There are four commercially-released Loops CDs.
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The nine tracks on the CD are:
The title bears its name from the length of the rhythmic cycles in the form (36 semiquavers and 27 triplets). A jazz/rock flavour adds to the Indian-esque interpretation of these rhythmic cycles.
Originally written for my trio in Boston, this is a composition which aims to capture the feelings of worry, anxiety and tearful joy.
Spare Change (Dimond)
This piece was written in Boston as a result of interviews I conducted and recorded with homeless people on the streets in the winter of 1994-5. The inspiration for the music came totally from the musicality of the spoken voice. Focusing on the emotive aspects of the material on the interview tapes, I transcribed the phrases, with their pitch and rhythmic implications, and assembled them on multitrack tape, all unified by a large complex mathematical form. (During my time in Boston I was particularly interested in the science of chaos , its manifestation in nature, and how the principals of order and chaos may apply to the organization of music.) "Spare Change" crosses classical and jazz boundaries, features fully-written notation and improvisation, and merges electronic and acoustic mediums.
Written in class as an illustration to students of writing techniques such as melodic minor harmony, 2-part line writing and Olivier Messiaen's modes of limited transposition.
Inspired by the Classical rhythms of South India, and a performance on the mridangam by Trichy Sankaran.
Jamie presented the 'head' of the tune to Ken and I, and we developed the improvising form and interludes over time. The title refers to the 21 quaver triplets per bar (i.e. metre of 7/4), which are arranged in cycles of 5 bars, the resolution point being always the second quaver triplet. Lydian modality, an implied drone and an African-styled happiness make this tune multi-faceted.
Jamie's Tune (Clark/Dimond)
Jamie describes his tune as one originally inspired by the great guitarist Pat Metheny. He gave the angular melody to me and I inferred the chord progression and wrote the bass line. Together the group worked on segmenting the form into parts which suited Indian-esque rhythmic processes.
Written as a class assignment while studying at New England Conservatory, this piece is based on quartal harmony, and was inspired by Dave Holland.
Horn OK Please (Dimond)
This composition was written in India during a visit to Pune to study tabla in mid-1996. The composition bears its name from the enscription to be found on the hundreds of thousands of Ashok Leyland trucks to be found hauling goods on the rough roads between Bombay and Pune every day: truck owners paint the words on the rear of their trucks, to indicate that it's OK to blow your horn at them (if you wish to overtake)! It represents the first English words I saw upon arrival, and, by virtue of the number of times I saw it, its quirky nature, and the mesmirized state I was in after my flight to Bombay, the name stuck! The composition systematically drills all the permutations of the major pentatonic scale - in all its transpositions and modes. The rhythmic interest has obvious associations with the Classical rhythms of North India. Horn OK Please has since been arranged for a sextet.
Jeff Erbacher. Email: email@example.com
These tracks are largely a result of my studies at New England Conservatory, Boston U.S.A., and a documentation of some of the things I experienced with my teachers there. I am deeply grateful for the spirit and wisdom that my teachers shared with me: Jerry Leake, Warren Senders, Bharat Jangam (tabla); Bob Moses, Cecil McBee, John Lockwood (bass); Ran Blake, Scott Sandvik, Dominique Eade (improvisation and Third Stream methodology); Abby Rabinovitz, Harriotte Hurie (Indian modal improvisation); Joe Maneri (microtones). I am also deeply grateful to the following special friends and classmates for their comradeship and support: Mastaneh Nazarian; RJ Rabin; Jason Rogers; Matt Moran; Greg Pagel. Also, Arts Queensland sponsored a concert of my original music in Boston and the Australia Council for the Arts sponsored my extra studies with Scott Sandvik and Jerry Leake. I consider myself fortunate to have been able to share my overseas experiences with my students at the Queensland Conservatorium, Griffith University.
(for a larger image click on the artwork)
1. Bar (Clark/Dimond)
" Bar" began as a short untitled piece inspired by some 9/4 Indian rhythmic concepts, which Jonathan expanded considerably and solidified as the longer structure of the form. Material-wise the piece draws on the only all-triad hexachord (built from 'E'), but this is used more in a modal sense both in the guitar voicings and the melodic lines. The combination of aggressive playing with explosive rhythms led former Loops drummer Ken Edie to give the piece its title, perhaps suggesting that the music should be performed in loud bars and clubs (or with bars and clubs).
