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Experiential Science Fiction

Last Ride In Leonardo Da Vinci’s Helicopter by Bart Hawkins

Self released on Bandcamp, March 5th, 2021

Enter an entirely new world of instrumental electronic music that has been created, produced, composed, mixed and mastered by Bart Hawkins on a modular synthesizer. This type of synthesizer can be operated using no keyboards, which creates a sound that is sometimes more about layers, rather than focusing on melodics. This is a time travel adventure, each track is a different destination, so buckle up. In my opinion, this album brings a completely new way to experience audio perception, Hawkins has invented a form of phenomenal listening matter pioneering an entirely new genre that I am now calling “Experiential Science Fiction.”

Music can be a mystical and magical experience, and using his modular synthesizer, Hawkins has opened an aesthetic study of the structures of experience and consciousness. In his own words, “I believe that instrumental music has the ability to transcend time and space, languages, conflicts both internal and external, and has the power to unite. Music has the ability to unlock limitless creativity by creating new nonlinear pathways in the brain and provides a healing experience to see the world in a new light.”

In the spring of 2017 Hawkins started to build his own modular synth, starting with a Make Noise DPO (dual oscillator), Optomix, Maths, and Morphagene, Mutable Instruments Clouds and Peaks, Intellijel UVCA II and Metropolis, Mannequins Three Sisters filter and a few others, creating the elements of the sounds, like a painter that makes her or his own paint, as was the way things were done in Da Vinci’s time.

Leonardo di ser Piero da Vinci, was born out of wedlock to a notary, Piero da Vinci, and a peasant woman, Caterina, in Vinci, Italy, which is near the ancient city of Florence. He was most famous as a painter, he also became universally well known for his notebooks, in which he made drawings and notes on his thoughts about anatomy, astronomy, botany, cartography, painting, palaeontology and his inventions. He had sketches of his helicopter, and now that is all that remains. With this album by Bart Hawkins, you become Da Vinci’s co-pilot for a short time, you get the final ride in Leonardo Da Vinci’s Helicopter. As you lift off, you will see the world in a complexly new perspective that has never been available to anyone before.

The opening track of Last Ride In Leonardo Da Vinci’s Helicopter is “The WABAC Machine” (8:45). The Wavelength Acceleration Bidirectional Asynchronous Controller provided many instructional lessons on life and the experience of history, which has shaped generations that followed. The WABAC Machine was invented by the eminent canine scholar, known only as Mr. Peabody, at the dawn of commercial television broadcasting. His insightful lessons were featured on the weekly television program, aired from November 19, 1959 to June 27, 1964, originally known as Rocky and His Friends. Mr. Peabody’s weekly televised demonstrations of his invention were prominently featured on the short episodes of his series “Peabody’s Improbable History.”

Bioluminescence is light made by a living organism. All bioluminescent organisms have in common that the reaction of a “luciferin” and oxygen is catalyzed by a luciferase to produce light. Luciferase comes from the Latin word for “light bearer.” According to some of the ancient glowworm cave legends, the larvae spin a spherical web to catch their prey. These floating ball webs with the glowworm in the center, look like floating balls of light, turning the cave into an underground disco rave party. “Glowworm Caves” (10:49) is a journey under the earth, the caves are deep, the worms are very small but there are hungry legions of them, so watch where you place your carbon wetpack.

Another interesting “fun fact” of these same ancient legends is that the light that these unique worms make is their form of excretion. Rather than ejecting solid or liquid waste, the glowworm converts the leftover matter into light that’s used to attract its prey. Insects see this and think they’re seeing stars, and fly toward the light. So the glowworms are carnivorous, but are also highly evolved consumers that convert their waste matter into light. Scientists might one day be investigating the ways of these legendary cryptids as we learn to mitigate our own problems with constantly creating waste.

Just when you think you are awake, you find yourself trapped inside yet another larger construct designed to keep you from actually being “awake.” On this next adventure, you might need a flashlight, and chances are you will be unaware of your own awareness, “It’s 3am, Do You Know Where Your Unconscious Mind Is?” (11:02). Wormholes create a permanent effect on the space-time continuum as the delayed-choice/quantum eraser have shown how time can go backwards, how cause and effect can be reversed, and how the future caused the past. Our choice in the present moment affected what had already happened in the past.

When I take a close look on the back of the album’s packaging, regarding the instruments used in creating this album, I see no mention of anything but a modular synthesizer, no guitars, however, with sound sampling technology there are infinite possibilities for sound sources while maintaining fidelity to modular synthesizer technology. To settle my curiosity, I emailed the composer himself and asked him my question: Is there a guitar heard on the track “Transmission One” (11:47)? He sent me an illuminating reply.

“I travel with a little Tascam recorder just in case I come across an opportunity like this. The world is full of sounds just waiting to be ‘voiced’. I was at my brother’s house for Thanksgiving a few years back. I picked up his electric guitar and laid it on my lap and started making textural sounds that I could use later. So thanks Ross for the use of your guitar.”

