Each CD has an amazing life of its own. These pieces are works in progress which will I may or may not edit.I’ll be working on these over the next year; so please stay tuned. Rusty
After living in Los Angeles for 10 years, doing the things musicians do in L.A., in 1986 I made a visit to property that I had won when I was 12 or 13. You see, I have been paying $5 annually for New Mexico property taxes since ca. 1962, but had never visited the land/lot in Taos, N.M. The story of how I won is for another time, because it’s long and must be articulated properly. I saw the property, and yes it’s in a primitive beautiful desert, and no I don’t want to move and build a straw bail house there. That said, I was in Northern New Mexico for the first time in my life and I was loving the place, air, atmosphere, color, texture, charge, beauty, all of it! So driving south from Santa Fe I stopped for 2 days at a friend’s home, and in a moment I knew this was the place that I was going to pack up and move to; And did. Before I left to collect my belongings in Los Angeles, I made a “house sitter available” flyer that I put on every house I thought I’d like to live in. So I drove a little south of Santa Fe and every house with acreage that was beautiful with a view in Sunlit Hills or Arroyo Hondo, I put a note in their box stating: House sitter available, musician, computer programmer, handyman, single with a scotty dog of 8 years (Cutty, the “Dogwhan”). For the next 1.5 years I lived in the desert with my dog composing music with the place being the inspiration, writing computer code, hiking/walking, rejuvenating, and playing a weekly jazz gig every Monday night at El Farol in Santa Fe, NM on Canyon Road, in a then funky Spanish Tapas restaurant that had a lively and sometimes bizarre music scene. It was outstanding! One night after a night of jazz at El Farol, Riki, a patron of the restaurant came up to me and asked me what I was doing out in the desert. You see, I would only come into town on Mondays. Being in the quiet of the desert after ten years of the Los Angeles experience was heaven. So I said I was writing music reflecting on the desert–letting the desert compose, which was very minimal, sparce, and with simple melodic content. There was the emptiness of the “first noticed” desert but as you listened closer there is detail and activity. Anyway, I gave a cassette mix down of some pieces I had recorded to Riki. She raved over the music and said it was better than of the current “new age” music. I’d never heard that term for a genre of music, nor knew that quiet reflective music was called that. I was simply reflecting on the high desert of N.M. in music. And yes the music was quiet, simple, without many elements, and serene. That’s what I was feeling.
But I must diverge for a moment. Months before I ever played the music for anyone other than myself, I noticed something which was a turning point. Where I lived in Arroyo Hondo in an upstairs apartment with a 270 degree view right over the indigenous pinon trees (truly heavenly awesome), I had about 8 dogs that would run a bit wild in the neighbor hood. You see, where I was all of the surrounding property owners had 5-10 acres and no fences. So there were a lot of neighborhood dogs that would cruise about and it was OK with everyone. So loving dogs I would throw treats down to the friendly pack of them. Whenever I did this there was a bunch of playing and noise that would go on for 30 or more minutes. Over time dogs would show up at my place and want to play and get rowdy. One day when working on a mix of desert inspired music I through out these french doors I had and noticed the rowdy dogs below seeming to slow down to the music. I didn’t think too much about it, until the same thing happened a few days later. Hmm, the scientist in me thought, I’ll go really get them going with some treats and then play the desert music I’d been recording to them. Sure enough, a group of 5-8 dogs playing and barking would slow down before your eyes in about a 5 minute period. I noticed this and logged it in the back of my mind as a hmm, “this music I’m working on mellows out these dogs that live near me.”
Back to the story a paragraph ago; then Riki asked what I’d like to do with this music and I said I wanted to merge music, place, and nature soundscapes while being in “Sacred Places” (places acknowledged to possess a “special something” about them). It all popped out of mouth without any pre-thought. The next question was where would I like to go for a project. Out of the blue I said, “Machu Picchu, Peru, without hesitation. Why Machu Picchu, I don’t know. Maybe I had seen a photogragh of the misty shrouded ruins earlier in life.
More to come. So many great experience life can be.