Al Thoorat Al Arabea (68:00)
Spring 2011 The Vine Tucson
Basok, Gurdia, Venus, Pharo, Hendecq, Modflute, Drums, Hex Flute, Hex Reed, Blowdrum, Thump, Klem, Bish-Bosh, Bootz, Kyzyl Kum, Sprawl, Soren, Kresge, Botree, Klem, Klam, Octoreeds, Wholoreeds, Retardog, Digger, Springbok, Octoflute, Dron, Rowtoes, Horzba
Played by: Alex Ferris
Al Thoorat was the first time I was able to work with truly functional drones. An intuitive remark made by Ed Davis, a teacher who was showing his students around the studio, solved a problem I’d been failing to solve satisfactorily for years. One of the kids asked me what one of the non-functional instruments in the shop was going to be and I told him I was working on a hurdy gurdy. He asked Ed what a hurdy gurdy was and Ed said it was an instrument with a leather wheel that functioned as a continuous bow. I’ve read everything I could find on hurdy gurdies and I’ve never seen leather mentioned –traditionally the wheels are wooden. But leather works better than any of the wooden (or felt, or metal, or . . . ) wheels I’ve made.
In logical terms drones function in music the way “if x=n” functions in mathematics. With a drone, one needn’t constantly restate a tonal constant and because of that it won’t have an implicit rhythm (or linearity) associated with it. This isn’t desirable all the time, but it was a capacity I’d been wishing I had since Anarchestra began. It allows a kind of stasis to permeate in the sound.
At the time, with events unfolding daily across northern Africa, my philosophical interest in it related to the continual human struggle (the drone of the refusal to accept subjugation) against apparently immovable repressive social regimes (the drone of institutional power that haunts all of our lives). I made the pieces long because I wanted them to feel like work was in them, to suggest the endurance that any struggle requires, the weariness one makes ones way through.
This was another period in which I listened frequently to the John Coltrane Quartet, both for its tonal environment of pedal points and scales and his stoic sense of enduring purpose.
I price all of my music at $0.00, but Bandcamp only allows a limited number of free downloads per month. If you see a price it means that the free downloads have been used up for the month. If I set a price lower than the $7.00 default, there won’t be any free downloads ever. If there are more sales there end up being more free downloads. I’m not trying to get anybody to spend money (I loathe capitalism and the comercialzation of everything, especially the arts). I make music, not product. If you end up buying something, at least you have enabled 2 other people to get something for free (which is a good thing). Or check back until it’s free again. Please feel free to duplicate and pass along.
released August 29, 2014
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