Echoes of Time
This album takes natural sounds, the sound of the human voice and the sound of musical instruments like the gong and the guimbarde and stretches them and slows them down. This slowing down of time allows the listener to enter right into the sound and opens the possibility of other states of consciousness.
1. Island I Vow 04:28
2. Atlantis Calls 07:17
3. Journey to the Inner Temple 12:50
4. Yellow Bird 06:18
5. Aeolian Sands 14:53
6. Goddess of the Waters 08:22
7. Soundsteps 05:35
8. Echoes of Time 14:00
Total playing time 74:01
Recorded June to December 2011
Naked Light Studios, London UK NL112CD
What was particularly amazing was to stretch the human voice, particularly a voice as rich as that of Claudia van Buren. One becomes aware of other dimensions of the sound. Consonants become different coloured noise while the transition from vowel to vowel became a Klangfarbenmelodie of shifting colours and tones. The inner qualities of the voice – emotional, elemental, alive, soothing – have time to emerge taking you right inside the sound and in that way into yourself.
And that’s how the pieces on ‘Echoes of Time’ were made. Sampling Claudia’s voice, sometimes just a couple of seconds, then stretching and transforming the samples into layers of sound that I composed and arranged.
Most of the samples come from Claudia’s earlier albums, including “Sounds and Symbols” and “The Well” and I did promise I wouldn’t reveal which tracks the samples came from but I just have to say something about ‘Yellow Bird’. It’s a sample from ‘Jamaica Tapestry’, a track from the album ‘The Well’. I took the third panel of the tapestry, just Claudia’s voice singing one phrase, “yellow bird” stretched it and filtered it so that the words are no longer intelligible and then layered it and recombined it so that finally the words are revealed.
‘Yellow Bird’ is also a memorial to my dear friend Cy Grant, who introduced many in Britain to the songs of the Caribbean and whose beautiful version popularised this song in the 1960s.
I’d also like to say something about ‘Aeolian Sands’. This piece is based on the sounds of a primitive musical instrument that’s found all over the world from Siberia to Sicily and which is known by various names such as ‘guimbarde’ or ‘jew’s harp’. In fact I used a bamboo one from Papua New Guinea that I picked up for a few bob in Ray Man’s world music shop in Camden Town, London. The instrument makes a twanging sound that when it is slowed right down gives a powerful resonance that feels like the earth is breathing.
Then I tried (and failed) to replicate this sound using Kyma, an amazing sound design program. But the failure was interesting and when I combined it with the slowed-down sound of the jew’s harp, it worked. I had a piece that brought together the sound of probably the oldest musical instrument known to man with harmonics generated using the most sophisticated technology.
But apart from “Aeolian Sands”, all the pieces were created by stretching samples of Claudia’s singing, resulting in an album that is a ‘foster-child of silence and slow time’ to take a quote from John Keats.
Please do not play this album while driving or doing work. Rather it is a piece for relaxing, for meditation if you like. Something to wind down with and for coming back to yourself after a day in the business of the world.