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Paul Muzea

ambient, world and otherworld music

The year of the CD

Posted by paulmuzea_wp on January 1, 2017
Posted in Music in progressProgress in music. 

The last sunset of 2016, Fremont Center,NY

I have been threatening the release of the CD “Ambient Energy” for several  years now. Unsuccessfully.

This year that will change.

First, a reason/excuse why it’s not done after all this time:

Short answer-it just doesn’t feel right yet.

Longer answer-It’s an ambient album, and creating an ambiance is creating a feeling. If the feeling is not evoked, the album’s a failure. By definition ambiance is a feeling, not just a sound.

The CD has become a bit of a mental/musical block. With at least three other CD’s of material lined up in my queue, none of which are ambient, focus can get diluted. So focus needs to be placed back on the CD at hand. And it has.

I’m really beginning to enjoy ambient energy, and enjoying working on something makes it much easier to persevere. It’s beginning to take on the 4 dimensions I envision and define as ambiance:

  1. Width: of sound, or stereo space
  2. Height: of sound, or frequency spectrum
  3. Depth: some items deep and far away in the mix, others front and center.
  4. Time cohesion: this is the concept that time-space must be gently transitioned through, as Steve Reich once stated “Like the shifting sand of a beach slowly and subtly being sculpted by the waves (not his exact words, but close to the point)

There is one more track that need be added to the CD. It is a piece I created in the early eighties, titled “Arctic Winds”, conceived at the foot of a glacier in a remote area of Alaska a good ways off the the Valdez highway (Chitina, for you map lovers-some places you never forget).

As a side note, that evening I camped within 20 feet of a roaring waterfall. There is an audio-related reason I mention this. Of the thousands of nights I have slept in a tent, only about 2 dozen really stand out a truly memorable and that was one of them. Though the sound of the falls was deafening i had a great rest that night. The power of organic white noise I guess.

The original composition, though still powerful at evoking the space I envisioned, lacked the feel, due to limits of technology (4-track reel-to-reel, DX-7 and sequencer) and the lacking of my production abilities at the time. I feel it is in need of a modern make-over.

For historical purposes, I posted the original “Eighties rendition” on soundcloud.

That is the one major task that need be tackled before the final CD compilation work. But it will get done. And I make the vow that “Ambient Energy” will be completed in 2017.

And in this opening to another year. I beg your indulgence and leave you with this wish/toast/quote I found on a back road deep in the snow covered mountains of upstate New York:

In this new year:
May you choose paths that take you to the destination of your desires by the start of the next.
May you never be swayed from the path of your dreams
May you never beckon someone from their own.
May you have the good fortune to have a companion that shares your path
And may you have the wisdom and courage to bid a warm farewell when paths must part
May you always choose the right path over the familiar and comfortable one.

 

Rendition of Arctic Winds from 1984

One Fall Evening

Posted by paulmuzea_wp on October 6, 2016
Posted in Much ado... 

One Fall Evening

Staying in touch with the green world around me is a big part of where music comes from for me.

I sat on the edge of a high cliff overlooking the river valley, and watched the sun back down behind the mountain
Cast lengthening shadows
And golden early fall light as far as the eye could see.
I could hear the sound of the wind in the trees
And I could smell the rock of the cliff.

 

Sunset-Anywhere and NowhereEach sunset is so unique
And yet can bring back memories of so many others:
A peaceful windy evening on the prarie near Albert Lea
A dead still November night camped out on a service road in death valley
Where the only sound was that of your hearbeat,
The sun dropping into the pacific ocean as seen from the coastal mountains in the Olympics.
A bitter cold evening camped in the high snows on Mt marcy, with the last alpenglow turning the confection covered pines a rich pastel pink.
The sky turned to fire as the sun dropped below the clouds of what had been a battleship gray dismal day at the foot of the Columbia glacier in Alberta.

All these memories came back to me. And for a little while, I couldn’t remember what it was that was troubling me earlier.

In search of ambient energy…

Posted by paulmuzea_wp on October 3, 2015
Posted in Much ado... 

Has it been over a year since I last posted?! Well, I shouldn’t be surprised. They say time flies when your having fun, and the past two years were the best of my life, performing and touring with the most amazing artist I’ve ever had the luck to meet, work and live with. Lucky with a capital L.

But now I’m back in another place I love.  That’s right here.

I haven’t been totally devoid of my own work during my side projects; as a matter of fact, I’m pretty deep into and far along into the next CD “Ambient Energy”

Ambient Energy2

Where does ambient energy come from?

Ambient energy is:

The creative process. The output of the soul.

Where does it come from? Why? Questions asked since as long as humans scratched out the first image on rock or beat on a log in rhythm.

The reflection of the universe as we know it, as we see it. So that maybe some one else may someday see it too.

