Wednesday, December 6, 2017

How Swiftly I Fell (from MIR Archives)

This instrumental -- recorded in spring 2003 on a German pipe organ on the fifth floor of Murphy Hall in Lawrence -- was originally intended to segue to "Brushes to Bronze" on Misadventures in Radiology.  Transposed to a different key and performed by a string quartet in 2007, the piece ultimately appeared as "For a Little While" -- the segue to "Three Months in Cook County" on Please Kid, Remember.  As with "Rue des Allobroges," this recording was lost for fourteen years.

The above photo, of my friend Sam Kingsley and I standing on Oxford's High Street just beyond Magdalen Bridge in summer 2002 is from the same period in which the music was written.

Photography: Phil Kunz

Sunday, November 26, 2017

Rue des Allobroges (from MIR Archives)

I'm going to be sharing some things from my archives, the first of which is "Rue des Allobroges" -- an instrumental that was, for a time, intended to segue to "This Awful Room" on Misadventures in Radiology.  I had entirely forgotten about the piece -- here in harpsichord form -- since its recording in spring 2003, but found it on a CDR this month while on the final stretch of more than a year of sifting through and archiving ProTools sessions, CDRs (some labeled, some not), cassette tapes from my high school four-track days, and hundreds of glossy 4 x 6 photos that I feared were forever lost. Rue des Allobroges is a street in Geneva, Switzerland that I came to know while visiting a friend the same summer that the MIR sessions commenced at the late, great Elliott Smith's studio in Los Angeles.  The above image (also newly unearthed after spending fifteen years on a CDR in a cardboard box) is from the same series as the MIR cover photo -- in front of Oxford's Radcliffe Camera on a walk home from the Purple Turtle late one night in summer 2002.

Photography: Phil Kunz

Monday, September 25, 2017

MoonStone

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“Among all words I knew there is one
With the power to record and to re-present
The secret, I see, is with humble intent
To use it simply. Moon.”

     -J.L. Borges (excerpted from “The Moon”)

Alex Doolittle - Drums
Audrey Herren - Cello
Andrew Morgan - Ocarina / Piano / Guitar / Electric Bass / Triangle / Feedback
Anne Schneller - Violin
Chris Shaw - Upright Bass
Erin Wood - Harp

Recorded summer 2012, Chicago, Illinois // fall 2016 and spring 2017, Lawrence, Kansas.
Mixed and Mastered by Matt LaPoint.
Original Release Date: 22 June 2017.

Image: unknown (from Thalman family archives; restored by David Marquardt).

Darkening

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Suddenly the city was empty, its residents in mass holiday exodus.  Green pharmacy crosses flashing all the more brightly for the lack of headlights on the boulevards below.  The fountain at Place du Maréchal Lyautey burbling all the more clearly for the lack of early evening drinkers on the patios of bars nearby.  And the sky over the chimneys of Croix-Rousse all the more otherworldly when seen alone in the south meadow of Parc de la Tête d’Or, the light fading and the summer darkening.

Kristina Dutton - Violin
Andrew Morgan - Guitar / Piano
Mike Giffin - Percussion

Recorded fall 2013, Lawrence, Kansas // El Cerrito, California // Astoria, New York.
Mixed and Mastered by Matt LaPoint.
Original Release Date: 4 January 2015 (Moorworks // Japan).

Image: "Flood of 1908" (from Thalman family archives).

First Light, Stoneback Drive

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Being able to drive again was a godsend.  I had originally planned on driving out to LA from the Midwest so I’d have my own car for the sessions, but it had met its end the preceding winter on a downtown bridge over the Chicago River.  The car had been my grandfather’s, and he had passed just a few months prior, so it felt like losing him all over again.  Before it was towed away, I pried a plastic insignia from the dashboard to have as a keepsake – of my grandfather’s car, the car I learned to sing in, the car I drove to New York in, the car I kept all of my possessions in for four months in Chicago before my best friend and I got our first real apartment. 

Michalis Koutsoupides - Violin / Viola

Recorded spring 2008, Lawrence, Kansas.
Mixed by Mike Giffin.
Mastered by Doug Van Sloun.
Remastered by Matt LaPoint.
Original Release Date: 31 July 2009 (Broken Horse // UK)

Image: The North Carolina (from Thalman family archives; restored by David Marquardt).

Tuesday, September 19, 2017

LYON // Cosmic Trigger Records

I'm excited to announce digital distribution for my instrumental music project LYON via Cosmic Trigger Records of NYC to iTunes, Amazon, Apple Music, Spotify, and Pandora coinciding with the release of new album TRAILS on the autumnal equinox.

