words and art by w a l t e r w s m i t h

Posts tagged “30-Day Song Challenge

Music For Backgrounds 02: Jack DeJohnette -Peace time

A beautiful journey into a serene world of meditative bliss. This is perfect music for your meditation, creative process or yoga practice….

– Jack DeJohnette’s Peace time 1:02:08

Throughout late 2009 and most of 2010, Peace time was one of my most played albums. It simply is captivating….


Jack DeJohnette (born 9 August 1942) is an American jazz drummer, pianist, and composer. He is one of the most influential jazz drummers of the 20th century, due to extensive work as leader and sideman for musicians like Miles Davis, Joe Henderson, Freddie Hubbard, Keith Jarrett and Sonny Rollins.


DeJohnette was born in Chicago, Illinois. Besides the drums, he also studied the piano. He first became known as a member of Charles Lloyd’s band, a group that pianist Keith Jarrett also was a part of at that time. He played with Bill Evans in 1968 on the acclaimed Bill Evans at the Montreux Jazz Festival, and from 1969 to 1972 played with Miles Davis. In the 1970s he recorded for Milestone/Prestige and ECM. He also appeared widely on ECM as a sideman. Since then he has recorded for MCA Records, Blue Note Records, and Kindred Rhythm.

DeJohnette has led several groups since the early-1970s, including Compost, a jazz-rock group that did two albums for Columbia with Bob Moses and Harold Vick; Directions (with John Abercrombie, Alex Foster, Warren Bernhardt, and Mike Richmond); New Directions (with Abercrombie, Lester Bowie, and Eddie Gomez); Gateway (with John Abercrombie and Dave Holland); and Special Edition (with David Murray, Chico Freeman, Arthur Blythe, Peter Warren, and others). Since the 1980s, he has been a member of what has become known as Keith Jarrett’s Standards Trio alongside Jarrett and Gary Peacock.

Since 2003, DeJohnette has been part of Trio Beyond with fellow musicians Larry Goldings (organ) and John Scofield (guitar). The trio was set up in tribute to The Tony Williams Lifetime trio led by Williams with Larry Young (organ) and John McLaughlin (guitar). He also currently appears as a member of the Bruce Hornsby Trio. In February, 2009, DeJohnette received the Grammy Award for Best New Age Album, Peace Time.

DeJohnette’s most current project as of 2010 is Jack DeJohnette Group, featuring Rudresh Mahanthappa on alto saxophone, David Fiuczynski on double-neck guitar, George Colligan on keyboards and piano, and long-time associate Jerome Harris on electric and acoustic bass guitars.

DeJohnette successfully incorporates elements of free jazz and world music, while maintaining the deep grooves of jazz and R&B drummers. His exceptional experience of time and style, combined with astounding improvisational ingenuity, make him one of the most highly regarded and in-demand drummers. He also occasionally appears on piano, on his own recordings.

In 2012, DeJohnette will be awarded an NEA Jazz Masters Fellowship for his “significant lifetime contributions have helped to enrich jazz and further the growth of the art form.”

30-Day Song Challenge: Day 20 – Asks the question, what artist best captures the essence of ambient meditation for the creation of art?

Taylor Deupree

Taylor Deupree – Rusted Oak – From the CD Shoals


Taylor Deupree – Landing – From the CD Landing


Human Mesh Dance (Taylor Deupree) – Sunken Garden


Taylor Deupree performs

Taylor Deupree (born April 30, 1971), is an American electronic musician, photographer and graphic designer. He is most known for the founding of the 12k record label, along with his work as a member of Prototype 909, his solo project as Human Mesh Dance, and his collaborations with Savvas Ysatis and Christopher Willits. In 2008, Taylor Deupree was the Président d’Honneur of the Qwartz Electronic Music Awards 5th in Paris (France).

Today while working on my latest post in “The City Series” (Urban Contemplation 07: On Either Side of that Open Door it’s the Same), I found myself listening to the deeper reflective elements of my music collection—“A Dancing Beggar, Ai Yamamoto, Lawrence English and the featured artist for this challenge Taylor Deupree. Taylor is one of my favorite ambient artist. For me his music slowly evolves and creates a suspended sense of kinetic dynamics that holds the mind still while producing a beautiful landscape for creativity.

