I owe the resurgence of my music career to producer Douglas Mcgowan who found me hiding in the shadows and encouraged me to step into the light and share my work. Douglas is a producer at Light in the Attic (how appropriate is that for a name of a record company for the likes of me?), Numero Uno records and owner of Yoga Records. I had boxes of audio tapes… that had traveled with me over so many moves that I lost count. There were on the verge of turning to dust when he showed up at my door. I trusted him implicitly and handed them over to be digitized. One thing let to another and he produced an anthology of my work, HEARING MUSIC. Now, I’m off to Europe and New York for concerts. Thank you Douglas!
Joanna Brouk, pioneer in electronic and New Age Music talks about the inspiration for her music. Recorded for her 2017 concert tour.
Joanna Brouk, Composer
(The following is an excerpt from Jason Woodbury’s recent interview of Joanna Brouk for The Aquarium Drunkard in which he asks about her background as a composer.)
Electronic composer Joanna Brouk takes very little credit for the trailblazing sound poetry she recorded in the 1970s and ’80s. It flowed through her she says, unbothered by the metaphysical connotations such a statement implies. She didn’t write it so much as transcribe it, pulling melodies from single repeated notes and from the spaces between them.
“If you want to know where my music came from, it was silence,” Brouk says over the phone from her place in San Diego, synthesizer drones buzzing faintly in the background.
Her remarkable recordings can be heard on Numero Group’s Hearing Music, a double LP set assembled by producer Douglas Mcgowan (best known for Light in the Attic’s New Age compilation I Am the Center, which features Brouk’s “Lifting Off”). From her gong and synth meditation “The Creative” to her collaborations with flautist Maggi Payne, to the droning “Diving Deeper, Remembering Love,” Brouk’s music resonates with a deep, spiritual grace. Her experimentalism aligned with minimalists like Philip Glass and Steve Reich, but her explorative, cosmic leanings earned her self-released cassettes a passionate New Age audience. Continue reading Joanna Brouk Interview for the Aquarium Drunkard
French artist, Pierre Auguste Cot was born 17 February 1837. He studied at l’Ecole des Beaux-Arts in Toulouse before going to Paris. In 1863 he made a successful debut at the Salon; and, from the 1870s onward, his popularity grew quickly.
His painting The Storm (La Tempête) was completed in 1880 and is currently on display at New York’s Metropolitan Museum of Art. It shows a couple fleeing an encroaching storm, covered by the young man’s billowing cape – the perfect visual metaphor for the cover of my eBook, Lost Lovers of Atlantis.
Many thanks to Ingrid Thuiliere, a French native who lives in San Diego and is helping me translate my program notes for my upcoming concert in Nantes. Here is an excerpt from a speech of mine in English, followed by her translation.
Music for a new age…
All music has its source in silence. It rises and falls from that infinite source. By “tuning in” to one’s own silence, one can hear the hum of the universe, and the songs of the cosmos. Joanna Brouk demonstrates through her own compositions how a single note can resonate to create a symphony and how the physical body is the instrument for a myriad of musical creations. One of the results of listening to Joanna Brouk’s music is that the listener becomes aware of the silence within that creates music. The study of music—or sound—therefore, is the study of those principles which structure silence into motion. The spaces between notes are as important as the notes themselves.
Music Score for The Creative by Joanna Brouk
Musique pour le new age…
Toute la musique a sa source dans le silence. Elle monte et retombe de cette source infinie. En s’accordant à son propre silence, on peut entendre le bourdonnement de l’univers et les chants du cosmos. Joanna Brouk montre à travers ses propres compositions comment une seule note peut résonner pour créer une symphonie et comment le corps est l’instrument pour une infinités de créations musicales. L’un des résultats de l’écoute de la musique de Joanna Brouk est que l’auditeur devient conscient du silence qui crée la musique. L’étude de la musique – ou du son – est ainsi l’étude des principes qui structurent le silence en mouvement. Les espaces entre les notes deviennent aussi importants que les notes elles-mêmes.
