Many, many years ago, sometime late 1960s, early 1970s, I heard an amazing album, it was a saxophone recorded in Grace Cathedral, making use of echo in the cathedral. I still have it somewhere on reel-to-reel tape. Sadly I have never been able to find it on the net.
I mention this unknown album, as Believe In Peace by Steve Lawson brings back fond memories. The difference being Steve Lawson uses a bass guitar and tape loops. What a pity he did not make use of a building as Gregory Paul did with The Fremont Abbey Session.
The other intriguing aspect is how this album came about. It is an improvisation on an art exhibition by Geoff Bush based around I Ching.
Steve Lawson describes the events that brought about Believe In Peace as serendipitous. What he is actually describing is synchronicity, unplanned events that somehow against all odds appear to be connected.
This album came about via one of those unplannable serendipitous internet chains of events that you look back on and wonder if someone had planned them after all…
Lobelia and I had two house concerts booked in the Milwaukee and Madison, WI. Jason Bush – a musician from Minneapolis who had found us on Twitter, was considering the long drive down to Madison to see us play. However, this was right in the middle of the Union struggles in Madison, and our host was very involved, and quite rightly chose to focus on that rather than our show. So we had a free night. Jason putting his entrepreneurial hat on, invites us to play at an art exhibition of work by his dad, Geoff Bush. There’s an open studio weekend (Art-A-Whirl) and Geoff was exhibiting. We chatted on the phone, liked the sound of each other and booked it.
Intending to play a ‘normal’ Steve and Lo house concert-type set, I found on first seeing Geoff’s art that I was moved to want to react to it musically in some way. His art is all based on the I Ching – the ancient Chinese book of wisdom, used by some for divination, but by others just as a source of deep inspiration. Geoff’s work featured the various hexagram symbols heavily, contextualising them in mixed media works. My favourite was a granite carved cube, with one of four hexagrams on each vertical face. These are where the four track titles come from.
So Lobelia and I split our set in two. The first half, me solo, is what you hear here. A series of four improvisations, played while those in attendance were encouraged to continue walking around looking at the art, seeing how the soundtrack and the visual work interacted, informed or complimented each other. We then did a more typical duo show in the second half.
I feel a great affinity for Geoff’s work – his focus on the iconography of the I Ching Hexagrams roots his work in wisdom, in words, in ideas, in a quest for deeper inspiration and meaning. And his overall theme is also the title of this album: Believe In Peace. Geoff’s quest for peace has caused him to explore the themes as expressed in the I Ching, and I feel enriched by his journey and art. I hope some of that comes across in the music.
Steve also has another interesting, hard to refuse, offer, twenty albums on a 4 GB memory stick. All as mp3 320, but some are also available as lossless high quality FLAC. [see mp3 v FLAC]
To listen to FLAC need VLC Media Player.