When I hear music, I fear no danger. I am invulnerable. I see no foe. I am related to the earliest times, and to the latest.- Henry David Thoreau
In late 2001, I got my first computer with a CD burner in it. The Philosopher was a project that I had been tossing around in my head for a couple of months, but the very idea of it required me to be able to combine tracks, something which I was unable at the time to do. I changed platforms (the first time) and found that I was able to crossfade tracks from one to the other, making the idea of this album, which was meant to "a collection of tracks, seamlessly edited together that would inspire a trance-like state for the listener." I therefore set out to make my first real concept album. In many ways, I consider The Philosopher, along with the original California or Bust soundtrack tape*, to be "missing link" between the mixes that I used to make on tape and minidisc to the "albums" I make today. When I listen to it now, I can hear my own enthusiasm in it.
However, over time that mix got lost. Unfound, but never forgotten.
In the subsequent years, I cannibalized several ideas from that mix into some others. The idea of framing an album with the "Journey" theme from Michael Small's Mountains of the Moon would find a more appropriate home on my The Farthest Reaches compilation, for example. I made two other albums with a similar idea, Ethereal and Textures, both of which I was quite pleased with. I even attempted at one point to revise the original, but I never found that version as satisfying, although I did like some aspects of it.
I found a copy of the original version of The Philosopher while going through a stack of old data CDs. I listened to it carefully, and decided that I really, really wanted to revisit this project and bring it "into the fold," so to speak, with the rest of my mixes. After giving Ethereal and Textures a really good listen, I decided to return to the original and redo it in such as way as so to replicate the best of both versions, and make it fit with these two newer mixes. As a result, I went back to some of the tracks that graced the original, but retained many that were on the redux version... and because of the fact that the concept of the other two albums were so close, it now becomes volume one of a (currently) three disc cycle; Textures became the second, and Ethereal became the third. This disc was therefore retitled Sensations and the set is now called "The Philosopher." The artwork and CD-Text for the previous two mixes have been updated to reflect this.
As with the previous versions, this is an album that is blatantly trippy. A lot of the tracks tend to have a sense of what I consider 'weighty stillness' to them. Others have a sense of 'restrained intensity,' to paraphrase Thor Joachim Haga. Like many of my mixes, this one was designed with a 'side one' and 'side two' in mind, although unlike the two Farthest Reaches and my Drivin' rock mix, they are not necessarily delineated as such. The disc is much shorter than the previous editions, but is more in line with the other two volumes that are now in this series (not to mention that I used tracks from both in other mixes, thus thinning out the selections somewhat).
- JAMES NEWTON HOWARD: Susan Marie Remembers (Snow Falling On Cedars) 1:33
Orchestra Conducted by Artie Kane
- THOMAS NEWMAN: Ghosts (Road to Perdition) 3:19
Orchestra Conducted by Thomas Newman
- BRUCE BROUGHTON: The Discovery of the Souls (Jeremiah) 2:27
Orchestra Conducted by Bruce Broughton
- RICHARD GIBBS: Reunited (Battlestar Galactica) 1:46
Orchestra Conducted by Richard Gibbs
Bear McCreary, Programming
- NED RIFLE & JEFFREY TAYLOR: Titles (Amateur) 6:05
Lydia Cavanagh & Carolyn Leonhart, Vocals
Knox Chandler, 'Cello & Double Bass
Sara Parkins, Violin
Ned Rifle & Jeffrey Taylor, Keyboards
- JAN A.P. KACZMAREK: Hashish (Total Eclipse) 3:25
Orchestra of the Eighth Day Conducted by Krzeshmir Debsky
Warsaw Symphony Orchestra Conducted by Tadeusz Karolak
- HOWARD SHORE: Farewell To Gandalf (The Fellowship of the Ring) 2:05
London Philharmonic Orchestra, London Voices & London Oratory School Schola Conducted by Howard Shore
Mabel Faletolu, Vocal
- JEFF BEAL: Black Blizzard (Carnivàle) 4:54
Jeff Beal, Keyboards
- DAVID JULYAN: Kay's Theme (Insomnia) 2:04
Orchestra Conducted by Nick Ingram
David Julyan, Keyboards
- BRIAN ENO, DANIEL LANOIS & ROGER ENO: Prophecy Theme (Dune) 4:12
Brian Eno, Synthesizers
- PETER GABRIEL: Passion (The Last Tempation of Christ) 7:01
Nusrat Fateh Ali Khan, Qawwali Vocal
Peter Gabriel, Vocals & Keyboards
Djaima Correa, Brazillian Percussion
Jon Hassell, Trumpet
- VANGELIS: Moxica and the Horse (1492: Conquest of Paradise) 7:01
Bruno Manjarres & Pepe Martinez, Spanish Guitar & Vocals
- MIKE FIGGIS, BRIAN BANKS & ANTHONY MARINELLI: Ethereal (Internal Affairs) 1:12
Mike Figgis, Brian Banks & Anthony Marinelli, Keyboards
Darlene Koldenhoven, Vocals
- LALO SCHIFRIN: Be Happy (THX 1138) 3:35
Orchestra Conducted by Lalo Schifrin
- TREVOR JONES: The Lady in the Lake (Excalibur) 1:24
Orchestra Conducted by Trevor Jones
- THOMAS NEWMAN: Runaway Madness (The Horse Whisperer) 1:41
Orchestra Conducted by Thomas Newman
Ralph Grierson, Piano
- MAURICE JARRE: High Fever (Jacob's Ladder) 4:59
Orchestra Conducted by Maurice Jarre
Kitka European Woman's Choir Conducted by Bon Brown
Jubilant Sykes & Kari Windingstad, Vocals
Kazu Mitsui, Shakuhachi
Michael Boddicker, Michael Fisher, Ralph Grierson, Rick Marvin, Judd Miller & Nyle Steiner, Electronic Ensemble
- TOTO: The Trip to Arrakis (Dune) 2:31
Vienna Symphony Orchestra Conducted by Marty Paich
Vienna Volksoper Choir Conducted by Allyn Ferguson
- JAMES NEWTON HOWARD: Humanity Goes On Trial (Snow Falling On Cedars) 4:46
Orchestra Conducted by Artie Kane
Los Angeles Master Chorale Conducted by Paul Salumnovich
Ron Leonard, 'Cello
Deciding that the scope for this album would be slightly wider than the original concept, my framing tracks here would be two of the most moving selections from James Newton Howard's masterful score for Snow Falling On Cedars. I used one of them on the redux edition, and I use the wrenching "Susan Marie Remembers" as an introduction to this disc, and 'side one.' The eerie "Ghosts" from Road to Perdition also graced the redux version of The Philosopher, and my use of it there was what inspired my Thomas Newman mix of the same name. Bruce Broughton's Jeremiah was a very recent find, one that I tapped initially for the second volume of The Farthest Reaches, Towards the Horizon. This serene cue opens the album and the telefilm.
