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Messages - MatthewJHarris

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Absolutely, Brian.

I just received this in the mail on Friday.  It's been so long since there has been a release from James and I treasure the various Cube CDs I have, so I was really looking forward to this.  My feeling is that James has been one of the best at long or short-form, seemingly "organic", gorgeous environments.  Not simply droney, but subtle, quiet, and beautiful.  My six-year old daughter often falls asleep to his Cubes and not everything fits that bill.  His being dormant has seemed a shame.  I have also been familiar with and impressed by McWilliams' music so the pairing was promising.   

The first thing I noticed was the very attractive and tasteful packaging.  But beautiful packaging will annoy me in the end if the music doesn't live up to it.

Happily, the music is wonderful.  This music is varied. At times it is benevolent, lighter, and gorgeous.  At other times it has a darkness, a doubt, a discomfort.  But be clear, while these tracks clearly can challenge the listener in ways, it is never difficult to listen to.  Even in the darker sections it is beautiful, not jarring, and very listenable.  While most ambient music is created by single musicians I think this CD is a testament to the benefits of collaboration.  It feels more rounded, it feels like someone was there to cover the blind spots of each musician.

This is not a retreading of the earlier work of either musician.  The sound of the disc as a whole feels like a clear statement of intention to do something new, but it is still familiar.  With the tremendous quantity of ambient music available, I find that there is a small percentage that I really, really value.  This will certainly be in that category.       

Other Ambient (and related) Music / Gordon Danis Passes Away
« on: June 10, 2008, 07:01:00 PM »
Gordon Danis passed away mid-May.

Many on this forum knew Gordon as a friend, promoter, or as a music enthusiast.

I knew Gordon for the last seven years.  I had made a CD and was selling it through my website and through  I did not sell a lot of CDs by any stretch but as anyone trying to sell CDs in this genre knows, your customers will come from anywhere.  I was amazed to get orders to send CDs to countries like Croatia.  Two weeks after sending a CD to France my next order was from much closer.  It was from some guy named Gordon who lived two short blocks away from me.  What amazed me about this was that whether it was France, or down the block, it was all via Internet and Gordon had no idea I was two blocks away.  I grabbed the CD, wrote a note to him mentioning how near I lived, took a short walk, and dropped the disc in his mailbox.  Gordon's feedback was honest whether positive or negative and I relied on his opinion many times as a worked on my music.

Anyone who knew Gordon would know what an enthusiast he was.  At first I thought it was just ambient music and I thought, "this guy is nuts about ambient music".  But in time I understood that he was like this about many many kinds of music.  I thought I had eclectic taste but I really could hardly find music to talk about that he wasn't already aware of.  It was always a pleasure to talk with Gordon about music.  He could speak insightfully and eloquently about it.  Between email and phone conversations I had someone that I could talk endlessly to about music the way I could with few.  He was most enthusiastic about jazz, a genre that somehow I just never got interested in.  He never lost hope however that he could introduce me to jazz that I would love.   

It wasn't just music though.  Gordon was open and spoke about his relationships, his family, and his health.  Gordon had a daughter and when my own daughter was born prematurely in 2006 he was quite encouraging and thoughtful about my situation.  Later he vicariously shared in the progress my daughter made.  Ofcourse, Gordon was Gordon and he always had a recommendation for music that would help a baby fall asleep, or keep them that way.

We did some fun things together.  We attended a James Johnson performance at Jim Cole's house where Gordon was really in his element talking music with like-minded people and eating great food prepared by Jim Cole's family.  We were on-air with Scott Raymond for his Secret Music show in Poughkeepsie, New York.  We even shopped for a car for Gordon together.  I took on the sort of bad cop-like skeptical customer role.  I think that Gordon appreciated this until I announced to the dealer that I thought the dealer was trying to screw us, got up, and said that we were leaving.  I don't think Gordon was happy with me about it but he was nice about it anyway.  Though, he didn't ask me take him car shopping again.

Anyway, I thought it was odd that I hadn't heard from him in a few weeks.  My daughter attends day care in the house next to the one in which he lived.  It came up in conversation with the day care provider yesterday that the man next door had died unexpectedly in his forties and was found in his apartment a few weeks ago.  Gordon had many health issues and my wife knew right away that it was him.  This was sad news.  Gordon had unfinished business.  There were things he wanted to let people know, rifts he wanted to mend, people he wanted to see again, fun he wanted to have, and a lot of music he wanted to hear.  We'll miss him.   


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