Last year David Rothenberg released a recording called Whale Music, which explored the sonic richness of these great beasts’ music and language, live in the ocean and in the studio. Tape Op called it “beautiful and musical…” The Telegraph said it “pushed the barriers between human history and natural history. The Chronogram called it “a new genre of world music! The didgeridoo tonality of humpbacks or capoeira beats of sperm whales may hint at foreign sources from which our own species’ musical culture was invented.” All About Jazz New York gave the album its award for Best Cover of the Year 2008.
This year he sent copies of this record to some of the world’s finest electronic musicians, with hopes that they might do great things with such unusual material. The contributors come from the far corners of the Earth, making music of many kinds, all infused with the depth and wonder of the songs of whales.
DJ Spooky is an internationally known DJ and conceptual artist, who has worked with all kinds of artist from Xenakis to the Wu-Tang Clan. Markus Reuter has worked with Robert Fripp and is the founder of the Centrozoon. 3Corners of the World is David Rothenberg and Estonian guitar alchemist Robert Jürjendal. British sound artist Scanner has worked with Laurie Anderson, Radiohead, and the Bolshoi Ballet. He even composed an anthem for the European Union. Drummer Stephen Chopek has played with Leon Parker and Alana Davis. The White Sea Shamans convened once by the White Sea in Karelia, and we do not know if they will ever meet again. Gari Saarimaki lives in an abandoned schoolhouse on a Finnish island. Mira Calix was a pioneer in IDM, and has recently been composing operas out of insect sounds. Lukas Ligeti’s music is a unique fusion of acoustic and electronic, traditional and avantgarde, Occidental, African, and other influences. Cycle Hiccups resides in Petrozavodsk, which is a very nice place. Warren Burt is a major figure in the global avant-garde. His piece includes the voice of John Lilly, speaking from the beyond. Strings of Consciousness is the brainchild of BipHop producer Philip Petit. Francisco López is one of the most prolific electronic artists ever, with hundreds of albums to his credit, many composed out of environmental sounds. Ben Neill plays a mutantrumpet with two bells. Robert Rich is one of founding figures of dark ambient, tribal, and trance music.
Two pure whale recordings are included for listeners’ own remixing pleasure, belugas from Russia’s white sea, and one lone male humpback off the shore of Maui smack in the middle of mating season.
A portion of the proceeds from this recording will benefit the Whalesong Project, which broadcasts humpback whale sounds live from Hawaii over the internet, www.whalesong.net
Producer David Rothenberg has performed and recorded with Jan Bang, Glen Velez, Karl Berger, Peter Gabriel, Ray Phiri, and the Karnataka College of Percussion. He has seven CDs out under his own name, including "On the Cliffs of the Heart," named one of the top ten releases of 1995 by Jazziz magazine. His first CD on ECM Records, a duet album with pianist Marilyn Crispell, will appear in 2009. He is the author of Why Birds Sing, book and CD, published in seven languages and the subject of a BBC television documentary, and Thousand Mile Song, on making music with whales.
His previous CDs Whale Music, Soo Roo, Sudden Music, and Why Birds Sing are also available from CD Baby.