What do you think? Although the music may be challenging for any who are unfamiliar with the genre, does it resonate with you as a possible source of creative inspiration for the production of prose and / or art?

30-Day Song Challenge: Day 19 – Asks the question what musician best captures the essence of digital music?

30-Day Song Challenge: Day 19 – Asks the question what musician best captures the essence of digital music?

The Music of Ryoji Ikeda

Ryoji Ikeda - NODE Festival

Ryoji Ikeda – Data. Matrix – Live at Sonair 2010


Ryoji Ikeda – THE TRANSFINITE at Park Avenue Armory, New York City


“I can’t understand why people are frightened of new ideas. I’m frightened of the old ones.” ~ John Cage

I have always had a love for electronic music since the mid 1970’s. This fascination originated with the sounds of analog space music by such artists as Klaus Schulze and Tangerine Dream. Over the years the evolution of electronic music has been quite innovative and exploratory, while simultaneously producing various styles, and sub-genres. I purposely have sought out, over the years, the artists that were on the edge of the new technology–believing in, and embracing the influence–as a source for my own artistic creativity.

The transition to digital technology has opened the door to a multitude of creative possibilities for musicians and visual artists.

Ryoji Ikeda, my featured artist, is an experimental musician who utilizes a multitude of sound sources to create strange but beautiful musical soundscapes.

Ryoji Ikeda (born 1966 in Gifu, Japan) is a Japanese sound artist who lives and works in Paris. Ikeda’s music is concerned primarily with sound in a variety of “raw” states, such as sine tones and noise, often using frequencies at the edges of the range of human hearing. The conclusion of his album +/- features just such a tone; of it, Ikeda says “a high frequency sound is used that the listener becomes aware of only upon its disappearance” (from the CD booklet). Rhythmically, Ikeda’s music is highly imaginative, exploiting beat patterns and, at times, using a variety of discrete tones and noise to create the semblance of a drum machine. His work also encroaches on the world of ambient music; many tracks on his albums are concerned with slowly evolving soundscapes, with little or no sense of pulse.

“If there were one style of music I wish I had the ability to produce it would be the music of Ryoji Ikeda” – Walter Smith

Ryoji Ikeda – Barbican 2011


Ryoji Ikeda – “Per Se”


Ryoji Ikeda - datatron-8k-enhan

30-Day Song Challenge: Day 18 – a song you hear often on the radio (Itunes – M2 live from Paris)

30-Day Song Challenge: Day 18 – Asks the question what is a song that you hear often on the radio?

Stephane Pompougnac – remixes

Hotel Costes vol 1 mixed by Stephane Pompougnac

http://youtu.be/bIyc2as7h_k – Ghosts & Roses

http://youtu.be/1D70kcZvgZc – Union Square

http://youtu.be/_hqhq37ifeo – Summer in Paris

http://youtu.be/HiB_ns4lmMU – Amour

http://youtu.be/IC5kuwgFOls – Champs Elysees

http://youtu.be/ntM59FkTpME – One Night in Rio

http://youtu.be/xB3XbZ4nk50 –  Zwing Ting – The Streamers – mixed by Stephane Pompougnac

Here are seven songs that I am sure have had heavy play in Paris, France. Stephane Pompougnac is the resident DJ at the famous Hotel Costes. For the last decade he has been mixing an incredible diverse sound of trip-hop, bossa nova, chill, house, and hip-hop for the Hotel Costes series. The groove is there and the beat flows. I highly recommend checking out this series as well as the Buddha Bar series. The Buddha Bar is another restaurant bar club in Paris, that is frequented by stars and the like and is hosted by different DJ’s. My favorite Buddha Bar mixer is DJ Ravin. Stayed tuned for a look at the playlist of the Buddha Bar series as well.

