Harley Gaber - I Saw My Mother Ascending Mount Fuji
This 1 track, 1 hour + piece is an interpretation of old work layered with new insight. Ambient composer Harley Gaber uses those pieces, incorporated with new sounds, to form "I Saw My Mother Ascending Mount Fuji," a moving ode to loss and memory. Dedicated both to a brother he lost to suicide around the time of the original pieces, and to his more recently departed mother, it is one of the rare ambient, instrument-manipulated tracks that is saturated with emotion.
The two earlier compositions, "Chimyaku" (a 1968 work for alto flute) and 1972's "Michi" (for violin) are blended with processed tape and carefully placed multi-track violin overdubs.
"Chimyaku" is slowed to half the tempo of the original composition, and used in the first section, its haunting, deliberately-paced flute setting the emotional tone. For "Michi," Gaber overlays uses processed violin on the original tape, which was marred by age and left hisses where the silence once was. For Gaber, the silence was the most important component of the piece; here the added violin manages to draw out that silence, framing and illuminating it. Together, both compositions form a linear, meditative tone that vibrates with understated grief and acceptance.
In a searching, moving final section, full of vibrato and resonance, extended tones and various vocal pitches, gradually taming and fading out.
"I Saw My Mother Ascending Mount Fuji" is the definition of Deep Listening. Harley Gaber mines his past, both musical and emotional, for assistance with present loss. He explores loss as universal and personal, allowing the listener to place his own grief inside the music and let it go.
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