Guitar and field recordings
7 minutes

Program note

Connection is the result of a fascinating collaboration with my friend Fabricio Mattos, founder and artistic director of Worldwide Guitar Connections. We met when he visited Los Angeles on the first Worldwide Guitar Connections tour, and while we were talking about his travels he mentioned that he'd kept a recorder with him and captured the sounds of the various places he'd visited, and that he wanted to commission a piece to tie all of the recordings together. I had recently returned home to LA after living in London, and had had an uncannily similar idea about combining recordings from all the cities in Europe I'd visited. We said go, and he sent me his recordings the next day.

The piece took nearly two years from that day to write. I found that writing an instrumental accompaniment to recorded soundscapes was one of the hardest musical things I'd ever set out to do. Everything I wrote felt like throwing a guitar on top of the recordings, rather than having the guitar and recordings work together toward something cohesive. I wrote 10 seconds to four minutes of music and threw it all out at least four or five times, and eventually decided a change of strategy was in order. Instead of accompanying the recordings, I'd write a musical structure and narrative on the guitar, and use the recordings, with some minimal manipulations, to accompany it. The piece came together almost immediately after this change in thinking, and I finished writing it down within a few days.

The recordings used are from quite a few locations all over the world. Fabricio's recording engineer and mixer, Beto Japa, helped make them sound incredibly clear and powerful. I hope that, by combining them in the way I did, their geographic significance disappears and we hear them as being all part of the same place.

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