Michael Robinson

Green Garnets

Cover art is handmade paper from India



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A Delight To Hear (Greg Sandow)


The Bright Beat of Drum Brushes (Carla Crow)


Featured on RTQE (Gregory Taylor)


1. Green Garnets 53:59

meruvina: Hammond organ, choir, drums

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Composed, Programmed and Mixed by Michael Robinson

Recorded and Mastered by Catharine Wood at Planetwood Studios

Green Garnets was engendered being a musical meditation on lost friendship and lost innocence conjured by early teenage adventures, the prevailing rasa suggesting sadness, known in Hindustani music as karuna rasa. However, adding emotional complexity, karuna is also the word Buddha used for compassion, and every listener hears music differently, including variously for one's self at different moments in time. And there is no limitation for the possible range of emotions Green Garnets may spark going beyond those touched upon here.

Beginning with a potent sequence of chords, I colored them with rich vocal textures. Fortunately, I was able to find a specific Hammond organ timbre that meshes perfectly with the vocal choir, including projecting the gloriously grand image of a church organ playing an Indian raga. The liquidity of the organ encompasses pleasingly varied tone colors over a span of registers. Both the organ and choir follow Just Intonation.

After the fact, I realized how a raga befitting my chords is none other than Kirvani, one of the most sublime ragas from India, with origins in Carnatic music, later adopted by Hindustani musicians. Joining Kirvani fleetingly is Asavari Thaat, the tonal difference being Shuddha Nishada for the former and Komal Nishada for the latter.

At the time I created my aural realization of the notated score, the mournful news that Shivkumar Sharma had left us reached me, and there was an immediate connection with Green Garnets because Kirvani was one of his favorite ragas, those recordings and videos by Sharma having touched me profoundly.

Adding to the vocal choir and organ, two twelve-matra drum ostinati alternate, the second pattern deeper sounding and more driving than the first. I found it especially dramatic to silence the drums at a particular interval, making the overall rhythmic cycle for Green Garnets no less than 132 matras, complimenting the chordal ostinato of 16 matras.

It may be that the Image of Green Garnets overshadows the Language, even if the Language provides essential detail being born from jazz, Indian classical, European classical and rock at once, this being my richly varied musical heritage.

- Michael Robinson, July 2022, Los Angeles


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