LYON - FOUR SEASONS -- 14 November 2016 supermoon EP
LYON - VOYAGE TO SCOPRION ISLAND -- 2016 winter solstice single
LYON - LYON -- 2017 spring solstice album
LYON - NOCTURAMA -- 2017 summer solstice split EP
LYON - TRAILS -- 2017 autumnal equinox album
Twitter // Instagram: @lyonfrancemusic

Sunday, September 17, 2017

Portent

LYON-TRAILS-09-Portent


“The earthquake did not help,” I thought, nerves still frayed from the 3am 6.0 magnitude event as heat lightning pulsed above the creepy little casino town on the Nevada-Utah border.  Below the sky, fields of flickering red lights and the words "you're headed in the wrong direction” fading in and out of reception on the radio.  Then, a savage, Biblical rain, momentary skid-outs in standing water, and just flat-out not being able to see.  At a dive motel in the desolate eastern part of the state, a black moth on the shower curtain and June bugs in the bed.

AM - Piano / Grandfather Clock

Recorded fall 2013, Leawood, Kansas.
Mixed and Mastered by Matt LaPoint.
Original Release Date: 4 January 2015 (Moorworks // Japan).

image: "15th St. and Blue Ridge Road" (from Thalman family archives).


Rising

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"But it is possible, it is possible: the old grief, by a great mystery of human life, gradually passes into quiet, tender joy; instead of young, ebullient blood comes a mild, serene old age.  I bless the rising sun each day, and, as before, my heart sings to meet it but now I love even more its setting, its long slanting rays and the soft tender gentle memories that come with them..."

      -Dostoyevsky, The Brothers Karamazov (Father Zosima speaking)

Kristina Dutton - Violin
Teddy Rankin-Parker - Cello

Recorded winter 2014, El Cerrito, California.
Mixed and Mastered by Matt LaPoint.
Original Release Date: 4 January 2015 (Moorworks // Japan).

image: unknown (from Thalman family archives).

Thursday, September 7, 2017

Granville

LYON-TRAILS-07-Granville


It takes days and days to drive through Pennsylvania.  Or at least that’s how it feels when you’re twenty-two and on the verge of setting sight on New York City for the first time.  Not that I minded.  Passages on I-80 East through a quintet of state forests replicated and extended the unreal pitch of autumn I had just experienced for the first time in Ohio.  A long, undulating stretch of America, then through New Jersey so much faster than expected, the world quickening, expanding, New York a flickering, pluming goliath through the geometry of cantilever bridges.

Shan-Ken Chieng - Second Violin
Sascha Groschang - Cello
Michalis Koutsoupides - Viola
Noemi Miloradovic - First Violin
Andrew Morgan - Guitar / Piano

Recorded spring 2010, Lawrence, Kansas.
Mixed by Mike Giffin.
Mastered by Doug Van Sloun.
Remastered by Matt LaPoint.
Original Release Date: 18 February 2011 (Moorworks // Japan).

Image: unknown (viewfinder card from Morgan family archives).

Sunday, September 3, 2017

For a Little While

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My own stint in New York was brief – half euphoria, half panic.  I had tried to move there from Kansas nearly two years prior in the fall of 2000, in love with versions of the city I had dreamed of while reading biographies of Jimi Hendrix, Bob Dylan, and The Beatles in high school, and feeling desperately stifled and out of place in Lawrence after a life-changing year studying abroad at Oxford.  I dropped my classes – mostly post-modern philosophy – petitioned to graduate early, and got a job delivering pizzas.  I saved up two thousand dollars, and thought that would be enough to find an apartment in Greenwich Village – that it would be just like winter 1961 as recounted by Dylan.  Needless to say, I bounced off the atmosphere. 

Michalis Koutsoupides - Viola

Recorded spring 2008, Lawrence, Kansas.
Mixed by Jim Vollentine.
Mastered by Doug Van Sloun.
Remasted by Matt LaPoint.
Original Release Date: 15 January 2008 (Moorworks // Japan).

Image: Chicago Harbor (from Thalman family archives; restored by David Marquardt).

Thursday, August 31, 2017

Leaves (III)

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It was in Ohio where I became enamored with autumn, started measuring time by its approach or departure.  I’d left Kansas that morning in a t-shirt.  Hundreds of miles east and slightly north, I found myself rubbing my arms to warm up while stopped at a gas station that evening, rummaging through my backpack for a sweatshirt and a bit caught off guard by the bite in the air.  The sun had begun to set and, with the wind picking up a bit, the scenery took on a different character as I left the interstate for older roads leading up to Mt. Vernon.  On narrowing lanes alongside farmland, leaves already showing shades of red and orange that would not visit Kansas until closer to Halloween waved in the wind.  It was as if a portal was opening up, drawing my eyes away from the road for increasingly dangerous intervals.  Soon, it was nearly dark and I was lost, in a bit of a panic but at the same time entranced, wondering how there could be a place so beautiful that I’d never heard a word of.  Back on track and passing through Mt. Vernon toward Gambier after nightfall, leaves still fluttering in bunches showed their colors intermittently just above street lamps as if a light switch were being flipped off and on.  The feeling, like playing hide-and-seek in gardens of the wealthy as a child, was quietly electric. 