Some of the other sampled sound sources heard on this track include a 1957 Helicrafters shortwave radio, which is a portal through which voices of the past call out to you. I find this to be very scary because the people who made these expressions are all gone forever, except for what is heard on this recording. They seem so real, speaking from the darkness of the ether.

The fear of the voices of the dead is nothing compared to the imagined sensation of whirling blades that will actually pass through you on this next track, just remember that this is an illusion, remain calm and you will come out with no permanent scars or marks on your beloved personal wet carbon-based matter. One of the deadly sins humans inhabit is consumerism. Hawkins has something to say about this on the 5th track, “Gluttony: Consumerism’s Hold On You” (8:47).

“What I call consumerism is not just what we eat and buy, but what we consume as information from our screens, not fully knowing ‘narratives’ from the truth. This blurring of reality becomes “you are what you eat” and begs the question “are you real or is it Memorex”? And just like the glowworms that convert waste into light, nature provides the solution of our over consumption and its byproducts.

“The more we perceive separation, the more our solutions will exacerbate the very problems we are trying to “solve.” The only way out of this exponential loop where “the road to hell is paved with good intentions” is a personal and collective shift to unify all things we perceive as separate.”

The sixth track is the end of the program and the beginning of a completely new way to view your life on earth. Your pilot here is Mr. Da Vinci himself, and while he is busy operating his flying machine, you are able to look out over this strange new frontier, on the album’s self-named track “Final Ride In Leonardo Da Vinci’s Helicopter” (8:43). As you see this new world emerge, you turn to your pilot, Mr. Da Vinci, to acknowledge him for his far seeing imagination.

After many years working professionally as an electronic media artist primarily in visual realms with cameras, Bart’s current phase of his artistic odyssey has led to his recent emergence as a sound composer, which was predicted by a deeper background in the fine arts. He started off as a sculptor, working with metal. You can hear the sounds of electrified metal all throughout his albums. Hawkins began in the early 80’s when his practice of Zen Meditation and love of the Berlin School style of electronic music drew him into a world of musical landscapes, sonic textures, and silence, sparking a spiritual awakening into the power of sound. “This is active listening, meant to engage your mind’s ability to visualize what you are hearing and using your imagination to create your own listening experience. It’s art for your ears and inner eyes.”

His first album, 21 Pulse Eclipse, was released in 2019 on the Spotted Peccary Music label. 21 Pulse Eclipse is all about the sounds of electricity and energy, lingering in the mind. When certain tones and sounds are combined, they can produce harmonic or inharmonic values. This becomes the core of creating tension and release within all music. With the right combination of sounds, you can levitate the human experience to a very high level or down to its lowest depth in the unconscious mind. Sound can transform, not only mental states of being but can transform physical states as well. Sound can physically heal cells in the body and also destroy cells. Sound can levitate objects, create geometrical patterns (cymatics), travel between universes, and can be expressed in mathematical and astronomical equations. Sound can be very personal and universal at the same time.

“For me art is a calling. I believe we are ‘Creators in training’ and Earth is the school grounds on which this creativity comes to life. Having a strong imagination, good intuition and finding your passion, is vital for a happy creative, healthy and connective life. In my early 20’s I fabricated metal sculptures and painted a bit. I chose a profession of cinematography and film editing, because I love the concept of sculpting visuals and sound together, as Andre Tarkosky puts it “sculpting in time.”

1 The WABAC Machine
2 Glowworm Caves
3 It’s 3am, Do You Know Where Your Unconscious Mind Is?
4 Transmission One
5 Gluttony: Consumerism’s Hold On You
6 Final Ride In Leonardo Da Vinci’s Helicopter

Intrepid Mirage Chaser

Composers sometimes seek new timbres, art music once modeled on Baroque and early classical forms can now emerge free from traditions. Central to the story are the tensions and the intimacy developed between the musicians, the composer, and of course, the listener, but this distinction is far from rigid. Acting now as a strange composite being that is never alien to the concert hall, yet free to dwell anywhere and be conjured at any time by the touch of a button, the moments of true intimacy occur whenever the spirit moves one to give oneself up to it. Enter a zone of magic, a close understanding of shared musical experience that is performed by a small number of performers.

Jeff Greinke is a musician, composer, performer, and sound sculptor who is known worldwide for his unique sound. Through a highly developed process of layering, Jeff composes and performs music rich in texture, depth, mood, and subtle detail. Using various acoustic and electronic instruments, found sounds, and extended studio techniques, Jeff sculpts sound worlds that conjure a strong sense of place, hovering somewhere between the exotic and the familiar. With numerous releases to his credit, Greinke has been an active artist for more than three decades and has composed music for film, video, dance, theater, radio, and art installations. OTHER WEATHER, is Jeff’s fourth release on the Spotted Peccary label. His previous SPM releases include BEFORE SUNRISE (SPM-3701), VIRGA (LSM16), and WINTER LIGHT (LSM09). Jeff’s music can also be heard on numerous compilation recordings.

