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Not From Around Now (Poetry for a Small Choir)

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i arrived before
too early
it's no longer too late

I was determined to use one specific instrument on this recording: duduk.  Duduk is an Armenian double-reed woodwind resembling a clarinet.  From the very first time I became exposed to it (in Peter Gabriel’s “Passion”), it seemed to be the ultimate instrument, producing the most beautiful sound that can be achieved by means other than a human voice.  I looked for a duduk player in San Francisco, but it just so happened that all players I could get a hold of asked for an incredibly high fee for a recording – a fee I simply could not afford.  So, I decided I would just buy a duduk and ask the saxophone player, Zachary Pitt-Smith, to play it.  And he did.  After he was done, I had a duduk lying around, and so trying to play it seemed like a natural thought.  I have been practicing duduk ever since, and ended up recording a number of solos for “Can You Stay Forever?”  Duduk has become a lifelong friend.  It’s ironic that had the duduk players in California been less pricy, I might have never had the pleasure to play duduk myself.   

In addition to this, I tinkered with any other instrument I could lay my hands on, with the expectation that an hour of random experimentation will result in a few seconds of usable material.  Thus, between all the musicians that I had recorded and the endless sounds assaults I had undertaken on my own, I ended up with about 30 hours of recorded material to work with.  So, it’s not surprising that it took me nearly 3 more years to mix the CD.   

When I began this project, I had a certain idea in my mind of what the CD would sound like.  It was something filled to the brim with voices, voices speaking all the time, usually several of them simultaneously.  It didn't quite work out that way.  In many cases, the music demanded its right to be undisturbed by words, rendering the final textual content more sparse than I had imagined.  Words themselves asked for space so their meaning can hang in the air unchallenged by more words.  I had also had a wide range of intentions regarding the types of compositions I would create.  Some of them came into being, and others insisted that they be saved until a later time.  It’s probably not true that a work of art shapes itself, but it is also not true that the artist shapes it exclusively by the power of their will.  In any case, it is not true for this particular artist.  

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