Richard Gibbs' "Reunited" from Battlestar Galactica is a track from the mini-series, but I found the most arresting use of this theme is in the episode "Act of Contrition," where it is used to score Kara's difficulty with coming to terms with her role in Zach's death. This is followed by the title sequences from Hal Hartley's Amateur by Hartley himself (credited as "Ned Rifle") and Jeffrey Taylor. I combined these two pieces written for chamber ensemble and two vocalists; the first appeared on the original version of The Philosopher, the second on the redux edition. The intense "Hashish" from Jan A.P. Kaczmarek's Total Eclipse was one of the tracks that inspired the original compilation and was an element on both and this one as well. "Farewell to Gandalf" from The Fellowship of the Ring was on the original but not the redux edition, which had "Farewell to Lórien" instead (which was incorporated more effectively into Songs of the Heavens); however the version there was that which was included on the original soundtrack album, while here I was able to present not only the portion with Mabel Faletolu's plaintive vocal, but the bittersweet passage for orchestra and chorus that follows. The unofficial end of 'side one' is the forbidding "Black Blizzard" cue from Jeff Beal's Carnivàle, driven by an uneasy piano figure that would be developed throughout the series.
'Side Two' opens quietly with "Kay's Theme," an introspective piece by David Julyan for Insomnia. This is overtaken by a sequence that comes straight from the original Philosopher disc. Brian & Roger Eno and Daniel Lanois' spacy "Prophecy Theme" for David Lynch's Dune is followed by the furiously deep "Passion" from Peter Gabriel's seminal The Last Temptation of Christ, featuring Nusrat Fateh Ali Khan, which in turn is followed by another track featuring male vocals, "Moxica and the Horse" from Evangelos O. Papathanassiou's score for 1492: Conquest of Paradise. Each of these tracks were much of the raison d'être for creating the original disc, and the exact same sequence appeared on both. The new edition has smoother transitions than was possible with the previous two, of course, but the timings were kept identical because I felt if it ain't broke, don't fix it.
"Ethereal" from Internal Affairs was a track included on the redux edition; it hails from a collection of Mike Figgis film music that hadn't been released when I put together the original disc. Lalo Schifrin's dark THX 1138 was also from the redux edition. Here the orchestra and synthesizer drones beneath weird choral lines, but this is followed by a beautiful passage written for flute, hard and vibraphone in a vaguely Asian scale. This is followed by another track from the original disc; Trevor Jones' choral theme for magic in Excalibur, "The Lady in the Lake." A completely new selection, the ruminative "Runaway Madness" from Thomas Newman's The Horse Whisperer. Two more selections from the original disc now appear. "High Fever" is from Maurice Jarre's unsettling acoustic/electronic score for "Jacob's Ladder" and the Shostakovich-inspired "The Trip to Arrakis," which is also from the Lynch Dune. While aside from the framing device, I have not repeated any other films within this particular disc (although across the series is a different story), I felt that the fact that this was okay as it was from a significantly different creative force. The redux version of The Philosopher closed with "Humanity Goes On Trial," as does this one, and the violins slowly and hauntingly fading away were I thought very effective at being a satisfying, yet somewhat open-ended conclusion (a trait that this disc shares with both Textures and Ethereal). A solo 'cello introduces the theme heard in "Susan Marie Remembers," but the orchestra is joined by a choir leading to a crescendo, which is followed by a minimalist passage that leaves the not sure if violins are still playing, or if they're only still hearing them in their head...
Title Quote: Percy Bysshe Shelley
*Tee hee. The idea was that California or Bust was a film from 1982 that nobody had seen because the soundtrack was too expensive to license. The tape cover I made mimicked those old MCA and Arista cassette covers that had a reduction of the LP art and a bar code on the front (if you scanned it, it would come up as the Rhino remaster of Doctor Zhivago. I thought that was funny at the time for some reason). The "LP cover" was a landscape with Death hitching a ride (those of you who remember the old Kovatu logo, that was it), and it listed the bands and had the "Double Play: Equal to Two LPs" notice in the corner. The track listing was divided into four parts, one for each side of the two LP set. That was in 1997. I made the cover at Tower Records Damn, I wish I could find that tape.