What you will hear is ambient electronic instrumental music that is based on acoustic instruments including piano, cello, viola, violin, French horn, clarinets, flutes, and small percussion, blended subtle and exquisitely with electronica from a Roland FA 06 workstation, Ensoniq ASR 10 sampling keyboard, and an iPad equipped with the Animoog app. All of the music on Other Weather was composed, arranged, and produced by Jeff Greinke. The album was recorded at Another Room studio, in Tucson, and Invisible Studio, in Seattle. The Seattle session was engineered by Rob Angus, and Howard Givens of Spotted Peccary Music mastered it all.

01 A Stretch of Sun 4:35
02 Rain Through the Night 4:01
03 Falling Sky 5:19
04 Rising Cumulus 4:28
05 Snow Across a Windswept Plain 9:06
06 Clouds Like Flying Saucers 4:20
07 Outflow 4:38
08 Storm Chaser 5:42
09 After the Rain 3:50
10 Icebreaker 7:26
11 Across the Sky 5:42

High-level stratocumuli form clouds open out before me, an enchanted world of the genus cirrocumulus forms, where snow begins when moist air at high tropospheric altitude reaches saturation, creating eloquent ice crystals or supercooled water droplets. Other Weather presents with eleven pieces, chiefly excited by movements taking place high up in the air. The overall mood of Other Weather is subtle, the sound is primed for interpretation, like clouds, with a huge vista appearing solid while being gentle. The sound possesses a quite extraordinary range of different timbres and vibrates along with the air inside it. The sensation is of the instruments having a conversation or perhaps painting a picture, always truly beautiful, and often formed by woven piano with strings and various wind instrument combinations, a complex satin fabric of sound.

The opening track celebrates the vibrant introspective ascendance of the piano, the gossamer light texture of spirit and form floating in the sky, slow, supernatural and dreamy, with subtle electronic highlights and drifting melody fragments. “A Stretch of Sun” (04:35), Greinke makes use of the extra brightness, which vibrates to produce appreciable magic.

Full, lustrous, and metallic, a clear, clean, and brilliant sound, “Rain Through the Night” (04:00), is an introspective piano and percussion exposition, building out of the heart of darkness and joined by subtle sensuous deep strings with a mellow, dark and rich tone. My favorite track of this album is “Falling Sky” (05:19), coming in with very distant cold shimmering glimmers of tones, subtle glimpses of approaching astral matter traversing from so far away. A dreamy piano emerges from electronic clouds that hang there.

Cumulus clouds are rounded masses heaped upon each other above a flat base that hangs in the sky. These are the big puffy clouds you see most of the time, but they can appear to be quite huge and rise to fantastic distances. Cumulo is a Latin word that means heap or pile. “Rising Cumulus” (04:27) features a piano joined by bowed strings, building to great heights, massive acoustic forms accentuated by emerging electronics and shapes that continue on and on, building and ascending, a thread woven through, blending and balancing, a beautiful, mellow, sweet tone. Depending on the atmospheric conditions, cumulus clouds can eventually turn into other types of clouds, including storm clouds, also known as thunderheads or cumulonimbus clouds.

As with 2018’s Before Sunrise, Other Weather spans the genres of modern classical, electronic, and ambient as it gently evolves through a refined set of impressionistic ambient chamber music. Blending electronic ambiences and effects with an acoustic ensemble that includes cello, viola, violin, French horn, clarinets, flutes, and small percussion, Greinke realizes his musical vision through an empirical process of improvisation and experimentation, combining tracks and layering sounds, and uncovering the magical moments as they reveal themselves.

The title Other Weather refers to Greinke’s very personal and experiential relationship with the weather, especially the beautiful and sometimes indescribable meteorological phenomena that aren’t often noticed or talked about. Greinke explains, “My interest in the weather has always been predominantly experiential, and as I get older I find myself attracted to its subtler and quieter aspects. I see a connection between this interest and the kind of music I like to make. This feels especially true with this album.”

Jeff Greinke has been a composer since 1980, and he has dedicated nearly 40 years to making and recording music. He has performed throughout North America, as well as Europe and China, and his music has been heard in theatre, radio, art installations, and major motion picture trailers.

Greinke describes his very specific and timely inspiration for Other Weather, “I live in the Sonoran Desert, just outside Tucson. In late April and early October there is a brief window – maybe a week or two – when a variety of conditions come together to create an almost magical environment. It’s a feeling in the air produced by a combination of the temperature being just right – 84 or 85 degrees, the air being perfectly calm, warm early dusk light and low relative humidity. It lasts maybe 10 minutes. It’s an experience that is beyond words for me. It’s utterly exquisite.”

DARK AND SONOROUS IMPRESSIONS ABOVE an insulating blanket of diamond dust, what you will hear is an orchestral meditation on a big-sky winter horizon, an endless horizontal vanishing point under an infinite outlook. The hunter-magicians play their musical bows, Heather Bentley on cello, viola, and violin; Greg Campbell on French horn and small percussion; Alex Guy on viola; and Paris Hurley on the violin. “Snow Across a Windswept Plain” (09:05), interleaving a slow, melancholic section, the snow drifts with the wind leaving sastrugi forms, which are the wave-like ridges caused by wind erosion on the surface of mature snow.

