During the mid-twentieth century recording technology attained a level of sophistication that permitted multiple tracks to be pressed into a single vinyl disc. Frank Sinatra is credited with using this manufacturing advancement to create a new recording format called the concept album. Concept albums were studio recordings in which the individual tracks were unified in support of some larger message. The unification could be a subject, a general theme or a sense of musical cohesiveness. Sinatra released many such albums during the 40s and 50s. Miles Davis’ albums of Blue on Green and Sketches of Spain, the Beatles’ Sgt. Pepper, the Beach Boys’ Pet Sounds are all concept albums.
This beautiful artistic form in which an artist can focus expression and strive for depth of meaning has fallen victim to downloading. The market for recordings is largely people between the ages of 12 and 30. Today few people in this age group have seen a vinyl LP. Not many buy albums on CDs. They download single tracks from iTunes, Amazon, and cdBaby. The 140-character world of today has no interest in concepts of any sort. It only wants tracks; even if those tracks lead nowhere.
12° of Separation is my capitulation to this reality. While I hope people will buy the complete album, I offer it not as a concept of some unifying theme or style, but as a collection of disconnected musical expressions. The tracks of this CD span traditional Irish dance tunes, original ballads and tunes, a boogie-woogie, even a piece composed for symphony orchestra. Each track is set in its own acoustic space appropriate to its unique voice. If any concept unifies this work, it is artistic expression presented without loyalty to any genera, dogma or expectation.
Separation is an act of detachment or state of being disconnected. Degrees are a series of way-points along a course. I hope you will enjoy these twelve stages of my current course. As to the destination…….well, that remains an enigma to both you and me.
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