2. Rules of the Shastra (Clark)
Lines from the Bhagavad Gita and Kama Sutra are included in the lyrics (below). This piece features Katie Noonan singing and improvising beautifully in English and Sanskrit, Jonathan on fretless bass and tabla, Jamie on acoustic guitar and John on drums.
|Sri bhagavan uvaca||The blessed lord said|
|kama esa krodha esa||"craving this is, wrath this is,|
|rajo guna sumud bhavah||born of the mode of passion,|
|maha sano maha papma||all devouring, all weakness,|
|viddhy enam ina vairinam||know this to be the enemy here."|
So long as lips shall kiss and eyes shall see, so long lives this and this gives life to thee.
|Na jatu kamah kamanam up abhogena sam yati havisa krisna vartmeva bhuya eva bhivar dhati||Desire is never satisfied by the enjoyment of the object of desire, it grows more and more, as does the fire to which fuel is added.|
The rules of the Shastra [the scripture, prayer or sutra] apply so long as passion is mild,
but when the wheel of love is once set in motion then there is no shastra and no order.
3. L.A. Rocco Jam (Dimond)
The Rocco is an Italian restaurant and Jazz Club in Beverly Hills. I wrote this tune after an experience at a jam session there in 2000. It was my last night in L.A. before flying out to Boston and I was very keen to play bass. I added my name to the list of participants at the start of the night, thus: "Jonathan Dimond, electric bass guitar". Bassist after bassist got called up to stage, but my name was skipped. I thought introducing myself to the leader and putting on a bit of an Australian accent would improve my chances of getting called up. Come midnight, my energies were waning and I began pleading to be asked to play. "No problem - you'll be next" said the leader. However, I was not called next. Tired and resigned to leaving without playing, I prepared to leave when the floors rumbled not with a 'quake but from the approaching harp which was being trundled in! The last set I saw for the night was a bebop harpist - almost completely replacing my disappointment with incredulous wonder!
4. Sitcom (Parker)
My first attempt at a large-scale electro-acoustic work, Sitcom comprises written,
improvised and sampled parts heavily manipulated on my home computer. I wanted to create a studio piece, which reflected my active interest in composition, improvisation, electronic and acoustic music and my severe contempt for most sitcoms. I also wanted to conceive a work that would challenge the common perception of "what is funny". Sitcom raises these questions and more:
Have you ever watched a home video show without the "wacky" sound effects? What if you also removed the "audience" laughter and applause? Would the program remain funny? Would this CD, played on a ghettoblaster in a forest with no one around to hear it, make a sound? Where indeed would you plug the stereo in? Would you use batteries instead? I heard that rechargeable ones are the way to go - would you prefer to use them? In fact, who are you and why are you reading my liner notes?
5. Ek Bisleri (Dimond)
Written in 1999 during a study trip to India, this piece was titled after my moment of revelation at the learning of a simple yet life-depending fact: the bottles of filtered water ("Bisleri"), upon which many a germ-fearing foreigner in India use for every conceivable source of H2O, could be bought not only singly but in boxes of ten! So I wrote this tune (inexplicably, in eleven). The raga upon which it is based is called Rag Haripriya, which was invented by the wonderful bansuri-player Ustad Hariprasad Chaurasia.
6. Spool (Dimond)
This ballad was written during a time of reflection about the band and its direction. The first chord progression goes through twelve keys of the same chord quality, in a manner that is deliberately rhythmically ambiguous and syncopated. The end of this section concludes with a traditional South Indian unison passage called a Korvai. The second section features expanding and contracting polyrhythms over a 7/8 metre, arranged in a special way which avoids any simultaneity.
7. G.S.T. (Dimond)
I wrote this as a nice warm-up piece - it is medium-tempo and in 4/4 metre all the way. G.S.T. features some of the fusion aspects that typify a lot of the music Loops performs. G.S.T. was so-named because I wanted a tune that was immediately associated with the time in which it was written (Australia brought in the Goods and Services Tax in mid-2000). The pitches G, E, and F (the musical parallels of G, S, and T) feature in it, and the tabla/voice part was originally written for Indian musician Gulfam Sabri (here overdubbed by myself).
1. Blues for an Abstract Youth (Clark)
This composition was partly composed in a New York hotel room in March 2000. The piece freely mixes atonal lines with phrases inspired by the improvisations of the jazz tenor-saxist and composer Oliver Nelson (hence the title). The initial theme was inspired by an improvisation on some counterpoint exercises I was working on at the time. There is also the use of particular types of 3-note voicings which combine into a "harmonic zone" in the second half of the piece. Really all this represents a fair amount of abstract free association of influences and material, and is dedicated to all the musically free-thinking and abstract youth I've met at the Con in the last 5 years. This piece, Get Better and Rhythm Changes were recorded beautifully in concert at the Con by Paul Draper and his students.
