ABOUT THE MUSIC: Experiments in Araby

It is rather dramatic music, with a combination of traditional and non traditional instruments. Middle Eastern Rhythms, and modes, but influences of Classical, Rock and Roll, and Jazz. The compositions are arranged on the recording more or less as Suites - with several pieces arranged to provide a dancer the opportunity for contrast in a performance.

The “Carmen Suite” (opus 2) uses themes from Bizet’s opera “Carmen” in the style of a Middle Eastern orchestra, including the Habenera, famous for it’s “Gypsy” dancer on a table with a rose clutched in her teeth. Aragonaise begins and Danse Bohemienne ends, both fast exciting pieces. After Habenera the music sneaks into the famous March of the Toreadors theme, like an Egyptian Festival street parade. Toreador Song is a smoky nightclub with Fez-adorned musicians, which slips into Tanbor y Guitarra- an afterhours Flamenco drum solo with guitar.

Following the first six pieces from the “Carmen Suite” are the pieces of opus 1 including Seven/Eight a dancer's vague and distorted recollection of the music he has danced to, from an over-the-top parody of a Greek belly dance band (on steroids, with orchestra)- 15/8, to a heartfelt tribute to simple yet emotionally poignant music, with many twists in between. Though having some sort of common thread throughout, the individual compositions are quite diverse.

The essential components of the traditional cabaret dance form of Fast - Slow - Drum Solo (with additional fast and slow thrown in at various places- but generally alternating) may provide a structure upon which an art form hangs, somewhat like in European classical music sonata or concerto or Rondo form (it was originally Rondo a la Turk, was it not?). Then again Egyptian dance music has sudden changes of tempo and meter occurring rapidly in one piece of music -- for that listen to Quasi Satur-- which, because it is substantially medium-fast, and then is followed by a slow lyrical bolero, and, serving the place of drum solo, then a drum/instrument duet (Sitar/Dum Duet (actually a trio, but who’s counting? (can you expect musicians to count?) Certainly not whoever dropped the 4th beat of a bar, every 4 bars, most of the time, in 15/8!)). Those pieces are followed by the fast 15/8 (which may not be like you know 15/8 meter to be, aside from the fact the piece randomly changes meter to suit the melody-- just keep dancing!), then comes a subsequent slow piece then drum solo, which makes a flexible assortment of pieces, i.e. a 3-part dance Fast/Slow/DrumDuet; or a 5-part dance Fast/Slow/DumDuet/Fast (ethnic odd-metered rhythm for variety) /Slow, with a drum solo available to finish; or just use the last three pieces - 15/8, slow piece, and drum solo - for a different dance routine.

Experiments in Araby (opus 1) consists of the following compositions:

Seven/eight = (3:26) Fast, with dramatic breaks, cheesy keyboards, power guitars,

Slow Beledi = (3:12) Power Guitars and lyrical Nyes= dramatic

Deep Dumbek =(0:54) Deeper than your average drum solo-listen on big speakers

Two/Four = (3:01) Dramatic slow intro, into fast with an ethereal bridge

DulcChifti =(6:03) Slow Hypnotic electrotribal- turns computer mice into snakes

Drum Solo = Big finish

Quasi Santur =(3:57) Medium fast with dramatic stops and changes

Bolero = (4:25) Slow lyrical folkish - transforms to European Renaissance

Fifteen/eight = (3:58) Wild night (Fast) Greek Band with orchestra

Behind the Garden Walls = Like from a movie or ballet- has sections wistful and rousing (but slow drums)

Sitar Dum Duet = (3:17) Drum solo with sitar/violin -fast then faster

The original "Dancer's Version" (1.01)had a slow hypnotic Chifti Telli presented twice- in a long version and a short version, to provide flexibility for a dancer wishing to use the music for performance. To make the album less redundant, for listening to it straight through, another slow piece now replaces the short version of Chifti Telli.
Much of the music has a cinematic quality to it. So make a movie dancing to it and send it to me! If you need a special version of a piece for a performance - if the performance is going to be seen by enough people, as my time allows I may be able to shorten or lengthen, or take out some parts, even speed up or slow down some pieces. If the performance is going to have a significantly great audience, or world class dancers, I might consider composing specifically for your choreographic requirements (I’ve been infatuated with the idea of collaborating with a ballet company - or a group of dancers with comparable skills and dedication in their field).

© 1987-2006 G. Olerich

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