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Gino Foti - Obumbratio - Vol. 2

Gino Foti - Obumbratio: Vol. 2 Track Listing
  • The Dread Of All The Powers Divine (2:00)
  • The Beauty Of Death
    • Part I: A Veil Around My Withering Heart (11:02)
    • Part II: My Soul Is Soaring In The Firmament (7:58)
    • Part III: Place Me Deep In My Mother Earth (5:00)
  • If Evil Flowers Bloom (7:23)
  • La Tristezza Del Ricordo (5:18)
  • An Ill Wind Comes Arising (3:51)
  • The Great Nausea (7:46)
  • In A Dim City Called Ptolemais (8:12)
  • Seared With Scars (7:55)


Gino Foti - MIDI Bass Guitar, Bass Guitar, MIDI Bass Pedals, Keyboards, Synthesizers, Loops & Samples

Tony Scheinman - Spoken Word on In A Dim City Called Ptolemais (courtesy of LibriVox.org)


"Mere suppression of the shadow is as little of a remedy as beheading would be for a headache." ~ Carl Gustav Jung

"The great epochs of our life are the occasions when we gain the courage to rebaptize our evil qualities as our best qualities." ~ Friedrich Nietzsche

"Respice post te! Hominem te esse memento. Memento mori." ~ from an ancient Roman custom

"I am sure to die; I cannot avoid death. I am subject to death - have not gone beyond death." ~ Gautama Buddha

Inspired by philosophers, psychologists, and others who believe that embracing and integrating one's "shadow", and/or reflecting on our mortality is a path for true self-exploration and a method for a more meaningful life, these albums are both complements and counterparts to Enigmatic Voyages, since the tracks were arranged from the same composition pool, and share similar influences and instrumentation.

Composition Notes

The Dread Of All The Powers Divine

"Zagreus, from Zeus’ high counsels, nursed by Persephoneia, and born the dread of all the powers divine." ~ Orphic Hymn 46

An arrangement of the second section from the Adagio in C Major, by Johann Sebastian Bach, which is the second movement of a monumental organ work, the Toccata, Adagio, and Fugue in C Major (BWV 564).

The concluding nine measures, marked grave, feature durezze - overlapping seven-voice clusters of chords in dissonant combinations - within a chromatic progression, with several instances of ligature - diminished seventh chords suspended over the following chord, leading back to the tonic.

Bach's influence for this section is most likely Girolamo Frescobaldi’s Toccata VIII di durezze, e Ligature, with the track name inspired by the myth of Zagreus, who was conceived in a cave in my native Sicily.

The Beauty Of Death - Part I: A Veil Around My Withering Heart

"Let me sleep, for my soul is intoxicated with love and
Let me rest, for my spirit has had its bounty of days and nights;
Light the candles and burn the incense around my bed, and
Scatter leaves of jasmine and roses over my body;
Embalm my hair with frankincense and sprinkle my feet with perfume,
And read what the hand of Death has written on my forehead.

Let me rest in the arms of Slumber, for my open eyes are tired;
Let the silver-stringed lyre quiver and soothe my spirit;
Weave from the harp and lute a veil around my withering heart.

Sing of the past as you behold the dawn of hope in my eyes, for
It's magic meaning is a soft bed upon which my heart rests.

Dry your tears, my friends, and raise your heads as the flowers
Raise their crowns to greet the dawn.
Look at the bride of Death standing like a column of light
Between my bed and the infinite;
Hold your breath and listen with me to the beckoning rustle of
Her white wings.

Come close and bid me farewell; touch my eyes with smiling lips.
Let the children grasp my hands with soft and rosy fingers;
Let the ages place their veined hands upon my head and bless me;
Let the virgins come close and see the shadow of God in my eyes,
And hear the echo of His will racing with my breath."
~ Khalil Gibran, The Beauty Of Death, Part One - The Calling

Obviously inspired by Khalil Gibran's eponymous poem, the first part of this trilogy features ambient pads, classical strings, drones, and synth vox - all performed on keyboards & synthesizers.

Circular, intertwining parts played on standard and MIDI bass guitars were added to make the piece harmonically dense as it progresses, with both parts influenced by J. S. Bach.