2. Get Better (Clark)
“ Get Better” was an attempt to do just that - to improve at the 5/4 time signature, the polyrhythms which appear at the ends of phrases, and to get over the cold I had at the time! This is quite an old Loops piece and although I shook the cold off quickly, the other things took a few years before we felt ready to record the piece. It is built around an insistent bass-line and has a slow harmonic rhythm. We have practiced using formal rhythmic phrasing to resolve into the ‘and’ of beat 5, but we also like the piece as a loose improvising form that was fun to play on tour.
3. Dance in the Trees (Dimond)
The inspiration for this composition was a poem I wrote during a dream, in 1995. The surreal and stream-of-consciousness nature of the text is reflected in the music. This piece was originally written for my fellow Graduates at the New England Conservatory in Boston, whom continue to be a source of inspiration and friendship.
4. The Plug (Dimond)
Written as a piece of light relief during the rennovations of my bathroom and home.
5. Rhythm Changes (Clark)
Rhythm Changes was composed at the height of Loops' number-crunching period, and is based on the familiar jazz form of Gershwin's "I Got Rhythm". Originally I intended the tune as a reply to John Rodgers infamous "Viv's Bum Dance" (which is based on the jazz 12 bar blues ). Indian numeric processes ("magic squares") are used throughout to generate the rhythms - strangely, the bridge section always reminds me a little of Thelonious Monk's phrasing, even though the same vigorous process was applied. Again this is quite an old piece which took a long time to come around for me as something to record - I think we've struck a balance between the strict rhythmic ideas and loose improvisation on the key hit points. I'd like to thank Jonathan and John here for making my tunes work! (and also Ken for showing me so much about the processes used on these older pieces!)
Special thanks to:
Queensland Conservatorium Griffith University
Our special guests Amy Cutler, Melinda Laurance-Ceresoli, Louise Denson and Katie Noonan
Jonathan Dimond - 6-string electric and fretless bass guitars, tabla, voice
Jamie Clark - electric and acoustic guitars
John Parker - drums, auxiliary percussion, computer manipulation/sequencing (on “Sitcom”)
Katie Noonan - voice (on “Rules of the Shastra”)
Melinda Laurance-Ceresoli - voice (on “Dance in the Trees”)
Amy Cutler - voice (on “Dance in the Trees”)
The word "lyrical" has cropped up, but this should not be seen as an incongruity, an irony, or any kind of surprise. All of this music is lyrical in - as I have said - a fresh and unsentimental way.
Audio Excerpts: George Bush (Jonathan Dimond)
Martin Luther King (Robert Davidson)
Marconi (1915) (Jonathan Dimond)
A century ago, on the 12th of Decmber 1901, Guglielmo Marconi received the first transatlantic wireless signal. The letter "S" in Morse Code was sent 3000 km from Poldhu in Cornwall to St Johns, Newfoundland. So began the Radio Age. Loops and Topology created a work that celebrates the century with a 75-minute show looking back over some key figures and events as immortalised by radio recordings. The combined 8-piece band play along with the recorded voices of Churchill, Hitler, Gandhi, Earhardt, Whitlam, Howard, Freud, Einstein, Bradman, Melba, and a host of others, including Marconi himself. These figures are heard in "voice portraits" - a new technique using characteristic intonation patterns of a person's speech to make melody. The band plays music designed to emphasise this melody, so that when Bill Clinton talks about "that woman", it sounds like he's singing. The result is a new kind of opera. The two ensembles combine different approaches - Topology's contemporary classical perspective and Loops' jazz background - to create a new, wide-ranging ethos.
The principal composers are Jonathan Dimond (ex-Jazz Convenor at the Queensland Conservatorium, Griffith University) and Robert Davidson (referred to as "the leading composer of his generation" by Terry Riley, the "father of minimalism"), with Jamie Clark also a contributing writer. Both composers and both ensembles have been exploring the musical possibilities of speech for a number of years. Airwaves is the culmination of their efforts. Airwaves had its first outing in two sold-out performances at the 2001 Queensland Biennial Festival of Music. It was also performed at the end of that year at the Queensland Powerhouse, closer to the exact 100th Anniversary of Marconi's first transmission.
Loops has been featured in the Brisbane Festival, Queensland Biennial, and has undertaken several national tours. The trio was resident ensemble at the Queensland Conservatorium 2000-2001. Topology have performed in the Olympics Festival, the Brisbane Festival, Queensland Biennial and the Sydney Spring Festival, where they were awarded Best Ensemble. They have premiered dozens of Australian and international works to critical acclaim since forming in 1996, and have played everywhere from a support for pop group Savage Garden to Fluxus works in the Queensland Art Gallery.
Airwaves is available for live performances at Festivals and Events. The Compact Disc was released in December 2005. For more information, visit the Airwaves page.