I am lying on my back on the ground in Dave Bell’s recording studio. My elbows are crossed over my face. I am listening to the playback of this take. I am listening to Leonard Thompson’s solo. I am realizing how much music happened in such a short span of recording.
Do you hear what I hear when you listen to these tracks?
Do you hear a tidal wave? Some other-worldliness? Some all-encompassing language more present than words?
Is it breathing?
...The lyrics to this song never fully made sense to me until now.
This is freedom.
At the end of this take, at the end of this session, I will close the door of the studio and I will feel the urgency of contrast. I won't understand where I fit in or how. I will be heartbroken that the world does not hear a tidal wave too. I I won't value the response I do receive.
It's OK. It's life. I'll make it through.
Charles Mingus will help. There's an interview of him that I still can't find. I heard it on cassette tape, loaned out from the Sunnyvale Library back when there was microfiche. I wish I could find that tape and hear his exact words. Something about how when you make music, you picture people dancing in the streets. And how that's not what happens. I don't think he says that last part explicitly. He just says you make music and you picture people dancing in the streets....
I will feel floored again. Floored without containment or urgency. In Boston in May 2014.
At sunrise, I will walk across town and listen to a recording from Dayna Stephens of a work of mine that he recorded by surprise. A work I wrote for him a few years after Composition's recording. A work I knew was his when it was just in my head, while in the passenger seat of a car, driving westward on the Bay Bridge, just passing Treasure Island. In my right peripheral vision, I will see golden sparkles lifting from low left to high almost like an overlay to the silhouette of Treasure Island at sunset. In this quiet moment I will smile to know that "Amber is Falling" is Dayna's. I will know I should give it to him, and I do.
I won't remember I've seen glitter once before, in 1996, when Adrian Orme died.
- I've re-written this next section all week, so I'll stop trying to rewrite it and just let you read these elements. -
From the side view, any activity in a cylinder that happens along a cylinder appears in a sequence, but view the activity from one end of the cylinder and it becomes layered co-existence. I'm reminded of SLAC and a grade school tour of the facility. Particle acceleration.
Now consider these things again: I will envision golden leaves which I will interpret to be a statement of some kind that Amber is Falling is song that cosmically belongs to Dayna. I will record that song with John Shifflett and the many members of the True Believers in 2005. Nearly a decade later, Dayna Stephens will record it with artists I greatly admire. It will feel like the heavens open. I will feel like I belong and I will feel in awe of how beautiful it is that each of these artists will contribute their best. Every choice they make will be incredible. I will hear a tidal wave in their sound. Dayna will call his album Gratitude (in honor of his own life, saved by his aunt who donated her kidney to save him) and will release it on April 7, 2017.
John Shifflett will pass away on April 27, 2017. RIP, John.
Here is the recording of Amber with John Shifflett in 2005.
And here is an excerpt from Dayna's recording in 2014/released in 2017. (Purchase his album. You won't regret it.)
Stained glass artwork by Tim Bulkley.