Greinke sometimes fearlessly includes the squeaks and bowing sounds that real instruments make, and that adds a lot of emotional depth to the pictures that he paints with his compositions, thus the sound characteristics of the violin are not predetermined by the score, but their presence is accommodated to bring about a deeper realization of the intended compositional design.

From silence there is a lustrous distant sound, we are drawn in closer and pause to hear some fine details, then we float on beyond the source, and our perception of the sound fades, the music possibly forever continuing in our absence. Piano and classical guitar glide together using subtle phasing techniques to layer up lots of depth and gradual motion across the sky, to create a tone poem that defies categorization, “Clouds Like Flying Saucers” (04:19). Now join a search for new resonance and a new type of voice for the keyboard dream machine, “Outflow” (04:38), with electronica arranged in changing layers, bits of piano sustaining this solemn transfer, with sparkles and hints of complex forms hidden inside.

Imagine you are flying low over ruins in the wilderness, in this dream you discover gigantic towering cities fogbound in a foreign imagination, a mill of odd sounds, drones echo through the streets, large pieces of metal are driven through a wavy haze, then you encounter what sounds like chattering robots… at one point a huge bell can be heard in the distance, spooky and wonderful. This was how I reviewed an album by Jeff Greinke in 1985 titled Over Ruins, which was released on his label, Intrepid.

Greinke is an American jazz musician, ambient electronic composer, performer, sound sculptor, improvisor, and visual artist. He began composing and performing music in 1980 while studying meteorology at Pennsylvania State University, and moved to Seattle in 1982. There during that same year on his newly established label, Intrepid, he released three cassette albums (later re-released in vinyl and then digital formats), Before the Storm, Neanderthal String Quartet and Night and Fog. He has since released more than two dozen other recordings on various U.S. and European labels. He has composed music for film, video, dance, theatre, radio, and art installations. His music was used as the soundtrack for the trailer of Ron Howard’s film “The Missing.”

In 1993 Greinke founded the group LAND, featuring Lesli Dalaba (trumpet), Dennis Rea (guitar), Bill Rieflin (drums) and Fred Chalenor (bass). LAND released three albums between 1995 and 2001: Land, Archipelago, and Road Movies. LAND played live extensively, including a 1996 tour of China, Hong Kong, and Macau. In addition to his solo performance activities, Greinke is also one half of the duo Hana with Sky Cries Mary vocalist Anisa Romero. Hana has released two albums, Hana and Omen.

These days he is currently based in Tucson, Arizona. Greinke’s unique approach to his ambient work is to heavily layer, multitrack, and texture soundscapes, using the studio as an instrument. His early work often has a dark ambient quality, with his earlier solo albums often compared to works by Robert Rich, Brian Eno, and Vidna Obmana. His sound is always changing, like the weather, from rain and wind to endless blue skies with delicately drifting clouds.

Greinke is a smiling, bespectacled and unassuming person to behold, but as a musical legend he is moving at great speed, today I am only going to try to describe a few of the highlights of his accomplishments. The sound spans the genres of modern classical, electronic, and ambient as it gently evolves through a refined set of impressionistic ambient chamber music. Blending electronic ambiences and effects with an acoustic ensemble that includes cello, viola, violin, French horn, clarinets, flutes, and small percussion, Greinke realizes his musical vision through an empirical process of improvisation and experimentation, combining tracks and layering sounds, and uncovering the magical moments as they reveal themselves.

I began our correspondence-based conversation about his music by asking him a fundamental question about his methods for making music. This is what he shared with me.

JEFF GREINKE: My approach is intuitive and somewhat improvisational.

My task as a composer is to carry out this great longing I have to make music, and to make something I find beautiful and that others will too.

I have been so deeply moved by the music of others, almost daily it seems, it’s in some way my attempt to give back.

For me the act of listening is absolutely intrinsic and an integral part of my process. In fact, I came to making music, which began at the age of 20, as a dedicated listener and promoter of other’s works though hosting a variety of radio programs and sponsoring live performances. Through those venues of sharing music I love with others, I met my now long-time friend Rob Angus, who was studying film and music at the university. We fast became friends and he invited me into the electronic music studio at school with him to experiment. My career path established itself, so to speak, then and there, and I decided to pursue a life of composing, recording and performing music.

The process I discovered while experimenting with Rob and one I carried into my solo work, has its fundamental basis in listening. I developed an empirical process of layering, recording track upon track, and listening back to hear how things were working (or not). There is a fair amount of improvisation involved and that allows for exciting “accidents” to happen, or random chance combinations of sonic events that create unique and exciting results. This is how I sometimes experience sounds in nature happening and to some extent I’m after that quality with what I create.

ROBIN JAMES: How do you fit your imagination’s visual side with your music?

JG: Without a doubt there’s a strong relationship there. It’s mostly subconscious. How my imagination and visual experiences influence or co-mingle with my music is an interesting question, but one I don’t have a direct or definitive answer for.