The folks at Numero Uno created the following music video for Aurora, one of the pieces on my album HEARING MUSIC. Aurora was on my previous album SOUNDS OF THE SEA. She rises from the deep, from the cosmic ocean hum. Like sunrise, a flute brings her song to light, rising like a reminder from the deep past, launching a new day.
Gustav Klimt, Sea Serpent
Images of my musical scores are superimposed on a series of photos by Stephen Dane who did many of the set designs for BLADE RUNNER (pre-CGI, hand drawn and crafted – so impressive).
It’s a bit hard to tell, but those scratches across my face are actually musical scores. When I was younger and hearing music, I didn’t know how to transcribe it, so I sketched geometric shapes of what I was hearing. My walls were covered with them.
Joanna Brouk, Score for Gong Piece, The Creative
When I began working with synthesizers, aka electronic music, I realized all sound was mathematical. It is why Pythagoras wrote that music and the heavenly bodies are governed by the same laws. Here is a score I call “The View from my Window”
Joanna Brouk, View from my Window
When I first received invitations to tour, I was reluctant to do so since most of my compositions are created in the studio where I have access to multi-tracks, synthesizers and all the cool stuff to add reverb and different configurations of sound (plus recordings of whales, crickets, frogs, etc.) … then I met Shammy Dee, a producer, performer, and magician-musician. We were both working at the La Jolla Playhouse on the play, Tiger Style and he was a one-man orchestra or, as the director said, “The Puppet Master” seamlessly blending east and western music on synth and tape. Brilliant!
Because of Shammy’s help with my sound design, I can now travel with a mini-studio … my Yamaha Synthesizer and pre-recorded mixes. Thank you, Shammy!
Shammy Dee likes to solve problems. In a world that is filled with various challenges, he chooses music as one way to solve them. As a DJ, he fills empty dance floors. As a producer, he conjures honest performances from artists. As a performer, he challenges himself to dig deep into his own truth to connect with his audience.
People seem to like his musical problem solving. He’s worked for respected companies like Nordstrom and Disney, for powerhouse brands like Louis Vuitton and Adidas, and even celebrities like the Kardashians and Alicia Keys. He has produced songs for singers and spoken word artists. And he’s also been a music director and sound designer for respected theaters like the La Jolla Playhouse, the Old Globe Theater, and the Cleveland Playhouse as well as sound design for individual artists.
When Shammy Dee is at your event, you’ll get nothing short of an energetic performance topped off with an infectious smile. He is currently working on original music and remixes as well as playing lots of parties all throughout Southern California. You can contact him at www.shammydee.com or email firstname.lastname@example.org
My album HEARING MUSIC is getting some play in France and I have been invited to perform at the Variations Festival on April 2, 2017 at Le Lieu Unique – the national center for contemporary arts and music in Nantes, France.
This innovative space supports artistic exploration, cultural effervescence and conviviality. It mixes genres and cultures. It heralds a spirit for curiosity in visual arts, theater, dance, circus, music, literature, philosophy, architecture and cuisine.
A place for mingling, Le Lieu Unique has spaces dedicated to artistic creation, a bar, a restaurant, a bookstore, a day nursery and a gift shop. The iconic tower of the former factory has a view on the city which can also be visited.
Every year Le Lieu Unique presents dozens of shows (theater, dance, circus, music, literary meetings, philosophical debates, …), exhibitions, residencies for artists, recurring events and festivals, and workshops.
Numero Uno Records recently released HEARING MUSIC an anthology of my music. Enjoy “The Space Between,” a work of love, where the notes interplay with themselves on an underlying field of silence. One of my favorite pieces that I keep running in the background nearly every day – when I have company, when I write, when I need to get centered and calm. Enjoy!
When working on The Ancients Loved Sex: Behind the Veil – my anthology of ancient tales of love and lust, I came upon many Greek tales of the muse. In trying to find a modern counterpart, I delighted in the work of the 20th century writer, Anais Nin, whose groundbreaking work elevated the female voice and female erotica, and provided a contemporary version of the muse.
“For too many centuries women have been muses to artists. I wanted to be the muse. I wanted to be the wife of the artist, but I was really trying to avoid the final issue — that I had to do the job myself.” – Anais Nin