Gino Foti - Global Resonances
Gino Foti - Bass Guitars, MIDI Bass Guitar, Loops & Samples
- Triune Aspect - Part I:
Where Sweetness And Torment Blend (4:00)
- Seishinryoku (4:57)
- Umoja (4:42)
- Ten Thousand Dharmas (6:11)
- Courageous Convictions (4:26)
- Triune Aspect - Part II:
Miradas Pensativas (4:34)
- Wandering Over Withered Fields (5:00)
- Mountain Pass (3:38)
- The Heart Of Every Noble Thought (4:00)
- Dwelling In Enchantment (3:48)
- Amor Fati (4:48)
- Rhythm Of Living (3:55)
- The End Of Sorrow (5:35)
- Triune Aspect - Part III:
Prismatic Rays (6:30)
Dave Kulju - Electric Guitars on Courageous Convictions
"With the music of the Absolute, the bass - the undertone - is going on continuously, but on the surface and under the various keys of all the instruments of nature's music the undertone is hidden and subdued. Every being with life comes to the surface and again returns whence it came, as each note has its return to the ocean of sound.
The undertone of this existence is the loudest and the softest, the highest and the lowest. It overwhelms all instruments of soft or loud, high or low tone, until all gradually merge in it. This undertone always is, and always will be." ~ Hazrat Inayat Khan
During one of his many experiments, scientist and inventor Nikola Tesla discovered that the Earth has a resonant frequency close to 8 Hertz which radiates after powerful electromagnetic events, such as lightning. Physicist Winfried Otto Schumann predicted the same mathematically in the early 1950s, and scientific tests performed later in that decade confirmed that the global resonances excited by lightning discharges in the cavity formed by the planet's surface and the ionosphere resonate at a main frequency of 7.83 Hz, with its harmonics found around 14, 20, 26, 33, 39 and 45 Hz (with daily variations of +/- 0.5).
Not coincidentally, these frequencies are within the same range of our alpha, beta, and gamma brainwaves. The latter's frequency range can be found on the lower register of a standard bass guitar, and has been associated with optimal brain function, increased mental abilities, and higher awareness of reality, in several recent studies.
Given my decision to silence all keyboards and synthesizers for this release, and focus on bass guitars, I thought that the subject of "Earth's frequencies" was appropriate. In the spirit of Tesla, who often sat alone in his laboratory while his equipment pulsed low frequencies, I sat in my home studio and experimented with musical versions of alternating currents, radiant energy, and telluric systems to invent a new set of compositions that will hopefully produce positive effects upon your brainwaves.
Click on the song titles to stream music samples.
Triune Aspect - Part I: Where Sweetness And Torment Blend
"The pleasures of love are pains that become desirable, where sweetness and torment blend, and so love is voluntary insanity, infernal paradise, and celestial hell -- in short, harmony of opposite yearnings, sorrowful laughter, soft diamond." ~ Umberto Eco, The Island of the Day Before
Skimming through an old notebook, I came across an idea for a trilogy based on the triune aspect - everything is a multiplicity and a trinity in unity - based on several ancient philosophies & religions from around the world. The most often used example is the Holy Trinity of Christianity: God as Father, Son, and Holy Spirit. In India, there is the Trimurti: the manifestation of the Supreme in the forms of Brahma, Vishnu & Shiva - the creative, preservative, and destructive Gods of the Hindu pantheon.
In the real world, two atoms of hydrogen and one of oxygen can yield water, ice, or steam under different aspects. Although vastly different, they are built from the same basic elemental blocks.
My original concept was to use a trio setting of bass guitar, guitar & percussion as the basic elements, but I decided to also add dulcimers, as they worked well with the other instruments, and their sound is reminiscent of harps, lutes, zithers, etc. throughout the world. From here, I began sketching out ideas for compositions in the jazz, rock, and world music fusion aspects.
