Ancient Ships is my first album on Apparition Music, recorded in January 1979, re-mastered in 2007 from the original master tapes.
I wrote and performed all the music and recorded it in my studio in Toronto where I kept a Steinway grand piano ,a double manual Karn reed organ with pedals, a marimba and a 9 foot double manual harpsichord.
I recorded everything on a 2 track Revox tape recorder with a pair of Neumann U87 microphones.
To overdub new parts I bounced from track to track, sometimes slowing the tape down, sometimes speeding it up, sometimes cutting bits of tape out and reversing the pieces.
You can hear the bellows of the organ blasting away in the cellar underneath my studio, many creaks and squeeks from the piano pedals and the occasional truck passing for local colour.
All Along developed from my love of Erik Satie's piano music.
Clocks was created by placing an old miniature grandfather clock in my Steinway with the pedal jammed down so the dampers were raised, scraping the strings with various metal objects ( gently, oh so gently) and fooling around with the speed of the tape.
Papillons was influenced by Ravel and was originally entitled Three Times Up The Hill.
For Gail was a gift for my wife Gail and is sort of new music meets old music and they fall into a trance. I always loved having a harpsichord around.
Summer Rain is definitely trance music too, played on piano and marimba.
The Stone was influenced by Debussy. The title comes from the lyrics of a song of mine: ”It was not the child or the stone, but the wind in the field that opened my heart……”
The original title of Ancient Ships was " I walked down from the hills through the winter rain to the sea, where I saw a ship, floating in the air..." It rained all January 1979 in Toronto and this was one way to escape the gloom.
As a boy I
loved to listen to late night radio, especially when the stations would overlap
and different songs from disparate locales would blend in a dizzy mix. Ancient
Ships sounds a bit
like this in places and it was tricky figuring out how to do this on 2 tracks.