Over my rather long life, at 61, I have been to a fair number of places and have taken in many different landscapes, urban settings, meteorological phenomena, etc. I have a strong visceral appreciation for most any environment I find myself in and am acutely aware of the moods of these places, the light, the sounds, how the air feels, what the sky looks like, the clouds etc. With one exception as it pertains to my recordings, I do not set out to make a piece of music or an album related to a specific experience. It’s more of a culmination of these experiences that work their way into what I end up making in the studio sonically.

The one exception being my 1985 record Cities In Fog, which was consciously and specifically created from a particular collection of experiences living in Seattle, taking late night walks on a hill above a canal and distant shipyard, often in fog listening to the clankings going on in the warehouses of the shipyard and the further away calls from the tugs on the Puget Sound, all muted by the late night fog setting over the city.

Living in Arizona is a very different experience, of course, but no less fascinating. Spending most of my time here and in northern New Mexico outside Taos with my girlfriend, I take in all that these wide-open landscapes have to offer. I’m very fond of taking road trips to rural places and Arizona and New Mexico have an abundance of the locales. I think my more current work reflects these experiences.

RJ: What have been your most important musical discoveries? What changed your direction as you were finding your way?

JG: There are four artists I can think of right now that pointed me in the direction I wanted to take my work:

David Moss and his record Terrain. I discovered this album right about the time Rob was invited to work with him in the studio at college. This is a little known artist and album that’s never been released on CD nor is it streamable as far as I know. Moss is a drummer, percussionist, and vocalist. On this record, using a four track tape deck, he layered various kinds of percussion, sound makers, and vocal sounds that conjures for me these beautiful flowing rivers of odd sounds. This taught me about the importance of texture as a component of music and also gave me the springboard from which to start making sounds in the studio, since I didn’t already play an instrument, and that was to use my voice as a source of making a wide variety of sounds. This was hugely impactful for me.

Basil Kirchin and the album Worlds Within Worlds – I believe this album (now hard to find) was recorded in the mid-70’s using synthesizers and the recording of autistic children altered with processors. He slowed the spoken phrases down, probably half speed, and the resultant effect was to create these incredibly haunting soundscapes. It taught me the power of altering found sounds to create a surreal soundscape.

Harold BuddPlateaux of Mirror (with Brian Eno) – I fell in love with Budd’s slow, simple piano lines. It taught me the power of doing more with less

Brian EnoOn Land When I first heard this album in 1980 I wasn’t quite sure what to make of it. It sounded nice, but I missed so much. Over time it grew on me deeply, and I became very enamored with how well he evoked an otherworldly setting in my imagination using found sounds altered, synthesizers, and perhaps a guitar and bass. It was a musical landscape and unlike anything I had heard before. This happened at a very formative time just as I was beginning to make music, and I decided, not so consciously, that I wanted to create music that had a similar landscape quality about it. It also showed me how powerful using sounds in a subtle way and how important placement of those sounds in the overall mix is.

RJ: I see that you have an interesting new performance coming up, a 3-Day Streamed Event March 26-28 on YouTube, an International gathering of sonic innovators and ambient architects, a continuous flow of streamed performances, audio-video wonder worlds and deep immersion zones that will burn bright on ambient music pioneer Steve Roach’s YouTube channel… Tell me about the SoundQuest Fest 2021.

JG: Soundquest 2021 this year will be a festival of various electronic based musicians from the US and Europe performing from their homes due to the pandemic. I’m happy to be part of it and honored to be amongst such good company.

This approach to performing is entirely new to me, and being somewhat technologically ignorant, especially when it comes to video, a somewhat daunting task to undertake.

It has been great to switch gears from the recording studio and return to focus on performance. Those who tune in will see me essentially doing what I do to create a recorded piece of music in the studio live on the spot.

RJ: Where do you come up with your best ideas that you might end up applying to a score?

JG: I try to take a long walk every day, mostly in the desert, and that’s when I do my clearest and most productive thinking around my work.

RJ: How do you prepare for a performance or recording session?

JG: I don’t really have any rituals prior to heading into the studio. I just fire things up and start working.

For performances, if I can, I like to rest, take a short nap if possible. I like a light meal before a gig and enjoy sharing that with others when collaborating or when they might be on the same bill.

RJ: Your work has many influences, lots of environmental themes, also weather related, how would you describe your inspiration by the natural world?

JG: My inspiration from the natural world is, as described above, strong. I’m fortunate to live in a house surrounded by natural desert, saguaros, a wide variety of cacti, small trees, desert scrub, lots of rock and dirt, and a variety of wildlife – coyotes, rabbits, deer, javelinas, snakes, a wide variety of birds, lizards, and some exotic insects. Undoubtedly, this has an influence on the kind of music I make, but much less direct than how, for instance, Cities in Fog was made.

As for the weather and its influence on my work, I have always had a fascination with the weather. I spent a lot of time as a child gazing out the window. When it snowed, which was never often enough, I became obsessive about watching it fall. I ended up pursuing it in college and obtained a degree in meteorology from Penn State University, one of the best meteo schools in the country. I discovered, however, toward the end of my time there, that the academic side to studying meteorology did not interest me very much. What I love is my experience of various meteorological events, especially those that are visceral and visual. Over time I’ve become more focused and appreciative of the subtler and quieter aspects of these experiences – the feeling of the air when everything lines up perfectly – temperature, humidity, no wind or breeze, the quality of light – that to me is rare and very special and beyond words. Or the mood just after a desert rain, as the sun starts peeking through the remaining dark clouds, and the creosote bush releases its incredible fragrance.

