About Gone to the Other Shore
In summer of 2016 I spent a bit more than a week alone in Iceland, mainly on the south coast and in the eastern fjords. It was a major spiritual refresher after doing a hard partying, different-city-every-day sort of tour in Europe for the previous few weeks. I’d sit by waterfalls and hum melodies into my iPhone’s voice recorder.
Gone to the Other Shore combines those melodies, almost unedited, with sounds from many of the world’s oceans. It includes Antarctic seal calls, a hydrophone recording of a blue whale singing off the coast of California, the basin of the Caribbean sea vibrating like a whistle with the tides (this had to be recorded from space, and sped up quite a bit, as the original was 28 octaves below the bottom of the piano), and waves and waterfalls I recorded around Iceland.
“Gone to the other shore” is a translation of the Sanskrit word “paramitas.” According to the Buddhist teacher Pema Chodron, the paramitas are a set of
activities used to take practitioners “beyond aversion and attachment, beyond being all caught up in ourselves, beyond our illusion of separateness.” The ocean has always made me feel that way – when you swim in it, you’re in the same water our ancestors swam in, sailed on, and lived off of. The title, when I came across it in Pema’s writing, only seemed fitting.
Many thanks go to Chris W. Hughes, Professor of Sea-Level Science at the University of Liverpool and the National Oceanography Centre, for the use of the “Caribbean Whistle” recording, the Australian Antarctic Division of Australia’s Department of the Environment and Energy for the seal calls, and MBARI_MARS (http://www.freesound.org/people/MBARI_MARS) for the blue whale.
This commission, for Erika Binsley, was funded in part by the Meir Rimon Commissioning Assistance Program of the International Horn Society.