This part is the former, using a jazz drum kit & eclectic percussion from throughout the globe for some ethnic spices, in addition to fretted & fretless bass, a twelve-string acoustic guitar, and a chromatic dulcimer - which produces sharp & flat notes, making it ideal for this jazz fusion setting.
A few months into this project, I grew extremely tired of compiling, arranging, and editing drum & percussion loops/samples, so I decided to embark on a series of duets, with my bass guitar paired with different ethnic instruments.
After the usual period of trial and error, I found a (near) perfect partner in the shamisen (aka samisen) - a three-stringed, Japanese lute played with a plectrum called bachi. Its construction is similar to that of a guitar or banjo, but with a fretless neck called sao, with its strings stretched across a square resonating body, called dō, which is drum-like - a hollow body with a taut skin covering it, very much like a banjo. The bachi is often used to strike both string and skin, creating a highly percussive sound, ideal for interaction with a bass guitar in this type of setting.
This composition features both instruments playing rhythmic, melodic & harmonic ideas in a theme & variations with interludes configuration, with the elaborate bass guitar arrangement being one of my favorites on this album.
The title translates into "spiritual power", "emotional strength", "force of will", or "spiritual inner power" depending on the context.
Umoja is the Swahili word for Unity, as well as one of The Seven Principles (Nguzo Saba) of Kwanzaa. It stresses the importance of togetherness for the family and the community, reflected in the African proverb, "I am We" (or "I am because We are").
The instrumentation, in order of appearance, includes: panned guitars, panned African drums & percussion, bass guitar, and a saxophone section, featuring the alto sax. The composition is pan-African, although overweighted with South African elements, and also includes tinges of Latin music, Jazz, R&B & other descendants of African music, making extensive use of call-and-response phrasing.
Like the metaphor of the proverb, it is meant to showcase the affirmation of the communal spirit: a multiplicity of voices, their interconnectedness, and how they thrive by sharing the responsibility for that community with others.
Ten Thousand Dharmas
"To study the buddha way is to study the self.
To study the self is to forget the self.
To forget the self is to be enlightened by the ten thousand dharmas.
To be enlightened by the ten thousand dharmas is to free
one's body and mind and those of others.
No trace of enlightenment remains, and this traceless
enlightenment is continued forever." ~ Dōgen Zenji, Genjokoan
A duet with bass guitar and guzheng (aka zheng) - a Chinese plucked zither that is the ancestor of several similar Asian instruments, such as: the Japanese koto, the Korean gayageum, the Mongolian yatga, and the Vietnamese dan tranh. It features several strings, ranging from one to two dozen, movable bridges, and is traditionally tuned to a pentatonic scale - ubiquitous in Asian music. It is one of the most ancient musical instruments, hence the Chinese prefix "gu", and is considered one of the main chamber (as well as solo) instruments of Chinese traditional music.
This composition acts as a counterpart to Seishinryoku. It contains another intricate bass guitar arrangement (also another one of my favorites), but performed with a clean tone, that features a plethora of natural harmonics, passages with all four strings resonating simultaneously, call-and-response with the guzheng, and usage of a delay pedal in some sections.
"Leave out the fiction -
The fact is;
Will only be worn by persistence
Leave out conditions -
Will drag the dream into existence" ~ Neil Peart, Vital Signs
After all my skeletal arrangements were completed, I could not help but notice that this was becoming a true solo project, so I took one of the compositions and altered it slightly so I could invite my Electrum bandmate, guitarist Dave Kulju, to return as guest musician.
In the past, I have presented him with African, Asian, Latin, and Indian elements, so it was time to do something with a Mediterranean/Middle-Eastern vibe. For percussion, I used doumbeks inspired by modern Egyptian players, giving the piece somewhat of a jazz-funk feel. The chord progressions were influenced by Arabic, Greek, and Turkish music, and the fretless bass solo by Nuevo Flamenco.
