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The Armour Foundation The compositions in this collection were made possible, in part, by a grant from the Armour Foundation. The foundation was created and built by the visionary scholar, Dr. James D. Armour, a professor of psychology and specialist on the work of Dr. C.G. Jung. For more information, please see: http://armourfoundation.org. In the fall of ’07, I was given the incredible opportunity of a Sabbatical Grant to reside alone in the Cave House for two wondrous weeks with my ukulele, video camera, and the project of writing music for solo ukulele. The pieces found here represent about half of what I composed and created during my stay.
About the Compositions 1. Ennea-Boat – The first day I arrived I was impressed not only with the formidable size and beauty of the Ohio River but also with the amount of boat traffic. Barges were going up and down 24-7 amongst the speed boats, fishing boats, tour boats, and the nearby ferry connecting Illinois to Kentucky. The large barges appeared to be moving very slowly, and yet were actually going by rather quickly. I heard a rapidly churning 9/8 rhythm in my mind, which had the forward-motion feel of Elvin Jones. I played this on my uke and began to sing ‘Row Your Boat’ in a slow 3/4 on top of the driving 9/8. Later I found the re-harmonization.
2. Cave Chorale – Cave-In-Rock, Il is known for the small cavern by the side of the river. I spent some time playing off of the cathedral-like reverberations inside of the cave for the bats, insects and other passers-by. The interior of the Cave House itself has many church-like features. One day I began singing a particular 12-tone row and decided to feature the row as the soprano voice in a 4-part chorale in a traditional Bach-like fashion, keeping each voice on its respective ukulele string.
3. Cave House Observatory – There’s a small room on the 2nd floor that serves wonderfully as a meditation chamber. It has a large diamond shaped window along a steep downward sloping ceiling. Jim Armour called this the observatory because it was a great place to stargaze at the northern sky, and also a place to observe the mind. This piece explores the 12-tone matrix generated from the above-mentioned row, using the 4 directions (Row/Retrograde/Inversion/Inverted-Retrograde). It also explores subdivisions of 15/8. The 5 contemplates the human realm, the 3 churns along the river’s energy.
4. A Ewe Stepped On My Drum – This is an open improvisation that was building up to an interpretation of ‘You Stepped Out Of A Dream’ hinted at in the closing phrase. This classic of the Jazz repertoire will appear in the up-coming full-length CD release. See film clips of other environmental improvisations during my visit here and here.
5. Venus Marsupial – Before I left on my journey, my wife was bemoaning the amount of time I’d be gone. Knowing I was staying in a rural area and going to be alone only with a ukulele to keep me warm at night, I told her how much I would miss her, but that I couldn’t make any promises should I meet a particularly cute possum in the woods. Well, I did in fact meet a huge one, bigger than a cat, sauntering by the studio one night while I was painting. I looked up to the stars above and sang to a small guitar (read: ukulele), “O ‘possum, winkin’ at me, curlin’ yer tail towards that yonder tree…”
6. Alien Chatterbox – Another open improvisation – a realm I got to explore in-depth with solo ukulele during my solitary time at the Armour Foundation. One of my sabbatical pieces that wasn’t recorded during this particular session called “Resident Alien” came about from playing in the long dark, black space hallway that leads to the observatory. This improvisation is of the same realm as what sprung me into the Alien Mindscape. See also here and here.
Naturally, this leads right into . . .
7. 433 Eros – Two different pathways from opposite directions lead to two different doorways that merge into the same entry way and hallway down the center of the Cave House to the crystal waterfall. Above each doorway is an inscription: ‘LOGOS’ (from the west) and ‘EROS’ (from the east). From a Jungian perspective, Logos represents the masculine principle of rationality, while Eros represents the feminine principle of interconnectedness. So says Wikipedia. What I also gleaned from the internet is that there is an asteroid named 433 Eros (filmed and landed upon by a NASA probe); that there is a modern day erotic festival celebrating Eros Day (when the phallus-shaped asteroid is at its closest orbit to Earth in January); that Eros was fervently worshiped by an ancient fertility cult intimately involved with the Eleusinian Mysteries; that a lawsuit was brought against NASA by an individual claiming the Homestead Principle, for permanently parking a spacecraft on his asteroid; and that this man’s private space exploration company is funded by his beef jerky business. The whisper tracks in this version contain factoids and phrases taken from the cyber-search. Whenever I perform this piece live, I pass out note-cards of the text that the audience members whisper throughout. Each card may be spoken aloud either 3 or 4 times according to designation. I also made a video compiling the NASA orbit and landing sequences, which you can find here.
Dedication Dedicated to Harold Eugene Whitney, 1919 – 2008
(C) 2008 Khabu Doug Young, (P) 2008 Kilkhabart Music. All Rights Reserved. Unauthorized duplication is a violation of applicable laws.