RJ: What are some of the most memorable places that you have been and how does travel influence your music?

JG: My six months in SE Asia – Indonesia, Malaysia, Singapore, Thailand, Laos – back in 1989 was phenomenal and deeply impactful. I went in part out of my love for Javanese Gamelan music and I was fortunate enough to hear a lot of it during my six weeks in Java. Experiencing those performances, and that dreamy sound, outdoors in centuries old court yards, was something I’ll never forget. I recorded a couple of albums after I returned – Changing Skies and In Another Place – where one can hear the influence of my travel there.

Touring with my band LAND in China was unforgettable. It wasn’t influential musically, but the experience was a once-in-a-lifetime event for me.

Otherwise, it’s the more localized road trips that inspire me musically, particularly to places very rural with little or long abandoned human activity. It’s the collage of nature and human inhabitation that intrigues me.

RJ: Is Hana still active?

JG: Hana is neither dead or alive. Anisa and I are in frequent contact, and have discussed reviving Hana, but it just hasn’t happened as yet.

RJ: One of your many enterprises was managing your own label Intrepid, how did that start? Where are you now?

JG: Rob and I created Intrepid back in the early-mid ‘80s in order to get our music out there – at first with cassette releases, then my first LP Cities in Fog. There may have been a few more cassette releases after that, but I began finding other labels to release my work and Intrepid simply faded out.

RJ: You have had many side jobs making your way to the world of professional musicianship, what kinds of things have you done to create income as you engage the work of composing?

JG: When music was my primary focus, I worked in restaurants mostly, but also as a delivery driver and cleaning houses. In time I realized making the kind of music I make wasn’t going to generate a sustainable living, so being good with numbers, I decided to become an accountant with the interest of helping other musicians and artists with their books and taxes. That expanded into full time work and music drifted further into the background as I began focusing more of my free time on domestic projects. Although I have my own accounting practice and continue to work full-time (often more), I have now organized my life in such a way so as to leave considerable room for music making.

RJ: What is your advice to artists who are considering starting their careers as professional musicians?

JG: It’s a tough road and to have a backup plan early on as to finding an alternative means to support oneself comfortably enough for the remainder of one’s life if and when things don’t work out in such a way that music making is one’s primary means of support.

That said, if the call is there, and one is passionate, disciplined, and driven, then don’t ignore that call and otherwise choose a path less satisfying based on fear.

RJ: What emerging artists might you recommend that we listen to?

JG: I’m not sure about emerging artists, but I’m happy to share with you artists who are most inspiring to me these days.

Olafur Arnalds – I can’t seem to get enough of his beautiful music

Nils Frahm

Chad Lawson

Max Richter

Arve Henriksen

Niklas Paschburg

Hania Rani

And I still listen to Eno, Budd, Hassel, Glass, Reich.

Other Weather was composed, arranged, and produced by Jeff Greinke, recorded at Another Room, Tucson, and Invisible Studio, Seattle; the Seattle session was engineered by Rob Angus, the album was mastered by Howard Givens, and is available for physical purchase in CD format and in 24-BIT AUDIOPHILE, CD QUALITY LOSSLESS, MP3 and streaming formats. The physical CD version of Other Weather arrives in a factory sealed 6-panel gatefold package that includes vibrant artwork, liner notes, a 4-page booklet, and exquisite package design by Daniel Pipitone.

More Links:

Jeff Greinke:
BrainVoyager review:
CD unboxing:
SoundQuest Fest 2010:


Rhyming Dragons – Synergetic Saxophilia

Two monsters of the single reed doing the sway. Oh, wait, what about the rhythm section? They brought their own! This duo has the intuitive chemistry that comes only from epochs of experience playing together. Jeff Coffin on tenor sax, bass flute, bass clarinet, and clarinet; one finishes the other’s groove. Derek Brown on the tenor sax, baritone sax, sax percussion (that’s the slap-beat thing he is famous for), and of course the wind sounds. Each track delivers lots of complexity, tricky syncopation, cadence and weaving. Most of the compositions are Coffin/Brown, with the exception of “Up Jump” (1:35) by Coffin alone. My favorite tracks are “The Belly Crawl” (4:44) because the two components do a sly slow wailing dance, and “The Mess Around” (3:40) brings a swirling response team pulse that is ticklish.

Here is my interview with Derek Brown, required reading, quiz afterwards.

Altogether a sax dragon’s heliport to outer heavenlyville, showing the joy of the instrument’s sound. There is room at the dragon’s table for everyone, something the beginning band class can study and take home, and something for the advanced hipsters out there, you dig?