Hotel Costes vol 5 mixed by Stephane Pompougnac

30-Day Song Challenge: Day 17 – What musician best captured the essence of analog electronic space music


klaus Schulze Mirage

http://youtu.be/UpaoRFPzwQ4 – Velvet Voyage from the 1977 album Mirage – an electronic winter landscape – video by picturemusic 75

Klaus Schulze "X"

http://youtu.be/0vtE7–vetE – Frank Herbert from the classic 1978 album “X” by Klaus Schulze – video by zrhno

German composer, Klaus Schulze is one the most creative and
enduring electronic musician of our modern age. Born in Berlin in 1947, his
musical career began as a drummer, bassist and guitarist with several rock
bands including the band PSY FREE. He was an original member of TANGERINE DREAM and a
founding member of ASH RA TEMPEL. Both of these bands are all time favorites of mine,
and had become a significant part of my listening playlist during the 1970’s and 80’s.  Klaus Schulze ventured out on his own in the early 70’s and recorded his first solo album in 1972 entitled Irrlicht. Several remarkable albums followed including
Cyborg in 1973, Timewind in 1975, and Body Love; a USA Billboard import charting in
at #2. In 1977 and 1978 he then produced the two albums featured here in this music
challenge; namely Mirage, and “X” respectively.

Out of the vast collection of recordings Klaus Schulze has
produced, these two distinctly different albums in style and sound composition
are my favorites.

In an interview with the master of “electronic space music”, Klaus
described his music as “the background to a mental picture, but the exact
interpretation must be made by the listener, hence the music is only half
composed and the listener himself should attack the composition to gain a mental
repercussion. This is why, perhaps, people love or hate my music!”

I’ve always admired and embraced his music as an art form unto itself, with its unfolding layers of sound
— their tones, textures and colors producing a mysterious, evolving beauty at its very core.

Enjoy the master of Electronic Music.

Live concert in 1978 with Wolfgang Tiepold

Klaus performing on he Moog analog synthersizer circa 1970's

The 1980's and the emergence of the digital age in music

Klaus Schulze still going strong in 2010

Klaus Schulze – Mirage

Velvet Voyage


Crystal Lake


In cosa crede chi non


Soundtrack recording
from 1976 (Bonus Track)

Klaus Schulze – “X”

# 1 : Friedrich Nietzsche


Georg Trakl


Frank Herbert


Friedemann Bach


# 2 : Ludwig II. von Bayern


Heinrich von Kleist


Objet d’Louis


Live with orchestra,
1978 (Bonus Track)

30-Day Song Challenge: Day 16

30-Day Song Challenge: Day 16 asks the question what is “a song that is in keeping with all things French”?

Keeping it simple, Keeping it real, Keeping it retro….French pop from the 1960’s with Francoise Hardy and France Gall.

http://youtu.be/0aLoezucIzk – Francoise Hardy – Tous les garcons et les filles (1962)

http://youtu.be/s5aeeSmkPwQ – France Gall – Poupee De Cire, Poupee De Son (1965)

Oh yes, this is just… to damn cool….

30-Day Song Challenge: Day 15

30-Day Song Challenge: Day 15 asks the question what is “a song that best describes you”?

http://youtu.be/Fh0AaTOfkIc      Alva Noto & Ryuichi Sakamoto – Moon

A bonus song that reinforces the theme as well…

http://youtu.be/OJORJFSWE1I     Alva Noto & Ryuichi Sakamoto – Berlin

I have been listening for some time to the musical duo of Alva Noto and Ryuichi
Sakamoto. This collaboration has produced many ingenious works. Here are two entitled
“Moon” and “Berlin”. I think these songs best describes me because of their contrast
between the beautiful, seductive, melodies produced by pianist Sakamoto and the
pulsating beats and glitch from sound designer Noto. The sounds they produce seem at odds with
each other, however they are not. They are distinctly different but combined in such a way that it is
pure pleasure. I would like to think that this contrast is symbolic of how I
create art i.e. I am always searching for various source materials to bring together in a compelling work of art.

30-Day Song Challenge: Day 14

30-Day Song Challenge: Day 14 asks the question what is “a song that no one would expect you to love”?

The song that inspired this post. Read the summary first, then view the video.

http://youtu.be/P237zpWbPRM    The Waterboys – Bang on the Ear 1988

Okay, you have to visualize this
true story to absorb the moment.