I don’t know about anyone else, but for me it is a lie for me to think it comes from within, as if it’s special, (the word normally used to describe it is “talented”). I don’t know about anyone else, but any music that comes out of me is coming through me. Maybe talent is just the ability to channel that ambient energy from the universe to the ears of listeners- and that’s what music really is. Maybe. I don’t know.

It is a lie when an artist says “I do it only for myself”.  They may not listen to criticism, but they do need to be heard. It is as natural as breathing to be heard by your fellow humans. Music without an audience is like singing in a vacuum. No ears, no point.

So I offer up a listen to anyone who will hear.

This is destined to be the opening track on the CD “Ambient Energy”. I hope it will put you in the place of solitude I always seek. The track is named Alberio, the name of a star 430 light years away, found in the constellation Cygnus. It is a beautiful name for a star, and a beautiful name for a song.

 

Live for live music

Posted by paulmuzea_wp on August 23, 2014
Posted in Much ado...  | Tagged With: ,

The summers are always filled with the sounds of live music everywhere here in the shadow of Woodstock.
Each year in early August, the hippies, old (who remember the festival in ’69) and new( who wish they remembered it) return for what equates to a religious experience.The road to Woodstock
Yasgurs old farm, (though not the place where the actual festival took place, but the closest thing to it that allows hippies en masse to congregate) is filled with tents, resurrected VW buses and people, young and old, just reaching back to a simpler time of hope,love, harmony, along with alot of dope and great music.
It’s hard to fight “the flow” around here. Year round “the site” has a subtle yet profound effect on the land and the people. You notice a quiet reverence from those who visit the corner of Hurd and West Settlement roads, ground zero right near where the stage then stood for a half a million people, and a plaque commemorating it now stands. Traveling these sleepy bucolic roads, it’s hard to believe this gentle field was the stage for an event that changed a nation, a culture and history forever. Hard to not get quiet and introspective. Santana put it best when he returned for the first time forty years later: “This is sacred ground”Ground Zero-Woodstock
So summer around here is simply about playing music live, lots of it; acoustic and electric, blues, rock, world and anything else you can think of. Live music is forever in the DNA of the land, so we celebrate it long, loud and sweet. The night air mingles the scent of jasmine and weed, and the sound of the crickets at night and locusts by day mix with the sound of guitars.
And I am so humbled to be part of making the sounds of summer that are part of the celebration of Woodstock. The winters are cold and hard, and there’s plenty of time for the studio then. Right now it’s about the music, the moment it happens and the people who make it. Deep in the brilliant summer nights. Live and loud.

Jimmie

 

River People

Posted by paulmuzea_wp on April 27, 2014
Posted in Much ado...  | Tagged With: , ,

We as a species are generally dwellers. There are some who are drifters, wanderers, nomads, but basically we as a race find a place we like and stick with it. Or never move from where we were born.

I now live several miles from the Delaware river. The part that runs clear as drinking water. Bald and golden eagles live here. Wild trout live here.
We like to think a place we live in is ours. But in fact, it’s the opposite; we belong to the land. If I were to move away,something would be missing. From me. And from the land. Owning land seems such an absurd concept. Sitting Bull, when asked about selling “his people’s land” replied “selling the land is like selling your ancestors”

I know many people who do possess a strong connection to this place, though they never mention it; its not blatantly obvious they all belong to the river but it is evident. Part of this family.
We are river people.
As part of a family we feel the need to protect loved ones. And that includes the river. The only thing on it’s side is time. The river will endure. Damaged, injured,it will heal with time; will remain as it has for tens of thousands of year.
But we don’t. We as individuals are far less significant and enduring than the place we “own”. Our significance as humans only goes so far as the extent we interact with our surroundings, will become our legacy, for better or worse.
Doing nothing leaves nothing. Do something good for the place you live.

The Delaware River near Narrowsburg, NY as seen from the center.

Once given the distinction of being the cleanest River in the US, the upper Delaware River region is under pressure from big money and big energy companies for development of Hydro-fracking for natural gas.

Ambassador of Music

Posted by paulmuzea_wp on November 18, 2013
Posted in Much ado...  | Tagged With: , , , ,

The world should be thick and full of rhythms and grooves. The beat of the planet is such that music of all kinds, no matter how different or how far flung from the edges of the planet will always meld together in the human song of life. The artist that takes music from one part of the world and makes it fit seemlessly into another is the true ambassador of humanity, bypassing futile boundaries of language and reaching right into the heart.
The world just lost one of those grooves. DJ Cheb I Sabbah, an artist I greatly admired.

one of my favorites:
Esh ‘Dani, Alash Mshit The Rai of Light Club Remix]

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA

Where was I…

Posted by paulmuzea_wp on November 16, 2013
Posted in Progress in music. 

