Thunderstorms the spirit of evolution 2001
A mesmerizing sojourn into the cosmos. A 10 year project, this record
is a wild ride from the initial flashpoint of creation to the present.
A musical telling of the great story of the universe. Featuring an array
of original acoustic instruments including huaca, conundrums, kim kims
and nyckelharpa. 15 compositions musically linked into one whole with
moving didjeridu bass lines, and unique time, rhythm & counterpoint
reflecting the complexity of the great surround. A sound signature of
fired clay, alloy, wood and agave towards a whiff of the spirit of evolution.
Like nothing else. 74 minutes
Includes a 16 page four color booklet - each piece investigates
a concept or provocative human/nature idea articulated by a contemporary
scientist, writer, activist, or naturalist.
Alan Tower & Free Energy is an innovative San Francisco-based sound
collective, using unique instruments and compositions to create musical
montages that invite the listener into reflections on our place in this
wild and untamed universe.
Free Energy weaves together the haunting, resonant melodies of the huaca
(a three-chambered ocarina), one-of-a-kind percussion instruments, didgeridus,
throat singing and rare antique instruments from around the world. Their
compositions are musically complex, each drawing on the diverse talents
of Free Energy's twelve members to create tone poems that point listeners
to the points of Awe in the creation around us.
The group's crowning accomplishment to date is entitled 10,000 Thunderstorms
the spirit of evolution, and takes listeners on a musical inquiry into
the ethics and evolution of our unfolding Universe. The album draws listeners
into a conversation beyond words through musical inquiries into such themes
as indigenous cultures, nature's sometimes cruel idea of justice, and
the Big Bloom that birthed this Universe.
10,000 is an Octave Alliance release(inspiring social change through music)
on the Ancient-Future.com. OA is breaking new ground in the musical world
by combining nature-inspired music, unique acoustic instruments and a
focus on the activist potential of music. OA is also raising funds to
bring its unique compositions to live stages, for small and large group
experiences focused on sustainable culture. Octave Alliance unique graphics
are created to engage the listener with both the music and the ideas that
inspired it. The 10,000 album notes are 16 color pages, with a one page
reflection on each piece. The music and album notes together provide a
rich opportunity to engage heart and mind in honoring the wonders of creation
Free Energy has several past and pending releases that continue their
themes of combining unique music, storyline and nature sounds. The 1996
record Waves, remastered in 2001 combines solo compositions for the three-chambered
huaca vessel flute with underwater recordings of orca pods, volcanic tremors
and sounds of unknown origin. It is a poignant and beautiful eavesdropping
on the underwater world. Projects for 2002/2003 include several exciting
releases. Bearing Witness will integrate didgeridu solos with snips of
disappearing languages from indigenous peoples around the world. Arktos
will be a collection of solo and duo acoustic guitar pieces by Free Energy
leader Alan Tower. Both are expected out in 2003. The Good, the True and
the Beautiful will provide a lyrical counterpart to 10,000 Thunderstorms
due for release in 2005.
-review by Theron Shaw, Seattle, WA
First encounters with the sounds of Free Energy will leave listeners fascinated
by the numerous instruments and sounds which many will never have heard
before. As one spends more time with their work, it continues to engage
mind and spirit, both musically and philosophically. If youíre
interested in unique acoustic instruments and the potential of music for
sustainability activism, Free Energy and Octave Alliance are names to
-Alan Atkisson, sustainability activist, author of "Believing Cassandra"
and former editor of "In Context"
I LOVED this. Really really musical. Very satisfying. Peaceful. Lovely
stuff. I could hear Michael Hedges influence and Ancient Future and even
Chuck Mangione and lots of people I like, but it was also wholly original.
- Judy deReus, Campus Planner University of California, San Francisco
10,000 Thunderstorms is an imaginative, spiritual blend of sounds and
melodies, both of the natural world and human-made, and a delightful interplay
of traditional and original musical instruments. I found the music to
be relaxing, light hearted and intriguing. It was fun reading the thought
provoking prose and quotations while listening to each piece, and understanding
the composers thematic inspirations. The richness of the music,
text and visual imagery exude intelligence, creativity and artistic depth.