It is 1989 in the urban landscape
which is West Philadelphia. The streets are lined with row homes, some occupied,
others abandoned. The row homes cast deep, long, shadows onto the pavements
where the trees have long since been cut down. The shadows are created from the
orange florescent-crime prevention lights hanging ominously from above. I
remember distinctly when Philadelphia changed from ordinary street lamps to
these supposedly crime preventing monoliths.  There is an eerie glow and a surreal feeling
as I drive my 1987 Toyota MR2 towards the corner of 52nd and
Catherine Street.

It is the middle of summer and the
temperatures are in the low 8o’s at 2:30 a.m. It is hot and humid. There are
some young kids out playing in the streets, and I wonder why they aren’t in
bed. But this is Philly, and there is a never sleep embodiment that pervades.
There is also a contrasting sense of culture that sometimes invades places

I am listening to the cassette
tape of The Waterboys and the song “Bang on the Ear”. My windows are down and
the volume is up. I approach the intersection and on my left a teen, dressed in
true urban, black, hip-hop gear, is standing smoking a joint. Our eyes connect
for a moment. I am waiting for the traffic light to change. It’s taking its
time, when all of a sudden the youth in rebellion jumps into a country square
dance. “Whoa”, I say to myself, “he is so cool and down by law”, as his arms and
legs move in perfect rhythm to the beat of the Waterboys pumping from my car.

It is a surreal moment indeed as
time stands still. I watch him, watching me, as he performs specifically for
me. The light changes, I smile, give him a thumb up and slowly pull off.

I will never forget that
encounter. It reminds me of how art and music transcends, transforms and
connects our different cultural backgrounds. In a moments’ notice we can be
swept away by something new, different and exciting.

Enjoy the song. It has the beat of life 🙂

p.s. “down by law” means “one who has authority” in urban slang.

Bonus Song

Billy Bragg – You Woke Up My Neighborhood 1991

You Woke Up my Neighborhood

30-Day Song Challenge: Day 13

30-Day Song Challenge: Day 13 asks the question what is “a song that is a guilty pleasure”?

http://youtu.be/xrPQKH9n0bk    Miles Davis – Live

Without a doubt a guilty pleasure is Miles Davis. I am not
sure what the guilty part of this represents Miles, however any excuse to add
him to this challenge is fine by me. What’s not to love about the Black Prince,
Miles Davis? Yes he has lived a controversial life (doing it his own way, and his
not so good relationships with women) but still he is the man who owns the
trumpet. And I do mean own the trumpet. Whether or not it was with his famous
bands of the 50’s or 60’s, both acoustic and electric, Miles was the leader
that changed Jazz forever. He brought together some of the most talented
musicians in the world, like Coltrane, Chick, Jack and Herbie to name a few, to
create a myriad of traditional and experimental compositions, that have stood
the test of time.

Miles remains to be one of my favorite musicians. He
has been a great influence on my musical taste, art and life style.

Enjoy the guilty pleasure….

Miles – Live 1971

30-Day Song Challenge: Day 12

Day 12 of the 30-Day Song Challenge asks the question what is “a song from a band that you hate”?

http://youtu.be/ZDycnxd1Mko    Led Zeppelin – Whole Lotta Love

What can I say except I really do not like this band or any song they ever played.

Peace Out……

day 01 – your favorite song – Stars of the Lid’s “Don’t Bother They’re Here”

day 02 – your least favorite song – Led Zeppelin’s “Stairway to Heaven”

day 03 – a song that makes you happy – Ivy’s – Edge of the Ocean

day 04 – a song that makes you sad – Trespassers Williams – Love You More

day 05 – a song that reminds you of someone – Trespassers Williams – Lie in the Sound

day 06 – a song that reminds you of somewhere – Isabelle Aubret – La Fanette

day 07 – a song that reminds you of a certain event – William Baskinski – The Disintegration Loops 1

day 08 – a song that you know all the words to – Philip Glass – Knee Play 1

day 09 – a song that you can dance to – Ror-Shak featuring Julee Cruise – Fate or Faith

day 10 – a song that makes you fall asleep – Brian Eno – Thursday Afternoon

day 11 – a song from your favorite band– Stars of the Lid’s – The Evil that Never Arrives

day 12 – a song from a band you hate