The Beauty Of Death - Part II: My Soul Is Soaring In The Firmament

"I have passed a mountain peak and my soul is soaring in the
Firmament of complete and unbound freedom;
I am far, far away, my companions, and the clouds are
Hiding the hills from my eyes.
The valleys are becoming flooded with an ocean of silence, and the
Hands of oblivion are engulfing the roads and the houses;
The prairies and fields are disappearing behind a white specter
That looks like the spring cloud, yellow as the candlelight
And red as the twilight.

The songs of the waves and the hymns of the streams
Are scattered, and the voices of the throngs reduced to silence;
And I can hear naught but the music of Eternity
In exact harmony with the spirit's desires.
I am cloaked in full whiteness;
I am in comfort; I am in peace."
~ Khalil Gibran, The Beauty Of Death, Part Two - The Ascending

This part features the same instrumentation and basic sound banks as above, but with more ethereal, space music elements, along the lines of Children Of Erebus from the first volume, and Drifting Through Lost Latitudes from Enigmatic Voyages.

The Beauty Of Death - Part III: Place Me Deep In My Mother Earth

"Unwrap me from this white linen shroud and clothe me
With leaves of jasmine and lilies;
Take my body from the ivory casket and let it rest
Upon pillows of orange blossoms.
Lament me not, but sing songs of youth and joy;
Shed not tears upon me, but sing of harvest and the winepress;
Utter no sigh of agony, but draw upon my face with your
Finger the symbol of Love and Joy.
Disturb not the air's tranquility with chanting and requiems,
But let your hearts sing with me the song of Eternal Life;
Mourn me not with apparel of black,
But dress in color and rejoice with me;
Talk not of my departure with sighs in your hearts; close
Your eyes and you will see me with you forevermore.

Place me upon clusters of leaves and
Carry my upon your friendly shoulders and
Walk slowly to the deserted forest.
Take me not to the crowded burying ground lest my slumber
Be disrupted by the rattling of bones and skulls.
Carry me to the cypress woods and dig my grave where violets
And poppies grow not in the other's shadow;
Let my grave be deep so that the flood will not
Carry my bones to the open valley;
Let my grace be wide, so that the twilight shadows
Will come and sit by me.

Take from me all earthly raiment and place me deep in my
Mother Earth; and place me with care upon my mother's breast.
Cover me with soft earth, and let each handful be mixed
With seeds of jasmine, lilies and myrtle; and when they
Grow above me, and thrive on my body's element they will
Breathe the fragrance of my heart into space;
And reveal even to the sun the secret of my peace;
And sail with the breeze and comfort the wayfarer.

Leave me then, friends - leave me and depart on mute feet,
As the silence walks in the deserted valley;
Leave me to God and disperse yourselves slowly, as the almond
And apple blossoms disperse under the vibration of Nisan's breeze.
Go back to the joy of your dwellings and you will find there
That which Death cannot remove from you and me.
Leave with place, for what you see here is far away in meaning
From the earthly world. Leave me."
~ Khalil Gibran, The Beauty Of Death, Part Three - The Remains

The final part was inspired by both classical and modern jazz fusion pianists, with its motif-based themes performed over a string section. Synth drones and pads were added, trying to balance the overall moods of comfort, lament, sadness, and tranquility.

If Evil Flowers Bloom

"If evil flowers bloom in the mind-ground,
Five blossoms flower from the stem.
Together they will create the karma of ignorance;
Now the mind-ground is blown by the winds of karma.

If correct flowers bloom in the mind ground,
Five blossoms flower from the stem.
Together they practice the prajna wisdom;
In the future this will be the enlightement of the Buddha."
~ Huineng, Platform Sutra of the Sixth Patriarch

Solo bass guitar with overdrive, distortion, reverb, and delay effects, in an eclectic fusion of meditation music and hard rock/heavy metal. Various synthesizer drones and pads were layered over the bass, adding to the mystical mood, even venturing into "noise music" territory.

La Tristezza Del Ricordo

"Ho udito un suono strano,
l’eco degli anni che furono
l’udito mi feriscono
e gli occhi mi socchiudono
e persino i palmi delle mani,
le ginocchia si piegano
si contrae il viso nella smorfia scontata
del rammarico del vissuto,
t’accorgi male
ma che non si può rimediare.

