Azure Miles Records ~ The Music of Michael Robinson
Cover art is hand silkscreened paper from Japan
1. Earth and Rivers (Jog) (1996) 33:17
meruvina: kemanche, Indian, African and Balinese percussion, tanpura
2. Indian Jasmine (Bhupali) (1997) 29:15
meruvina: sitar, South American, Indian and Near Eastern percussion, tanpura
3. October Sky (Kedara) (1996) 4:46
meruvina: kemanche, bells, male voices, female voices
All music composed and programmed by Michael Robinson for performance and recording in real time without any overdubbingor added parts.
Recorded and Mastered by Catharine Wood at the Planetwood Productions studio in Eagle Rock (Los Angeles), California.
Musicians are welcome to play these compositions using acoustic and/or electronic instruments.
Jasmine opens with Earth and Rivers, my interpretation of Raga Jog. Jog was
introduced to me by the great North Indian violinist of the same name, V.G.
Jog, on a recording with Zakir Hussain. This CD is a marvel of raga development
using varying versions of the same phrases. The use of both komal and shuddha
ga, along with komal ni, suggests what turns out to be a superficial similarity
with blues and jazz. Nonetheless, it was this connection that made Jog one of
the first ragas I grasped. The
following year, I heard another Hindustani violinist, Kala Ramnath, perform
Jog live, with Ajit Pathak on tabla, and this was also a memorable performance.
For Earth and Rivers (Jog), I use a kemanche, joined rather unusually with percussion in the alap. The kemanche also employs a number of double stops. The jor and jhala further explore this unique raga, the name of which is related to yoga, and the male/female union of opposites.
title piece is based on Raga Bhupali, a universal pentatonic scale. This raga
is traditionally played in the early evening. Indian Jasmine uses sitar for
the melodic voice. I have never to this day heard Bhupali played by a sitar
except for here. After the alap, the music undergoes a number of tempo increases.
Sky resulted from Nazir Ali Jairazbhoy asking me to write a composition based
upon one of his raga diagrams, which depict the melodic movements of individual
ragas in graphic lines. The one he chose for me was Raga Kedara, which has since
become one of my favorite ragas. My first attempt using the diagram was met
with numerous corrections by Nazir, and my second entirely new attempt fared
a little better. My third completely new attempt met with his approval - he
did not request a single change. To this melody, I then added a dancing bell-like
ostinato, and male and female voices to accompany the kemanche. Nazir played
a recording of October Sky for the 1997 All India Music Conference.
Michael Robinson, December 1999, Lahaina
1999 Michael Robinson All rights reserved
slowly unfolding beautiful music emanates from Robinson's computer in the recording
'Indian Jasmine.' The CD includes three compositions, two extended, and one
brief, featuring the sounds of various South Asian and African instruments.
'Earth and Rivers' is a lengthy meditation, a call and response dialog between
kemanche and percussion. The title composition 'Indian Jasmine' opens with tanpura,
as in an Indian raga. Sampled sounds of sitar, individually plucked notes reminiscence
of a hammered dulcimer, ring out after a few moments of solo tanpura introduction.
Half way into 'Jasmine', percussion sounds enter, carefully articulating complex
solo lines. Towards the conclusion, the sitar speeds up.