Themes and Variations

I would have to say that the Kalimba is the father of this project. The original pattern, heard most clearly in ‘Comfortably Lost,’ is based on the way this instrument is built, with metal tines in ascending thirds on either side. This resulted in a I-III-V-III-I chord progression, because apparently I’m a sucker for Rondo form.


After coming up with the base and familiarizing myself with it, I realized that the time signature, especially without any rhythmic accompaniment, was highly subjective and could easily be fitted to a waltz feel, a straight 6/8, or even a boarder-line abstract yet still listenable 4/4. All three of these are explored in ‘Pace Me.’

The rest came by featuring different instruments I currently have a particular fondness for, such as the tabla, windchimes and recorder, and also by experimenting with less orthodox sounds like the bottles and various vocal effects heard in ‘Souls at Night.’

I’m sure I’m not the only writer who finds it tragic to have a musical idea that could be realized in so many different ways, and have to choose only one. What made this collection so fun was that I got to interpret a single theme using six separate methods, stretching it to a much fuller potential. The set is book-ended with the solo instrumentations of ‘Rusty Dreams‘ and ‘Empty, Upside-Down Hat,’ with the more complex world/electronic fusion of ‘Seba Summers‘ in the middle. It was a good exercise, and I think I’ll do it again!


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