Odo la sinfonica melodia
del giorno che vivo
che ancora mi sfiorisce
ma che promana un vellutato tepore
dal sapore della bocca tua schiusa
come una rosa dal profumato incanto del gelsomino
quando s’accosta alla mia
nella penombra della piazza antica
coperta dal sole e dal manto di pietre di passata fattura.

Udrò, passando per caso nel mezzo della gente
alcuni, che hanno vissuto gli stessi miei anni,
con voci ispirate raccontare i begli anni della primavera
dei fiori lasciati ad appassire e mai colti,
dei baci caduti e raccolti dall’ipocrita pensare,
degli abbracci perduti nel giardino del domani
che ad aspettare oramai si palesa arido e spoglio
che ora serve solo al rivangar la tristezza del ricordo
di quando potevasi amare
amor negato, amor buttato,
consumato fra attese ed inutili sospiri."
~ Gildo Barone, Ho Udito Un Suono Strano

A contemplation on echoes of the past, lost relationships, and our own mortality. It features a MIDI bass guitar with delay effect, to create some harmonic interest within a single part. Once again, various synth drones and pads were added, including a lead part about half-way through the piece.

The title translates to "The Sadness Of Remembrance". I had already decided on that name when I did a basic search for quotes, sayings, or poetry that used it, and found the above from a connazionale which perfectly captures the context that I had envisioned.

An Ill Wind Comes Arising

"An ill wind comes arising
Across the cities of the plain
There's no swimming in the heavy water
No singing in the acid rain"
~ Neil Peart, Distant Early Warning

A synth string section solo piece that was inspired by both film/TV music composers, and classical masters.

It recalls Desolation, the first keyboard piece I ever wrote, appearing on my instrumental progressive rock band Electrum's debut release Frames Of Mind, back in 1998. Since that composition was mostly influenced by our favorite power trio Rush, I chose a suitable title from their catalog.

The Great Nausea

"This is the man without nausea, this is Zarathustra himself, the one who overcame great nausea - this is the eye, this is the mouth, this is the heart of Zarathustra himself. [...] All of you, whatever honors you may give yourselves with words, whether you call yourselves 'the free spirits' or 'the truthful' or 'penitents of the spirit' or 'the unbound' or 'the great longing ones' - all of you who suffer from the great nausea like me, for whom the old God died and no new god is lying yet in cradles and crib clothes - all of you are favored by my evil spirit and magic devil." ~ Friedrich Nietzsche, Thus Spake Zarathustra

This composition was influenced by the organ works of J. S. Bach, as well as progressive rock bands like King Crimson, who routinely use(d) atonality, chromaticism, and dissonance to great effect.

Using Bach's Orgelbüchlein (Little Organ Book), a set of chorale preludes, as a point of departure, this dark, dense, and disturbing arrangement was written in four parts, with three accompanying voices... one more "nauseating" than the other.

In A Dim City Called Ptolemais

"I am SHADOW, and my dwelling is near to the Catacombs of Ptolemais..." ~ Edgar Allan Poe, Shadow - A Parable

In the mood to try something new, I thought that adding music underneath an appropriate poem or short story would make a good addition to these volumes. My search led me to LibriVox.org, and Edgar Allan Poe's Shadow - A Parable which I recalled reading decades ago.

Poe's title is a perfect fit with mine - Obumbratio is Latin for "Shadows" - and the story features a plethora of Greco-Roman mythological and historical settings from the Mediterranean which I have been interested in since childhood, for the obvious reason.

The story takes place - most likely - in Ptolemais Theron, or Ptolemais of the Hunts (referring to elephant hunting) then located on the Red Sea, where it has been written that "for ninety days in midsummer, the sun at noon cast no shadow."

The "black wings of the Pestilence" have been present in Ptolemais for at least "a year of terror", so the setting is later than 542 AD, during the Plague of Justinian, as historians point to that year when it first appeared in the Nile Delta.

I arranged several complex synthesizer beds - using drones, pads, pedals, and vox - and blended them via different volume and panning schemes underneath the highly-edited spoken word track.

Seared With Scars

"Out of suffering have emerged the strongest souls; the most massive characters are seared with scars." ~ Khalil Gibran

Like If Evil Flowers Bloom, this piece is based around a bass guitar with overdrive, distortion, reverb, and delay effects.

I also added a classical string section and lead synthesizer parts which interweave and share the focus of attention with the bass.

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