Posts Tagged Tracking the Bear

New Album by Bill Leyden — “Tracking the Bear”

Each time that I start a music project I wait to see if the music is going to come out as solo Native American-style flute music or whether there will be orchestration. I admit to a certain soft spot for orchestrated soundtracks, and I think I naturally lean to string arrangements with the addition of traditional woodwinds like the silver flute and the oboe.

I can’t really say that I ever start a musical project — more truly, it starts me! The last project, “Talking Stick” was like that. The recording hiatus that I had planned ended abruptly even before it started. And here it comes again – “Tracking the Bear.”

As a videographer, I find that many of the tracks are suitable for backing tracks of life stories and testimonials of trans-formation. This is music of contemplation and  transformation. The musical phrases do not often repeat, but instead follow an idea to a conclusion ‘in-the-moment.’

The Sacred Wood Block Used on "Tracking the Bear"

After completing the album, I noticed that the flute phrases would appear in different  tracks, slightly altered as if they were sweetened scents on the wind. Of course! I was  tracking a musical scent. I hope you enjoy the result.  Look for it on BandCamp and iTunes in February, 2012.

About the Flutes
On this album, I used flutes made by the following friends and craftsmen:

Stephen Deruby, and
Geoffrey Ellis

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“Tracking the Bear” at ReverbNation

I decided to put the title track of this album-in-progress as an exclusive download on ReverbNation. I have become a big fan of ReverbNation – it’s a great venue for artists to share. If you click on the “Tracking the Bear” song link it may ask you for your email (don’t be afraid), and you’ll be able to hear the track in its entirety months before the album is ready.

Anyway, I am going to stop telling myself that I am going to take a break from recording; every time that I do, I find myself right back in the studio. I think it because the music seems to act as my aural diary – tracking what I am doing and feeling from-day-to-day.

We smile in my family when my brother takes his annual vacations from Europe to visit us. I think he does this in August because that is the month that they close France! Over the years, as my brother has worked in Africa, I think he has developed a personality that I describe as ‘percussive’ (at least, that’s my take on it).

An intelligent man, fiercely loyal to his family, my brother has (as we all do) certain pecadillos. Among these are his distrust of all taxi drivers, a European resistance to tipping and a compelling desire to expound on the state of American politics. (He has my gratitude for resisting this latter desire in my presence).

As I get older, on the other hand, I search for stillness and an absence of percussion. So when my brother left to return to France this year, I was contemplating our relationship; he as the bear or dragon – and I as the rabbit. And I headed again for the recording studio with the irreverent working title of ‘Pokin the Bear,’ which I quickly discarded in search of another. I settled instead on ‘Tracking the Bear.’ And the music began to manifest with mysterious background sounds which I interpreted as the bear’s cave.

The totem for this work, as usual is a preliminary mock-up of the album art:

"Tracking the Bear" Album Art

The first track starts out with the rumbling of a large, cavernous space. The rumble is broken by the breathy trill from a Native American style flute made for me by Geoffrey Ellis of Earth Tone Flutes. The musical textures evolve invoking a celestial mood and then to a seductive percussion with cascading melodies. I pulled a Fender American Standard Stratocaster into the track for a couple of twangs.

I hope you enjoy listening to it … you are listening to my diary.

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