1 Chunk (3:39) Coffin/Brown
2 The Belly Crawl (4:44) Coffin/Brown
3 Up Jump (1:35) Coffin
4 Roundabout (3:51) Coffin/Brown
5 The Mirage (4:20) Coffin/Brown
6 The Mess Around (3:40) Coffin/Brown
7 Somewhere I Can’t Recall (4:29) Coffin/Brown



Okay, here is the promised quiz: What is jazz?

dream old

we were all confused, what to do where to go

the crowd just kept getting bigger and bigger, it was dark and hard to see, the edge of panic setting in

someone put up a sign, the sign named an old rock band, everyone who remembered and loved that band moved towards the sign, another and another, the centers of the crowd kept growing, more people

we were all stuck with each other nowhere else to go

time went on anyway

The Continuing Adventures of the Umbrella Person

Strange Gravity–w8gvsw5dcollginq


Stillness of Power

SHUNIA, by Shunia, features the fusion of classical instruments from different countries, multiple styles of vocals, and the focusing energy of ancient chants to bring feelings of joy, hope, and awareness to Western culture at a crucial moment in time. Shunia is a duo comprised of Lisa Reagan and Suzanne Jackson, the word “shunia” (shoon-ya) means a stillness of power — quiet, unmoving, and totally focused. The core of the music is the synergy of these two voices in combination with various instruments, and on this, their second album, there is the amazing voice of Hassan Hakmoun on several tracks and the contributions of the legendary Jamshied Sharifi and flutist Jay Ghandi. The sound is a blend of chant, mantra and opera, always positive and uplifting. The music emanates empathic confidence, creating a sound that succeeds at reducing stress, promoting relaxation, and improving emotional health.

You can listen here:

You can find the music here:

You can find the video versions of some of their songs here:

Here is the full version of this story:

The first mantra on Shunia, “Sa Re Sa Sa,” removes negativity from within, awakening the infinite creative energy to burn away obstacles to achieving higher consciousness. Sa is the Infinite, the Totality, God. That Infinite Totality is here, everywhere. That creativity of God is here, everywhere. “Sa Re Sa Sa” (3:02) features the voice of Hakmoun, which is joined by the two choral voices of Jackson and Reagan, creating an empowering and invigorating feeling, upbeat and positive. A bright energetic orchestral mantra that helps you conquer the wisdom of the past, present, and future.

Persian poet Mewlana Jalaluddin Rumi (1207 – 1273) wrote the words for “Breeze at Dawn” (4:12), Shunia has created a mystical sound for this classical poem of romance, with sweet breezes coming from the darkness before the dawn, repeating the words, spoken low by Hassan Hakmoun and joined by the choral voices who sing the lyrics. “The breeze at dawn has secrets to tell – Don’t go back to sleep. You must ask for what you want – Don’t go back to sleep…”

In each life there are occasions to confront the dark night of the soul. The power of time controls worldly events; the only entity independent of time is Time itself, and that is Akal, the Timeless One. The vision of the track “Akal” (6:48) starts in the dead of winter deep in the wilderness, beneath a transforming sky.

Sung in Latin, the title of the next track literally means “Praise the Lord” and has a direct connection to the Hebrew word Halleluya which is also an expression of praise to God. “Alleluia” (6:51) The early music feeling could easily fit into a program for Christmas or Winter Holiday listening.

Dominus regit me, et nihil mihi deerit: in loco pascuæ, ibi me collocavit.
Super aquam refectionis educavit me; animam meam convertit.
Deduxit me super semitas justitiæ propter nomen suum.
Nam etsi ambulavero in medio umbræ mortis, non timebo mala, quoniam tu
mecum es.
Virga tua, et baculus tuus, ipsa me consolata sunt.
– 23.Psalm

Now I would like to share the words of Lisa Reagan, taken from a transcription of Shunia – Stories of Inspiring Joy Podcast.


To help further illuminate this work, I would like to share some excerpts from an article that was written by Lisa Reagan for LA Yoga Magazine (December 15th, 2020) titled Creating Empowerment and Hope through Music with Shunia.

Creating Empowerment and Hope through Music with Shunia

Listen here:


The Green Isac Orchestra

Green Isac is based in Oslo, Norway, and started as a duo,  then grew into a five person orchestra. Their music is a mixture of electronic and traditional non-electronic instruments, all instrumental. Their new album b a r has a “prog rock” feeling to it. The following illustrates the documents I help create for my job.

Here is their story, the press release that went out on the day the new album was released:

EIN Presswire

Broadway World has a short article, published later that day.

A longer article on ello took a few days to get right.

The review on BrainVoyager came last, I think its worth the suspense. This video clip is the cherry on top!

21 Years Ago Today

Here is a naked picture of my mom:

Here she is at age 18:

This is my parents, 8 years before I was born:

They were new to Albion (Michigan) having moved from Missouri. This is after the war and he is home having done his part fighting for the allied antifa cause, and enjoying the benefits of the GI Bill.

Here she is later in her life:

She died early in the morning December 12, 1999, winking and giving a raspberry to the world.

Here is a picture of my dad in 1921

Gratitude in 2020: I am in good health today, I am grateful to be here, I am mostly doing things I like, I am not complaining about the things I do not like, I have new opportunities ahead to be excited about, generally I feel blessed, but I have no future security and know the story will end with my demise. Let the good times rouler!


