Miles Zarathustra | L'essentiel

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L'essentiel

by Miles Zarathustra

A collection of pieces I recorded over the past few decades: those I believe turned out the best. As always, my style is driven by diversity of genre as well as category-defying fusion of multiple influences. "L'essentiel est invisible pour les yeux."
Genre: New Age: Progressive Electronic
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  Song Share Time Download
1. Fanfare
0:44 $0.99
2. Jezebel Theme
2:00 $0.99
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3. Early Rain
4:43 $0.99
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4. Minimal Prelude and Fugue
9:17 $0.99
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5. Echoes
2:12 $0.99
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6. Time Is Modulation
4:14 $0.99
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7. Sunrise
4:57 $0.99
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8. Child of God
2:27 $0.99
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9. Summer '78
1:28 $0.99
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10. Spacing Slowly
1:59 $0.99
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11. Nocturne
2:15 $0.99
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12. Moody Road
1:29 $0.99
13. Dream Fugue
1:18 $0.99
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14. Improv (Excerpt)
6:34 $0.99
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15. Bluesy Improv
1:59 $0.99
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16. Fugue (From "The Curtain Falls")
1:11 $0.99
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17. Solstice
3:17 $0.99
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18. Under the Waves
9:18 $0.99
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19. Broccoli in Regalia
10:10 $0.99
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20. Lily Why
5:06 $0.99
21. Distraction Meditation
35:12 $0.99
Downloads are available as MP3-320 files.

ABOUT THIS ALBUM


Album Notes
"On ne voit bien qu'avec le coeur. L'essentiel est invisible pour les yeux."

"Only with the heart does one see clearly. The essence is invisible to the eyes."

~~Antoine de Saint-Exupéry

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This album is a selection of songs I enjoy most out of the ones I've recorded so far.

A recurring theme you'll find is polyrhthmy as a form of minimalism and counterpoint.

Probably the most commonly found instance of polyrhythm in modern music is a three against a two. For example, if you have one voice using measures in 3/8 and another having measures in 2/8 (or you could say "3/4"), then it will be 2 measures of the former for every three of the latter. Very common in Latin and African music, but can also be found in Irish melodies among others.

1++2++
1+2+3+

Similarly, if one part is in 5/8 and another is in 3/8, then it will be 15/8 before they meet again.

1++++2++++3++++
1++2++3++4++5++

If one factors in a 4/8, then it will be 3*4*5 before they meet again: 60 beats. If the melodic material repeats, then the texture can retain its basic flavor but never be an exact repeat until the end of the long cycle. Thus with a minimal amount of material one can create many variations. It gives a sense of simultaneous order and chaos.

This technique also reflects the principle of making the voices independent, one of the driving forces behind counterpoint. In this case, they are independent not only melodically, but in the time framework as well.

The end of the "Minimal Fugue" is an example, as is the ending of the "Scottish Fugue" on the album "Discovering Creation," also available on this site.

Taken on a larger scale, similar to Eno's "Music for Airports," one can loop elongated repetitions of a note, and then layer over different notes each on a different cycle to achieve a consistent chordal texture that is constantly in variation. Thus the asynchronous looping is similar in effect to the metronomic looping (described above), only without the sensation of pulse.

The Distraction Meditation at the end offers examples of asynchronous looping.

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Below are some stories about the individual pieces:

Fanfare - A theme overlaid on a rising melody while the bass descends, thus constantly expanding across different timbres.

Jezebel Theme - Someday I'd like to write a musical about Jezebel. Her story reflects the unfortunate triumph of patriarchy and the philosophy of "dominion over" overriding a more egalitarian way of living in harmony with nature, the latter of which might have saved us the dire consequences of the foolish environmental destruction we now experience. What would have happened if Jezebel had won instead?

Early Rain - You will hear thunder, then rain.

Minimal Prelude and Fugue - Named after the album it first appeared on, which explored concepts of minimalism.

Echoes - A jazzy improvisation.

Time is Modulation - Sweeps through the entire Cycle of Fifths (in reverse order) every twelve beats. That means every two beats that go by ascend a major second, and every three that go by descend by a minor third. Somewhere in the middle it settles on a single resting place, where it holds fast to the end of the piece as it drifts into meditation.

Sunrise - Imagine a sunrise on a spring day. Starting just before dawn.

Child of God - The title was a kind of joke, and the result of a philosophical dispute. It has little to do with the piece, or anything I necessarily believe.

Summer '78 - I had just begun to learn principles of classical voice-leading and counterpoint when I wrote this piece. As many of us, I was striving to reconcile my modern sensibility with the archaic (but useful) set of rules. Probably the earliest composition on the album (1978)

Spacing Slowly - Modern, classic and romantic styles side by side.

Nocturne - I was studying Chopin and trying to emulate some of his composition techniques.

Moody Road - I used to ride my bicycle on this road, on my way home from Foothill Junior College, where I was studying music.

Dream Fugue - The initial melody and the idea of the texture came to me in a dream

Improv: Excerpt - I transcribed a segment from a previous improvisation, then used it in turn as the basis for further improvisation.

Fugue from "The Curtain Falls" - The album it comes from is largely based on two themes, one of which underlies the subject of this fugue. The conceptual theme of the album was how life is like a stage, but what happens when the curtain falls on the drama? What goes on backstage? I was studying Yogananda and 'A Course in Miracles' at the time. If you figure out the answer, please be sure to let me know.

Solstice - Celebration of the solstice one year.

Under the Waves - Imagine a descent into the depths.

Broccoli in Regalia - Zappa fans will understand this title.

Lily Why - inspired by "Lily white" by Cat Stevens

Distraction Meditation - one in a series of meditation pieces I have recorded. This one is from the album "Driven by Distraction"

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