Synth Harmony

Electronic keyboards up close and personal.

Melancholy Fanfares

April 13th, 2020

A curtain of gloom
Like evening mist of autumn
Hangs in poetic brain.

Nosheen Irfan

  This was recorded in September 2017 as I first experimented with the four HD camera setup.  Things were not coming together easily or going well. This darkened my mood.  I must of been daydreaming of 16th century festival music mixed in with my own swirling thoughts.

Solo live improvised performance, Kurzweil K2600R MIDI module, Infinite Response MIDI controller digital keyboard.  I put on the walnut veneer on top of the keyboard since I was so very tired of black metal.  Yes, that's a Korg NanoKontrol sitting on top where I change my sounds, connected to a Mac Mini running Plogue Bidule which makes everything work like magic.    

Morning Stroll

April 10th, 2020

A desultory walking jazz escapade while daydreaming of a morning stroll.  

Bamboo In The Rain: Part Two

March 29th, 2020

My mind goes wandering in Chinese gardens
Where sacred lotus flowers bloom in vain
I'll never see or touch those crisp, white blossoms,
Nor thrill to rustling bamboo in the rain.

They say the secrets hidden in thick bushes
Can only be revealed to emperors.
Not even they can see the garden in its fullness
Until their road has ended, life has run the course.

--excerpt from "Chinese Gardens" by Liilia Morrison

  With the foot pedals under my feet I was mixing in celestial voices, cascades of bamboo percussion, and a panoply of spacey sounds from virtual synths Rob Papen's Blue II and Spectrasonics's Omnisphere.  Underneath that is the electric piano sound from the Kurzweil 2600.  

Bamboo In The Rain: Part One

March 29th, 2020

No one can tell what's hidden in your gardens
That only emperors may fathom joyfully.
I lie here on an ordinary meadow.
My answer here, too close to really see.

My mind goes wandering in Chinese gardens,
Where sacred lotus flowers bloom in vain.
I'll never see or touch those crisp, white blossoms,
Nor thrill to rustling bamboo in the rain. “

from "China Gardens" by Liilia Morrison

Recorded in October of 2017, using arpeggiation from SpectraSonic's virtual synth "Omnisphere" combined with conventional piano and strings from the Kurzweil K2600.  

Anyone who knows performing musicians knows that they are not always in their "right" minds, or in their minds at all.  Here, obviously, I was floating above it all.



Mystic Harmony: Part Two

March 29th, 2020

<Ahh!>  No poem for this one.  What happened?  How did I get into this strange night club and what's wrong with that bass player?  I try one door after another, dreaming of my escape.  There are strange robots dancing together in this room.  Door slam, this room is better.  Someone has discovered triple meter.  A side venture into blues, the robots grooving along.  Perhaps I'm in New York City walking on the sidewalk above a subway grate feeling the steamy hiss.  Cue the movie music, very late night edition.  Off we go to a final cadence in dissolving tonic tonality, a final fizz. </Ahh!>

Mystic Harmony: Part One

March 29th, 2020

Birdsong brings relief  
to my longing  
I'm just as ecstatic as they are,  
but with nothing to say!  
Please universal soul, practice  
some song or something through me!  


    On a wandering path with some feelings of urgency.  The reverberent echo accents the virtual chiff of my digital pipes.  


Grandeur: Part Two

March 29th, 2020

Childish simplicity.  Some bells reminiscent of my years playing Saron in the gamelon.  Now a new diversion.  There a new path.

Nearly understood phrases underscore bells.  Lydian harmonies, raised 4ths, mellotron swells and soaring sounds of voices never understood.  Breaking rules of harmony to cherish a melody.  Like church bells, rising chromaticism, silent movie musical dramatics.
"Aye yah, aye yah", say the voices. 

Grandeur: Part One

March 29th, 2020

“Your task is not to seek for love, but merely to seek and find all the barriers within yourself that you have built against it.”  Rumi

Romance is not the absence of loneliness.  Looking across a barren plain for a friendly face.  Love must be kindled from within.


Flowing Water, Part Two

March 29th, 2020

The Rose that Grew from Concrete

Did you hear about the rose that grew
from a crack in the concrete?
Proving nature's law is wrong it
learned to walk with out having feet.

Funny it seems, but by keeping it's dreams,
it learned to breathe fresh air.

Long live the rose that grew from concrete
when no one else ever cared.

William Blake

Here I depart from sounding like a guitar and play as a pianist.  The chorus stop swells and fades from one of the MIDI foot pedals under my left foot.  I dream of breaking free of the concrete in my life, walking without feet, flying without wings.

Flowing Water, Part One

March 28th, 2020
you are my strum,
my tune,
and all my guitars

Madi Cook

Here in "Flowing Water" I am playing with the sound of the Classical Guitar played on the keyboard.  Sometimes it's like a harpsichord on a lute stop, other times it is reminiscent of the nylon acoustic guitar without trying too hard to imitate it.

I only play this because of my love of the nylon classical instrument, played only by fingers without a pick, held close to your chest with the vibrations entering your heart.  Many a night I fell asleep while embracing a guitar, only to wake and gently put it into its case.  On keyboard I can play things that I wish I could play on guitar but really can't.  However, the keyboard is not a guitar and I never forget that.  It takes me to different places.

Love and Harmony

March 28th, 2020

Love and harmony combine,
And round our souls entwine
While thy branches mix with mine,
And our roots together join.

Joys upon our branches sit,
Chirping loud and singing sweet;
Like gentle streams beneath our feet
Innocence and virtue meet.

William Blake (excerpt)


This is my favorite work from the fall 2017 recording season.  I find both Blake's poem and this music quite romantic.  

Picture Impressions: Symphonic Escapades

March 28th, 2020

Russian winter is setting in. Another shot of Vodka called for at once.  The cavalry gallops over the Steppes, Cossacks with their swords out as brass, strings, and percussions rise to the challenge.  More Mussorgsky chords ensue, then a chain of harmonic suspensions until the left hand gallops up with a noble theme and the Red Army Choir calms everyone down.  Then Baba Yaga shows up with an overactive coffee percolator which percolates in arpeggiated contrapuntal rhythms to the theme.  After an impressive display of horsemanship the Caffeinated Cossacks dismount and pass the melody to the Celestial Bells.  The bells and the coffee percolator perform a charming pas-de-deux as the bubbling music and the sunset both slowly fade, late-night FM DJ style.

Picture Impressions: Swans On The Lake

March 28th, 2020

Modest Mussorgsky pulls Claude Debussey out of the lake.  The swans look on with bemused superiority, hissing and shaking their heads.  It all ends well enough with a picnic lunch and a concluding ascending F major arpeggio.

Picture Impressions: The Walk Continues

March 28th, 2020

The Mussorgsky continues until morale improves, which it does at the end of this piece with a romantic theme and a starry ending.

Picture Impressions: Overture

March 28th, 2020

Waves of Modest Mussorgsky's chordal constructions fall upon my digital shores. 

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