Dear friends, it is my 64th birthday wish that we can each stay true to our personal beliefs and continue to argue with each other, without the spectre of chaos and despair looming over us. Let each of us shine our bright light of truth, without fear. I am prepared to continue making my mistakes and learning to get on with this journey.

My lawn is just fine thanks

Gather round, I am gonna tell some history at you, and you probably won’t like it and it’s gonna hurt, but I will feel better afterwards. Back in my early days we did not talk to our computers, or stare at our palms twiddling messages with our thumbs. No sir. We had war veterans who were paid to walk in the snow and rain and hot weather, all of it, just to bring pieces of paper and small packages right to our mailboxes that we used to keep in front of our houses.  That was all we had and it worked just fine because we did not know about email and the inner net.

Music was only on vinyl, except for the radio. The radio was the miracle of our grandparents’ time, for us it was just part of the car, or it came with your clock or was part of your hi fi set if you were lucky. Music came on vinyl, which was something you kids today might not know about. It was big round black circles of plastic, you used a needle that you would drop on the whirling round black circle and everyone would dance. Sometimes the vinyl holes were smaller, there in the center of the round black circles of plastic and some of the vinyl holes were bigger and had one song on each side, instead of the long playing big round black circles of plastic with small holes, but we called all of them records, well, sometimes we called them albums or singles. In the store they called the big ones LPs. That is all there was, there was nothing else. Except the radio. I said that didn’t I. Audio cassettes were toys only suitable for children to play with, they were stuffed with ribbons of tape that would sometimes get drawn out of the plastic box they came in and get caught up in the toy cassette players, so you could only just throw it away. Or you could take a pencil and try to push the little wheels around to draw the tape back into the little plastic box. But you might as well just throw it away, it was a toy.

Vinyl was all we had and that was all we needed, there were new records coming out every day. You would have piles of them, you would eat pizza and spill soda pop on them. You would throw them at your enemies or your dog, later we had frisbees that worked much better, if you scored a hit the enemy would probably not bleed so much which meant mom didn’t have to take them to the hospital again.

So there we were with our radios and our record album collections, we thought we had it all because that was all there was and we did not know any better. Those darned kids had their toy audio cassettes and darned if they did not figure out new things to do with them. One kid would use the record button and read comics into the damthing and even make up sound effects, and sure enough she had new friends and old friends that thought she was pretty clever. Another kid turned on the record button when his brother was playing music in the basement with his friends. He was going to use that to show how stupid and awful the sound was but that backfired, and sure enough his brother and those friends became famous in the neighborhood, they grew up and got to play at dances and everyone stayed in the basement.

Our parents did their best to keep a lid on all that gawdawful racket. Why, I remember when Elvis was King, and my parents said “No way in hell will you play that (undecipherable) in this house, not while I am going to pay for it!” So we had to listen to Elvis in the garage or when nobody was around. And that was good enough, because we did not know any better at the time. 

One day Elvis died, and we found other things to listen to besides the Beatles and Motown. Back then there were wild people who would tell their parents to go shovel it and would play records from The Rolling Stones right there in the house! This led to all kinds of mischief and we loved it. It was GREAT and we knew better but we did it anyway. This led to the great genius Frank Zappa who showed us we could tell them “Oh yeah? Listen to THIS!” and we really could do things anyway because we liked it and that was darned good enough. Eventually that led to Bob Marley and the Wailers, and we loved the rebel music because our smoke smelled just fine thank you (manic deranged laughter that goes on way too long and changes to coughing).

Now where was eye… Oh yeah, those little plastic audio cassettes. Well, one day someone made a portastudio and we could bring home a device that had more power than those Beatles had when they took over the world. We could mix and bounce tracks and layer sounds, record the drums when the drummer could be there, and add the guitar and vocals later when nobody was home. Or we could mail our drum solo to another friend who lived somewhere far away, and we could make a song or a bunch of songs together even though we lived in different parts of the world. We could make fancy covers one by one, or we could use the xerox machine to make lots of covers that fit right into the plastic boxes that the toy audio cassettes came in. We had incredible possibilities and all this happened back in the days when those war veterans would trudge through the rain and snow and hot weather every day to bring stuff right to the door. Sure you had to pay for it. You had to wait too, but that was just fine thank you and we loved it, because we did not know any better.

No. Because now we had the means of production, we could record in the basement or in the bedroom if we had to, but now we needed to find someone to listen to our audio cassettes.

The lesson I am trying to tell at you is that MUSIC DOES NOT CARE WHAT FORM IT COMES IN you have your black round vinyl circles big and little which have made a come-back, you have your toy audio cassettes which are still around in boxes in the attic, you have your laser discs, you had your silver-rainbow mirror CD discs that came and went, and your 8-track tapes and your freakin inner net, and MUSIC DOES NOT CARE. It is here anyway so you better listen up. There, I said it, you can go back to looking at your palm and talking to your furniture. Yer welcome. Now, shut up and start dancing, and stay offa my lawn.

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