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Artist: NEAL MORGAN

From album: SKETCHBOOK March 2015 – March 2016

Released: May 5, 2017

About Neal Morgan: homepage, wikipedia page

Get the whole album on: iTunesAmazon

Listen to a radio segment with Neal:  songs, interview 5/5/17 on XRAY fm in Portland

 

ABOUT THE ALBUM

Comprised of songs, vignettes, and arrangement experiments, SKETCHBOOK March 2015 – March 2016 presents selected studio recordings made by drummer Neal Morgan. It is his fourth solo record, and includes for the first time music composed using instruments other than drums and voices. Half of the songs were composed as “music intended to score imagined scenes” in response to the story of the Rajneeshpuram settlement near Antelope, Oregon in the mid 1980s.

About the scoring work, Neal wrote: “On March 11, 2015, I tagged along with filmmakers Chapman and Maclain Way to see the former Rajneeshpuram site. The brothers told me about much of their research during that visit and showed me some archival footage. Particular visuals stuck with me: the desert landscape; the different hues of the red robes, the shining Rolls Royces out in the desert; the eyes and smile of the guru Bhagwan; red robes with rifles; the formerly homeless men expressing hopes and thanks for community and rebirth. Dreams of acceptance, family, utopia, safety. Fear and pain. How frightening it might have been at times. How dark it must have been at night. At its core, drumming, like scoring for moving image and story, is about creating and managing tension. I made many sketches responding to the elements that haunted me - things that perhaps had happened or been felt or thought of by children or adults there. Situations, colors, visuals. The music in turn created new stories, new sights, and new tensions. It was like making music to score – and simultaneously to create and direct – imagined scenes of an imagined film.”

ABOUT NEAL

Morgan is perhaps best known for his work with two of the finest songwriters of his generation, Joanna Newsom and Bill Callahan. He first accompanied Newsom in 2006, when he arranged drums and percussion for the live performance of her classic second album Ys and began performing as a part of her touring band. He arranged and performed all of the drums and percussion on Newsom’s triple album Have One On Me and on three of the songs from Divers. He began playing with Callahan as a duo in 2009 and arranged and performed drums and percussion on Apocalypse. He is currently working on a book about his experiences drumming and supporting in music and gives talks on the painter Philip Guston, an artist he’s studied since 2003. In addition to his work as an artist, Morgan began volunteering for Barack Obama’s primary campaign in Iowa in late 2007 and went on staff as a Field Organizer in Nevada for the ’08 general election. He currently coaches young organizers and gives talks on electoral field programs and political organizing.

 

SONG INFORMATION

Like I Was a Boy Again - - - November 23, 2015 in Portland OR

Rajneesh 8 - - - August 18, 2015 in Portland OR

Getting Older - - - December 10, 2015; singing, mix March 4, 2016 in Portland OR and Berkeley CA

Hitting Moonshots - - - June 20, 2015 in Portland OR

Rajneesh 5 - - - September 19, 2015 in Portland OR

Rajneesh Theme - - - September 14, 2015 in Portland OR with some singing re-recorded March 23, 2016 in Berkeley CA

Rajneesh 2 - - - September 14, 2015 in Portland OR

Summer 9 - - - August 18, 2015 in Portland OR

It Changes - - - August 8, 2015 in Portland OR with extensive revisions through February, 2015 in Berkeley CA

Touchless - - - December 5, 2016 in Berkeley CA *

Summer 1 - - - June 9, 2015 in Portland OR

Rajneesh 6 - - - September 20, 2015 in Portland OR

Rajneesh 3 - - - September 14, 2015 in Portland OR

Theme Ending - - - Theme made September 14, 2015 in Portland OR; ending edit March 24, 2016 in Berkeley CA

Saved In Music - - - March 21-26, 2016 in Portland OR

Help - - - March 5, 2016 in Berkeley CA; beat taken from somewhere in an older sketch made in Portland OR

Bathing Moonshots - - - Original recording June 20, 2015 in Portland OR, mix made March 5, 2016 in Berkeley CA

 

* The line "You Say You Say You Say" is borrowed from the song I'll Believe if You Believe written by Tony Schatz and should be heard as gratitude for Tony, a true friend

 

MORE

- Rajneesh Theme was an exercise to try to score what in my mind would be a captivating, white-knuckle kind of movie trailer

- Help and Like I Was a Boy Again were about responding to imagined scenes and characters in the Rajneeshpuram story but also taking central compelling visuals, imagined characters and moments into my own experience: what if I'd been there, too?

- Touchless was the name of a carwash and a short-lived band two of my close friends, Ryan Schwartz and Ryan Donnelly; it feels special to use it here in the same spirit as the lyrical nod to Tony Schatz

 

SPECIAL THANKS TO THE WAY BROTHERS for telling me the story of Rajneeshpuram and taking me on that field trip; being so fascinated and captivated by it all sparked many good and helpful creative exercises and small moments instructive in composing and arranging for story, which I otherwise wouldn't have encountered.

Lux Preciado-Solis for outreach to college and community radio

Mastering by Stereophonic Mastering

Album art by Neal Morgan and Bijan Berahimi