The last 5 months have kept this studio pretty well occupied with business as… not so usual.
I don’t usually take on artists’ projects. But when I heard Sara’s voice, her soulful lyrics, I felt like I didn’t have a choice-I needed to do this. Maybe it’s stupid to get so attached, but when I feel strongly about an artist or music, I can’t leave well enough alone.
She was just embarking on producing her debut CD. What started as an offer to play guitar on a session or two turned into a major part of production on the CD. Now Sara and I are building her a band-I feel fortunate to play guitar in it.
Producing her tracks has been a real joy- I never tire of hearing her sing. But my work on them is done-kissed off to final mix and mastering.

And now it’s time for me to get back to where I left off on at home. My music is an entire mindset, a world away from what I do live with Sara.
For me they are not tracks, they are a place unto themselves and a time unto themselves. They are a solo journey I have yet to find a partner or group to join me on. They feel like visions. They feel like worlds. When I open the door to that tiny room deep in the wee hours of the night- I don’t see a tiny room. I see a wide open expanse of aural possibilities, limitless in all directions. No matter which direction I choose, I know that I can’t possible reach the end. It is mind boggling and inspiring, like being an astral traveler.
Dimensionless, timeless, spaceless and infinite.
Where I was when I left off is irrelevant. I will pick up right…. here and I will head… there. And there will be music along the way. Always.

But here’s a little of what Sara and I have been doing for the past five months..
https://soundcloud.com/sarahulse/marigolds-premaster

Playing for a cause.

Posted by paulmuzea_wp on November 10, 2013
Posted in Much ado...  | Tagged With: , , , , ,

So we are a village.
People who play music-or people who do anything that contributes to a better world for no other reason than it’s the right thing to do, can’t help but get together when someone’s in need.
As of late I have stepped back a little from a solitary world of softsynths, ethereal pads and electronic grooves and returned to a world of music that is live, flesh and blood, sweat and heat; where you smile at someone in the middle of a great groove and they smile back and it just gets better. Music the way it’s been since the beginning. Souls singing out using just voices and a few taught strings or skins.

Yesterday I was part of a benefit concert for a 5 month girl with a malignant tumor. Stage 3 Cancer.
The local (and not so local) talent that came out to support was humbling. And all that talent itself was humble. A lot of time and effort for no other reason than it’s the right thing to do. I will always be in awe of people who do that. It is the prime mission of any human.
“Help others when you can”. If I can remember that and stick to it, happiness is so ridiculously easy to attain and maintain.

Hats off to Papa John who worked to put this all together. A great drummer and a great human.

Donations for Elena Marie Sanchez

First listen-15 years later

Posted by paulmuzea_wp on August 30, 2013
Posted in Much ado... 

In the late 90’s I was at a session doing guitar work for a friend at Clinton Studios in New York.
When I got to the studio that evening I got to hear, for the first time, the track I was going to play on.
The track grew on me quickly, and stuck in my head long after, even though it was be the last time I would hear it for many years.
Just today, I got the email, all these years later, with the finished track attached.
I like the song even more now, so I thought it’d be cool to post it.

What I remember most about the date was working in studio A at Clinton.
Now long closed, Clinton studio, like all those old studios in New York, had a stellar history. At least 40 feet long and 30 feet high, Studio A was a sound stage that could contain an entire orchestra. They would record soundtracks for Disney movies, as well as countless commercials. I remember sitting between takes at the 9 foot Steinway, thinking to myself “this piano accompanied Sinatra…”

Here’s a shot of Studio A at Clinton.

studio

I set up my tiny 250ML amp on a chair, about 15 feet in front of the control room window, facing out into the room, with a Neumann Mic in front and a DI feed in the back. I turned up. All the way up. Most sessions you never remember. Some you never forget…

Summer Sessions

Posted by paulmuzea_wp on August 13, 2013
Posted in Progress in music. 

Living in paradise-I live where people go on vacation.  The drawback is you never go on vacation-but I love my work so it’s cool.

My own material has taken a back burner as of late for a few side projects. Some background music for a video, an experimental trio with me on guitar.

And Sara.

When I first heard Sara, (even before I got inside the building where she was performing-I heard her from outside)  my first thought was “Man she’s good! What is this singer doing in this place?”

As I got to know her and her music, I became more drawn into the sound of her voice, the lyrics and the sound she creates with just her tiny ukulele.  This lady’s talent runs deep.

So here I am, doing production on someone else music for her debut CD. Something I never planned to do.

The biggest challenge is not to let the music get in the way of her voice. Easy to do, because the songs are so strong. But it’s all about making her sound the best.

I really hope I see this lady go far. I’m here to give her a solid push in that direction.

One of her songs. Not bad production wise, but not done yet.

Tabularasa