Kristina Dutton - Violin
Andra Kulans - Violin
Andrew Morgan - Guitars / Piano / Harmonium / Melodica / Feedback Bed

Recorded summer 2012, Lawrence, Kansas / spring 2013, Chicago, Illinois / summer 2014, El Cerrito, California.
Mixed and Mastered by Matt LaPoint.

Image: Hartford, Connecticut (from Thalman family archives; restored by David Marquardt).

Friday, August 25, 2017

Parc de la Tête d'Or (II)

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In wandering years, parks were portals.  In Korea, I would tell myself if I could just hike the next ridge line, I would be home.  As if parks were points of teleportation, all connected in the same grand spirit park.  Hampstead Heath in London, Yogogi Park in Tokyo, Lincoln Park in Chicago, Boston Common, Griffith Park, Central Park, even little Marvin Grove in Lawrence, Kansas where my parents would take us on fall Saturdays – all connected. Parc de la Tiete d’Or in Lyon was no different.  On my first visit, I stayed past dark and thought I was losing my mind when I became frightened by the sounds of wild birds and animals.  I didn’t yet know that the park contained a zoo – the Jadin zoolólogic de Lyon – so I wondered if it was somehow a close spirit connection of a park in Africa.  On my many subsequent visits I would stay late to hear the wildlife welcome the darkness and pretend that I had still not solved the mystery of the zoo.

Audrey Herren - Cello
Andra Kulan - Violin / Viola

Recorded spring 2015, Chicago, Illinois / Lawrence, Kansas.
Mixed and Mastered by Matt LaPoint.
Release Date: 22 September 2017.

Image: Heidelburg Castle, Germany (viewfinder card from Morgan family archives).

Wednesday, August 23, 2017

Fourvière (II)

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     Atop Lyon sits La Basilique Notre Dame de Fourvière  – a 19th century cathedral of white marble and stained glass.  More magical than even views from its terrace that on a clear day reach the Alps beyond Lyon's edges is the tumble of subtle wonders from the basilica down to the Saône.  A long road winds around Parc des Hauters and the Jardin de Rosaire, offering glimpses of city lights through the branches of trees.  Slopes of stone descend to narrow cobblestone streets that flow away from Place St. Jean, spilling out onto Quai Romaine Rolland and its curve along the river.  An ethereal cascade, unfurling sight upon sight from the tallest spire.


Audrey Herren - Cello
Andra Kulan - Violin / Viola
Andrew Morgan - Guitar / Piano

Recorded summer 2012 and spring 2014, Chicago, Illinois / spring 2015, Lawrence, Kansas.
Mixed and Mastered by Matt LaPoint.
Release Date: 22 September 2017.

Image: Place de la Concorde, Paris, France (viewfinder card from Morgan family archives).

Sunday, August 20, 2017

Prologue

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When it was all over, I would walk down 57th Street, cut down Blackstone Avenue to 55th, and make my way to Promontory Point – known simply as “The Point” to Hyde Parkers, and something of a secret spot where the children of university professors were rumored to take LSD, a drug no longer particularly fashionable in the early 2000’s but perhaps of enduring local interest for sharing an acronym with the very Lake Shore Drive that separated the “The Point” from the rest of the neighborhood.  LSD on LSD.  Layers of meaning – a penchant shared with academic parents educated in the 1960s.


I went to “The Point” to look out across Lake Michigan, its vastness so incomprehensible to my Kansas eyes that I would sometimes refer to it as “the ocean” in conversation, eliciting the ridicule of Chicagoans and outing myself as an outsider.  But that was what I loved most of all about the lake – that it could alter perspective, play tricks on the mind, conjure the California coast on an Illinois plain.  And I needed a portal to California, a way to access all that had happened in the preceding eleven months.

Jesse Henkensiefken - Cello
Michalis Koutsoupides - Violin / Viola

Recorded spring 2003, Lawrence, Kansas.
Mixed and Mastered by Matt LaPoint.
Original Release Date: 6 June 2004 (Broken Horse).

Image: unknown (viewfinder card from Morgan family archives).

Friday, August 11, 2017

William's Song

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1970's kitchen linoleum at sunrise, peering out into the meadow through the screen door, John Coltrane's "Wise One" on repeat.  William came into our lives in the springtime, a sprawling sphinx among smaller creatures, spanning city centers.  Shimmies, scrambles, spontaneous rises into aerial displays of happiness, reminding us that there are galaxies, however vast or infinitesimal.

