Notes to Future Selves
This is a compilation of recordings from 1980-1996, ranging from jazz fusion, to improvised electric music, to electronic classical.
Compared to the 1998 release Accidental Beauties, while most of these pieces are also based on or feature improvised elements, they are generally less abstract and more composed.
“Very romantic in gesture and phrasing, and richness of harmony.”
This summer, two years after moving to California, I found myself wondering about the location and condition of some of my old recordings. In the fall I began listening and digitizing. These are the compositions and performances which have best stood the test of time for me.
Through the Blue was my first jazz instrumental, composed in November 1977. In early 1979 some of my high school jazz band mates invited me to join Streamline. This recording is from our last performance, at the Ithaca Festival in June 1980.
I met Pat Cahill in late 1981. We immediately hit it off musically and formed Simon Jester, performing original instrumentals around Ithaca through 1982. Pat and I began writing and playing together again as a sequencer-assisted duo in 1985 after he moved to New York. Dancer/percussionist Frey Faust later joined us and we did a few performances in NYC. The Many Faces of Grey and Those Who Stay were composed in 1986, recorded in 1986 and 1988 respectively.
Weapons and Hope is the title track of a compilation I made for Christmas 1987. It included a number of extended solo synthesizer improvisations using David Zicarelli’s OvalTune (then called Music Moose), an interactive algorithmic music generator. I didn’t use OvalTune on this piece, but it’s used in What’s Next, composed in February 1988 and included on an August 1989 compilation, Presence. By this time, I’d been in California for over a year, and musically, was working alone with a sequencer and OvalTune.
As I Am, As I Dream to Be and Rediscovery were both composed in Feburary 1990 and appear on a March 1991 recording, Higher Forces. I hear a tension between improvisation and composition in the pieces from this period. Beginning in about 1985 I almost always began composing by recording improvisations, sometimes using OvalTune. One route was to let the original improvisation stand (or fall) on its own. By 1991, however, I was heavily editing, and composing on top of, the original improvisations, using OvalTune in a more compositional manner, and sometimes composing from scratch instead of beginning with recorded improvisations.
In fall 1991 I moved back to Ithaca and became more deeply influenced by David Borden’s music. Inspired by his Anagram Portraits, I composed I, Bold at Winter’s Day (an anagram for Linda Brodie Wyatt) a few days before Christmas. I hear a reference to “O Come All Ye Faithful” in one of the themes.
I wrote Angelo in 1992 after being moved by the soundtrack to Twin Peaks: Fire Walk With Me, composed by Angelo Badalamenti. ("My (musical) world is a little bit dark... a little bit off-center. I think of it as tragically beautiful.”) This arrangement was recorded in spring 1996.
Doug Wyatt: keyboards, production