I asked Dave to introduce as many hard edges to the arrangement as possible, which may have been counterintuitive to both the piece and his primary style of playing. We tend to agree on a lot of musical subjects, but have had our share of disagreements over the years, like most people. I trust his ears and musical sense implicitly, but I think that (for once) I made the right call.
In what has become a deep-rooted inside joke between us, I chose the title from one of our favorite Rush songs.
Triune Aspect - Part II: Miradas Pensativas
The title is Spanish for Pensive Glances, which should provide some insight on the imagery I was going for. The aspect for this piece is world music, with an emphasis on tradition. The chromatic dulcimer of Part I is replaced with an acoustic one; the 12-string is substituted with a classical guitar playing in the Habanera (Cuban contradance) style & Flamenco; and the percussion instruments are changed to doumbeks inspired by traditional Turkish music, coupled with a bare-bones drum kit playing various South American/Latin rhythms.
In the tradition of most trilogies, some musical elements and attributes from the first part were altered to fit the mood and characteristics of this one.
Wandering Over Withered Fields
"Tabi ni yande
yuma wa kareno o
"On a journey, ill:
my dream goes wandering
over withered fields" ~ Matsuo Bashō
This companion piece to Seishinryoku was inspired by the tragic events of March 2011 in northeast Japan, and is dedicated to all the people who perished.
The title is from one translation of the jidei of the 17th-century haiku master Bashō. A jidei is a farewell poem, written just prior to dying, which is considered as a gift to one's family, friends, students, etc., as well as one's own reflection on death. This tradition began with Zen monks, but was also very popular with poets and samurai warriors.
Once again, shamisen and bass guitar trade rhythmic, melodic & harmonic ideas, this time in a more melancholy and solemn mood.
An experimental piece that came about through my search for new types of music that I was not completely familiar with. For whatever reason, I latched on to mountain music from around the world, including our own Appalachian & Bluegrass.
Wiith several rural habitats and musical traditions to choose from, I began sketching out a piece based on Andean & Tibetan music, but soon decided to descend several thousand feet/meters, and blend American mountain music with its Mediterranean counterpart(s), simply because they spoke louder to me.
I imagined a mountain pass between two groups of people that reflects the harsh, rocky landscape of one, the wild, rugged beauty of the other, and the fiercely independent spirit of both.
Unlike traditional mountain music, where bass instruments are dedicated to supporting the other players, I arranged my bass so it has an (almost) equal voice to the guitar, while still acting as a fulcrum between it and the percussion section, made up of doumbeks and tambourine.
The Heart Of Every Noble Thought
"Bach is the supreme genius of music. This man, who knows everything and feels everything, cannot write one note, however unimportant it may appear, which is anything but transcendent. He has reached the heart of every noble thought, and has done it in the most perfect way." ~ Pablo Casals
I have listened to Johann Sebastian Bach's music since before I was born - literally - as I am certain that his works were played by my parents while I was in utero. When I decided to break a twenty year tradition and perform somebody else's music, there was only one obvious choice for me.
What wasn't obvious was which composition to choose among the hundreds I love. I narrowed a list of two dozen possibilities down to six, and finally decided on the Fugue in G minor, catalogued as BWV 578. This is one of his most recognizable tunes, usually referred to as the "Little" Fugue - because of its length, not because of its musical importance. It was also the most challenging one for me out of the six, since I would need to arrange and synchronize four bass guitars.
On the original score for organ, the pedal is honored as a full equal to the three manual voices, which arrive in descending order: soprano, alto, tenor - and finally - bass. (Given the tonal range of a standard four-string bass guitar, my voices are more like: countertenor, tenor, baritone & bass.)
This fugue features various melodic contours, harmonic character & structure changes, contrapuntal rhythms & melodies, dynamics, call and response sections, and syncopated rhythms - all brilliantly arranged in less than four minutes.
In hindsight, I probably should have chosen one of his less challenging compositions, or one that required fewer bass guitars, to achieve a better result. Although far from perfect, I think this track is a solid first effort, and worthy of addition to this album. At some point in the future, I intend to edit, remix with new panning schemes & reissue it, to give it the reverence it deserves... Soli Bach Gloria.
