strandberg guitar with a slightly rough flintstone pick through an Axe-Fx-III. I also played the eighth notes based bass line with this guitar. The spiccato strings are from Spitfire Audio’s sampler library Symphonic Chamber Strings. Finally, the virtual drum kit I slapped maestro Magnus Brandell’s MIDI files over is the Superior Drummer 3 from Toontrack.
Filmed with a Sony A6500 hybrid camera. The panning background loop was filmed with a GoPro8.
Software used: VEGAS Pro 17, Sound Forge 12, Cubase 10.5.
My YouTube channel is about original music performed from heart to heart, and the instruments I prefer to play are:
– The Guitar (6-stringed, 7-stringed, 8-stringed, fretless, harp guitar, acoustic)
– The Chapman Stick Guitar SG-12 (26,5″ scale)
– The Chapman Stick Grand (12-stringed, 36″ scale)
– The EWI (Electronic Wind Instrument)
– The Electric Cello
– The Tenor Saxophone
– The Alto Traverse Flute
– The Sitar
– The Electric Fretless Harp Guitar by Tim Donahue
Here’s a nice film that uses music I created by playing my Tenor Sax and Mobius looper; i.e. my “meta instrument for live looping”. This approach to live looping is different than the typical “Boss looping pedal layering” technique in that it draws on the methods discovered in the fifties by the folks involved with Musique Concrete at IRCAM in Paris (as well as the San Fransisco Tape Music Centre). Everything Pierre Schaeffer could do in the fifties with tape and scissors can now be done instantly while also playing an instrument to provide the source audio to be processed. The video was shot in New York while the cut-up performing technique of this saxophone goes back to Paris; both cities often associated with the Tenor Sax.