Alex Doolittle - Drums / Congas
Audrey Herren - Cello (support)
John McMahon - Cello (main)
Andrew Morgan - Guitar / Piano / Harpsichord / Harmonium / Mellotron / Triangle / Feedback
Anne Schneller - Violin
Chris Shaw - Upright Bass
Erin Wood - Harp

Recorded spring and summer 2016, Lawrence, Kansas // Boise, Idaho.
Mixed and Mastered by Matt LaPoint.
Released 22 September 2017.

Image: "Pike's Peak through the Gateway of the Garden of the Gods, Colorado" (viewfinder card from Morgan family archives).

Saturday, August 5, 2017

LYON - TRAILS

Coming on the 2017 autumnal equinox: LYON - TRAILS.  

01. William's Song
02. Prologue
03. Fourvière (II)
04. Parc de la Tête d'Or (II)
05. Leaves (III)
06. For a Little While
07. Granville
08. Rising
09. Portent
10. First Light, Stoneback Drive
11. Darkening 

Preview the album here.

Friday, August 4, 2017

Nocturama

Released on the 2017 summer solstice, Nocturama is a split EP featuring two Andrew Morgan pop songs and two LYON instrumentals.  

Listen to opening track "Solarium," which features lyrics by poet Candice Wuehle and has twice been aired on Gideon Coe's BBC Radio 6 Music show.  

For more on LYON, read a write-up by Tired Sounds on the instrumental music project's debut.

Listening: Art Farmer - To Sweden With Love (1964).

Tuesday, July 25, 2017

Solarium on BBC Radio 6 Music

"Solarium," the opening track from the Andrew Morgan // LYON summer solstice split EP Nocturama was played by Gideon Coe on his BBC Radio 6 Music show on Thursday June 22 and Tuesday July 18.  Listen to the song -- music by Andrew & lyrics by poet Candice Wuehle -- here.

Monday, July 24, 2017

LYON - MoonStone


Please enjoy "MoonStone" -- the closing track on the AM // LYON summer solstice split EP Nocturama.  The video features footage of the moon taken by Apollo 12 in November 1969, and the Jorge Luis Borges poem "The Moon" (1960):


Tuesday, March 21, 2017

PRESENTING: LYON // Favorite Instrumental Works 1888 - 2014


With the release of LYON on the first day of spring 2017, I wanted to share some of my favorite instrumental works, spanning from 1888 to 2014.  Click on the links below to enjoy the music on YouTube:

Erik Satie - Trois Gymnopédies (1888)

Claude Debussy -  Nuages (1899)

Maurice Ravel - String Quartet in F Major (1903)

Johnny Smith Quintet - Moonlight in Vermont (1956)

Duke Ellington - Indigos (1958)

Miles Davis - Kind of Blue (1959)

John Coltrane - My Favorite Things (1961)

Wes Montgomery - Bumpin' (1965)

Wayne Shorter - Adam's Apple (1966)

Antonio Carlos Jôbim - Wave (1967)

Andrés Segovia - España (1968)

David Axelrod - Songs of Innocence (1968)

Arthur Verocai - Arthur Verocai (1972)

Mulatu Astatke - Éthiopiques 4 (1974)

Air - Premiers Symptômes (1997)

Boards of Canada - In a Beautiful Place Out in the Country (2000)

Yann Tiersen - Amélie (2001)

Alberto Iglesias - Tinker Tailor Soldier Spy (2011)

Alexandre Desplat - The Grand Budapest Hotel (2014)

Wednesday, January 11, 2017

Grey Light of the Season (US)


I'm pleased to announce a reissue:

Written across a Massachusetts autumn, Grey Light of the Season is a work of suspended animation -- of vanishing into October twilight.  Kindred in spirit to the more darkly enchanted folk of the 1960s, but wandering where it will, the album is a transportive Polaroid from Fall past and present.


The gestation period of the recordings was remarkably uncomplicated, with sessions taking place on weekday afternoons at makeshift studios in and around Lawrence, Kansas in fall 2009 and spring 2010.  Contributing overdubs via satellite were Laura Jane Scott (harp, vocals) of Los Angeles and John McMahon (cello) of Boise, Idaho.


Completed in August 2010, the album received its first proper release in February 2011 -- in two-volume, 23-track form -- on the Moorworks record label of Japan, where songs from the album were first played live in Tokyo, Sendai, and Yamagata in June and July 2008.


The U.S. reissue condenses the Japan edition, pairing 9 tracks from volume I with 3 tracks from volume II and 3 new instrumentals.  It will be released on the first full moon of 2017.

Cosmic Trigger Records