Dwelling In Enchantment
"Only those who truly love and who are truly strong can sustain their lives as a dream. You dwell in your own enchantment. Life throws stones at you, but your love and your dream change those stones into the flowers of discovery. Even if you lose, or are defeated by things, your triumph will always be exemplary. And if no one knows it, then there are places that do. People like you enrich the dreams of the worlds, and it is dreams that create history. People like you are unknowing transformers of things, protected by your own fairy-tale, by love." ~ Ben Okri, Astonishing The Gods
This is one of those pieces that ends up sounding nothing like its conception. The original idea was to explore African polyrhythms, like 3 against 4. Since keyboard instruments were out, I decided that chromatic percussion would be the best melodic fit, so to my complicated bed of African rhythms, I sketched out marimba, kalimba, and then fretless bass guitar parts.
By themselves, not bad, but together the interactions were extremely disappointing to me. After several failed salvage operations, I ended up removing the African drums & percussion, and used miscellaneous mallet instruments as the rhythmic bed. Then, for some reason, I replaced the kalimba with mbira -- after all, if one African thumb piano doesn't work, another one will, right? [shakes head in disbelief]
Effects were now added to the mallet instruments to make them "shimmer", which also rendered them useless as the primary pulse, so they were set in the background to take the place of where a synthesizer part would be, while a very enthusiastic drummer was introduced to the mix.
The fretless was replaced by fretted bass. That helped, but the drums were too hyperactive, and the bass was too sedate, so their approaches were switched. Much better, but not quite there, so what the hell is the problem now?? Ah, yes - the damn thumb piano!
The mbira was replaced with a vibraphone as the main treble instrument, and I finally had a skeletal arrangement to work with. After some chord progression changes, I ended up with an eclectic piece that still contains 3/4 & 6/8 vs. 4/4 polyrhythms, but in more of a vibrant jazz-rock fusion vibe than African-influenced world music.
"I still live, I still think: I still have to live, for I still have to think. Sum, ergo cogito: cogito, ergo sum. [...] I want to learn more and more to see as beautiful what is necessary in things; then I shall be one of those who make things beautiful. Amor fati: let that be my love henceforth! I do not want to wage war against what is ugly. I do not want to accuse; I do not even want to accuse those who accuse. Looking away shall be my only negation." ~ Friedrich Nietzsche, The Gay Science
"My formula for greatness in a human being is Amor Fati: that one wants nothing other than it is, not in the future, not in the past, not in all eternity. Not merely to endure that which happens of necessity, still less to dissemble it - all idealism is untruthfulness in the face of necessity - but to love it." ~ Friedrich Nietzsche, Ecce Homo
Nietzsche's famous dictum, amor fati, is a Latin phrase that loosely translates to "love of Fate" or "love of one's fate". It is used to describe an attitude in which one sees everything that happens in one's life - including suffering and loss - as good. Everything that happens is destiny's way of reaching its ultimate purpose, and so should be considered good. Moreover, it is characterized by an acceptance of the events that occur in one's life.
Since I had never done a duet with bass and classical guitar, I thought this release gave me the perfect opportunity to release my "inner gypsy". One after another, I sketched out ideas in several flamenco styles, in several tempos, in several time & key signatures, etc. Confusion soon set in as I had started over a dozen pieces, when I only needed four to five minutes worth of music. To paraphrase Nietzsche, "Passion is the cruelest animal". It was time to take a break and view things through the multiple lens system of common sense, logic, objectivity, and reason.
I ended up deleting all the up-tempo pieces, since even I could not tell what notes the bass was playing during some passages!
The slower pieces started sounding dirge-like to me, instead of passionate or elegant, so they were summarily dismissed, leaving six mid-tempo sketches.
Unable to choose just one, and tired of auditioning/deleting material, I decided to let fate intervene. I assigned each sketch a number, threw a die, and the "winner" was the rumba gitana, or Flamenco rumba.