This body of work is, in itself, evolutionary.
Sometimes haunting, sometimes soothing, Waves is culturally and ecologically
sensitive with the mysterious musical sounds of the huaca and mammals
of the sea.
- Judy Cumbee, social and environment activist
10,000 Thunderstorms is amazing. I had somehow not carved out the time
for the requisite listening. Yesterday, I thought, ok, this is not the
way, but while I'm washing dishes I'm going to start listening to this
c.d. But within 3 minutes there was a loud snap in the house, and then
the rumbling of thunder outside. OK, I did not have to wash a dish. I
sat on the sofa doing nothing but reading about the pieces and listening.,
sometimes not being sure whether I was hearing birds on the cd or just
outside on the feeder. Alan, it was quite astounding that just as "10,000
Thunderstorms began" the rain here began to pour, beating down. Listening
to the cd was quite an experience. Afterwards, I had gone back to Intrauterine
Cannibals when my dear friend, Esther, from down the hill walked in. She
has been pouring herself out in organizing for an annual Good Friday demonstration
against the death penalty; at least 70 people turned out. I instantly
offered her the cd to nurture her spirit too. THANK YOU SO VERY MUCH.
-Brian Harwell, Foundation for Global Community
I've got to tell you, I was mesmerized by 10,000 Thunderstorms. I honestly
think it is truly exceptional work and captures the essence for which
you were striving.
- Kitty, KZYX
10,000 Thunderstorms is amazing. I love the instruments, the variety of
moods and how the themes are handled. Another masterpiece. Thank you all
for sharing your talents and inspirations, your passion with the world!
Quotes on the back cover of CD
If you sense that the destiny of the human is more than turning the Earth
into commodities, 10,000 Thunderstorms was created for you. It's a gateway
into a secret. The universe worked fourteen billion years to shape a human
for one primary function: to become stupefied by beauty. To celebrate
Being. To revel in it. 10,000 Thunderstorms is undeniable proof that,
however violent and short-sighted we humans sometime become, we are nevertheless
capable of profound amazement and the deepest gratitude for existence.
- Brian Swimme, physicist, cosmologist and author of "The Universe
Story" & "The Heart of the Cosmos"
Free Energys union of instrumental conceptualism and creative audio
technologies achieves a new zenith in this outstanding effort. A dynamic
synergy of wind, wood, hardware, bronze, software, clay and skin that
transcends its own perfect mix.
-Randy Alberts, author of "Tascam: 25 years of Recording Evolution"
& contributing editor for Mix, Digidesign and AV Video Multimedia
Magazine & Book Editors
This record is a mystery. On the one hand it's through-composed world
music using one-of-a-kind experimental acoustic instruments. On the other
hand it's music with a mission i.e bringing music to the center of social
change efforts. A lot to chew on - I recommend planning a long dinner.
Prepare for a banquet that takes you deep into evolution's spirit.
- K. Lauren de Boer, Editor, "EarthLight Magazine"
"During one of his discourses, the Buddha said that in our time the
ear would be the best sense door through which to achieve enlightenment.
This record is devoted to our awakening -- on it you will hear the sound
of life echoing its own history, of consciousness reflecting upon itself,
of humans expressing their deepest wisdom and feelings."
-Wes(Scoop)Nisker, author of "Buddhas Nature" and editor
of "Inquiring Mind"
Octave Alliance's 10,000 Thunderstorms brings together a stunning array
of unusual musical instruments, both traditional and new, in the service
of an expansive musical, historical and social vision. The special qualities
of each individual instrument come across beautifully and lucidly, even
as each finds its place within the context of the compositional whole.
- Bart Hopkin, Editor, Experimental Musical Instruments (EMI)
Please click on CD cover and then on purchase