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Stark Surreality.  Flute Music by Robin L. ōye

about Stark Surreality
(the project; the tracks; cd ordering info; commercial use information)

All tracks are licensed under a 
Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial-ShareAlike 2.5 License.
Now available with two extra tracks. Recordings of new compositions by Robin L. ōye (not for flute) as performed at the Pine Mountain Music Festival in 2004 and 2006

CD Available At CD Baby

The CD is available at CD Baby.  You can hear samples AND buy mp3's at the Torcroft Music Store




Stark Surreality


This is a recording of improvised music, made by one person, using several flutes and a recorder.  In Three Thoughts On Forget-Me-Nots (no. 14) three tracks were brought together.  Mostly, though, the selections were not multi-tracked, and extraneous sounds, such as vocalisations or percussive sounds, were done by me as I played. 

I am constantly amazed at the number of formally trained musicians that canít improvise, either on their own, or with others in settings with a musical structure round about.  Iíve always been able to do this, and never thought much about it.  Whatís even more amazing is to see a university jazz band and see the soloists marching out front with  written-out solos.  Young friends of mine speak of being discouraged from improvising (not necessarily those in jazz groups, though).   Moreover, where jazz is concerned, it seems that many new jazz players are trying to be clones of the greats.  Great efforts seem to go into learning the recorded solos of Charlie Parker, Miles Davis. and others rather than finding oneís own voice and making new contributions. For those who have never tried to play improvisationally,  I hope this modest effort will encourage you to take out your axe and blow, bow, pluck, or pound, or sit down at the keyboard, all without music stands present, and with the music firmly in the piano bench.  I think you have something to say.

The recording was done in the late winter and early spring at Zac Mues-Byrdís studio in Houghton, Michigan.  It was also done on a flute that was in various states of disrepair.  The selections are programmed in the order recorded, so one can hear my concert flute going from decrepit to fully repaired.  There is much key clacking in places: treat it as percussion. The picture of me on the back page of these notes is the work of my friend, Sergio, and in addition to a free copy of the disc, I bought him a beer.





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All Selection On Flute Except Where Noted.  All Works Composed or Arranged by Robin L. ōye

  1. Travíliní Light  The joy of playing the flute is its portability. Iíve been travíliní light musically for ever.  This recording is all about travelling as light as one can musically: playing solo

  2. Blues For An Old Neighbourhood  The íhood in question is in Chicago, on the North Side.  It is thoroughly gentrified nowadays, and as such is not a real place anymore,  but when I lived there, it was quiet, unassuming, and a great place to walk around.

  3. Late Winter (Baroque Flute) Much of the work was done as snow was still on the ground and the days were lengthening.

  4. Musings In A Dimly-Lit Room  (Nepalese Flute)  This is literally true: Zacís studio is dimly-lit.  This flute has a very intimate sound.  My wife, Paula suggested this title.

  5. Evíry Time I Feel The Spirit (trad. Spiritual) I love Spirituals. I think of the great singers whose recordings Iíve heard singing these songs, people like Paul Robeson,  and Marian Anderson. There is such joy and hope in these songs, and they are proof that oppression cannot defeat people who know they are free.

  6. Deep River (trad. Spiritual)

  7. Peepís Boogie (Sopranino Recorder) ďPeepĒ is my sopranino recorder.  Iím a big guy, and can just play this little instrument.

  8. Fast Thoughts On Quiet Streets  In cities, Iím always drawn to quiet side streets. In a grid-patterned city like Chicago, there are usually several ways to go places, all of the same distance.  The quiet streets allow my mind to run and race.

  9. Sunlight Through The Leaves Another title suggested by Paula, and very appropriate, as the leaves were just coming out when this was made.

  10. Freedom Day Iíd have liked a bass and drums on this one.

  11. Subway Without Trains I have heard singers and buskers in subways, and itís magical and ethereal.

  12. Church On A Monday (Sopranino Recorder) When I was a parish pastor, I enjoyed weekdays in churches for the quiet and peace. In older, high churches, sound soars, especially flute and recorder sounds.

  13. Buds Poppiní (Baroque Flute) Here, the trees come into leaf fast.  Theyíd better: they donít have a long season.

  14. Three Thoughts On Forget-Me-Nots
    This was done as follows: I recorded a track, then another, then another, all without listening to the previous tracks, but being reasonably aware of what they sounded like.

  15. Underpassiní Pedestrian underpasses are great places to play.

  16. April Rains  The quiet, still-cold rains of April, with only a hint of spring to comeÖAnother name suggested by Paula

  17. Blue Thursday It was the day I did this

  18. Old Friends  This is not an evocation of anyone I know.  The piece changes character often, which makes it sound like several pieces, maybe representing several friends.

  19. A Game For Two  See this page

  20. Textures  This work, for horn and percussion reflects my understanding that music has texture.  It also harkens back to a place where I learned much about music composition: the Art Institute of Chicago.  I could afford to go there on free days; I couldn't always afford to go to clubs or concerts or by recordings.  I owe a lot to Seurat, Monet, Renoir, and others.





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