The syncopated rhythms are clearly of African origin, the framework is largely based in the musical traditions of Spain, and it has developed over the years on both sides of the Atlantic, most notably in Cuba. In Nuevo Flamenco, it is part of the Cantes de ida y vuelta, or "return songs", referring to Spanish music which diverged in the New World. All in all, an excellent choice by Fate for my style of playing.
Rhythm Of Living
"Action and reaction, ebb and flow, trial and error, change - this is the rhythm of living. Out of our over-confidence, fear; out of our fear, clearer vision, fresh hope. And out of hope, progress." ~ Bruce Fairchild Barton
Another experimental piece where I was looking to substitute instruments that I had not used before in place of acoustic piano. I liked the interactions in Umoja between bass guitar and saxophones, and thought it would be interesting to put the bass guitar in a saxophone section - replacing the baritone sax - and do a world jazz piece that ebbs and flows between major and minor chord progressions, sounding like a mix of standard and Afro-Latin jazz, with the individual saxophones and bass guitar playing in a touch-and-go fashion.
During the mixdown process, I decided to delete most of the rhythm bass guitar arrangement, so the textures of the different saxophones and the other rhythm section instruments would stand out more. I am not entirely sure if this was the correct thing to do, but it's too late to do anything about it now, so...
The End Of Sorrow
"Those who eat too much or eat too little, who sleep too much or sleep too little, will not succeed in meditation. But those who are temperate in eating and sleeping, work and recreation, will come to the end of sorrow through meditation." ~ Bhagavad Gita
A composition inspired by the "Om frequency", which based on a mathematical calculation of the rotation of the Earth around the Sun works out to be 136.102 Hz, or in musical note frequencies, a C# (or Db).
In Indian temple music, it is used as the base tone of the sitar, referred to as Sadja (or Sa) and many tuning forks and gongs in the Far East are also tuned to this "Earth frequency". It is said to stimulate the Anahata, or heart chakra, which is widely believed to be good for meditation. In the Sanskrit tradition, it is referred to as the “Unstruck Sound” or “Anahata Nada”, literally meaning “the sound that is not made by two things striking together”, the point being that all audible sounds are made by at least two elements: finger & string, stick & drum, two vocal cords, waves against the shore, wind against the leaves, or any two things visible (or invisible) either striking each other or vibrating together.
The audible sound of OM is the same as the spiritual acronym AUM mentioned in all the Upanishads, and especially elaborated upon in the Taittiriya, making this a tie-in with my Vedic Mantras release. A-kara means form or shape, like earth, trees, or any other object. U-kara means formless or shapeless, like water, air, or fire. Ma-kara means neither shape nor shapeless (but still exists) like the dark matter of the Universe.
This arrangement is based around a three-note chromatic mantra of D, C, and C#, played by both sitar and bass guitar, backed by tanpura drones and a tabla set tuned to C#. Male voice, temple bells, swara mandala (a zither used in Hindustani music), and fretless bass round out the instrumentation.
Triune Aspect - Part III: Prismatic Rays
"The heart at the center of the universe with every throb hurls the flood of happiness into every artery, vein and veinlet, so that the whole system is inundated with tides of joy. The plenty of the poorest place is too great; the harvest cannot be gathered. Every sound ends in music. The edge of every surface is tinged with prismatic rays." ~ Ralph Waldo Emerson
Obviously the rock fusion aspect of the trilogy, this piece features fretted bass guitar, acoustic guitar, and Latin rock-styled drums as the main rhythm section, with dulcimer, electric guitars, and fretless bass as the lead instruments in this energetic track. Although slanted towards Latin jazz fusion, there are a few African, Asian, and Indian influences thrown in as well.
I composed it in a modular fashion, so I could move the sections around freely, until I was satisfied with the overall flow. Once again, some ideas from the first two parts were modified and re-introduced in new forms.