The music from China Sea was first commissioned for a documentary on the art, craft and making of handmade paper. Filo-American artist Michael Parsons, whom I had worked with on many projects through the years, was just completing construction of a paper mill high in the mountains of Benguet Province, Northern Luzon the Philippines where life is much the same as it has been for centuries. Michael, who had become one of the foremost paper makers in the world, asked me to come to the Philippines and take in some of the local flavor and create the score for his documentary.
Before dawn of each day Michael would play his Shakuhachi to welcome the sunrise among the mist-draped mountains and lush forests that surrounded his paper mill. Local tribesmen would end the days playing their log drums and ganza (gongs) for feasts and blessings. Before I returned to California, I recorded Michael's Shakuhachi and the sounds of the local tribesmen on a cassette recorder. This would become the foundation and inspiration of the music from China Sea.
Once back in California, I began working with long-time friend and fellow writer-producer-musician Daniel Moore at his studio in Malibu, California.
We went about the recording process in reverse choosing Michael's best passages on the Shakuhachi and sampling them. Next we created compositions from those sampled Shakuhachi parts and added a very basic percussion and bass track.
Once the basic tracks were in a coherent song-form, lush synthesizer pads were added. Next guitarist Bill Horn added acoustic and electric guitars. Additional percussion was added and the native Philippine percussion recorded in the mountains.
Finally woodwind player Gordon Brisker added saxophones, flutes and clarinet over the top of the tracks as icing on the cake. The end result was a tapestry of tribal rhythms, Michael's Shakuhachi, keyboards, woodwinds and guitars.
Welcome to the music of China Sea.