In late Spring of this year, I was preparing to build an art installation at the Burning Man art festival. Dave approached me with the idea of creating an ambient music project based on our installation. I knew this would not be an easy undertaking: our project was based on the wild-but-true story of Saint Simeon Stylites, the original pillar sitter. Simeon lived atop a pillar in the Syrian desert for 39 years. He was considered the madman of the desert - a strict ascetic to whom popes sent their emissaries for wisdom and guidance. But Simeon also sought the desolation of the desert for peace and solitude. All these elements, taken together, make for a variegated and complex story. Fast-forward a few weeks later, when Dave presented me with this work. A live performance was held at The Vault in Downtown Salem, MA, where he premiered "Music From The Pillars of the Saints" for the first time. Upon hearing the opening aural landscape of "Playa: Sunrise", I knew almost immediately that Dave had nailed it. As I closed my eyes and listened intently, it was as if I could feel dawn breaking over the horizon - a desert dawn I am quite familiar with, having grown up in the California desert in the days of my youth. From "Playa: Sunrise" to "Listening For The Voice of God" I found I was caught in the rapture of what it must have been like for that 5th-Century Christian mystic, asking the peace of God to come to him amidst the wilderness of the Syrian desert. As the concert was nearing its end an hour later, I experienced a sense of refreshment; not unlike what a wandering Nomad might experience after coming upon the sea, following a long and arduous journey. The closing track, "Oasis (In A Barren Desert)" became a brilliant summation of that feeling, as its gentle ringing tones and cascading ocean noises washed over me. With this album, Dave has accomplished the rather difficult task of expressing both the commitment and reward of conscious, disciplined meditation: listening for the voice of God to transform both an awareness of and gratitude for our existence. I like to think that even St. Simeon himself is smiling and nodding his approval, as he looks down from heaven.
Pastor Phil Wyman, The Gathering church - Salem, MA
November 24, 2011
David Gerard: analog, digital and virtual synthesis, singing bowl, percussion and field recordings
Recorded at Studio B106 and The Vault, Salem, MA
Mastered at Studio B106 by David Gerard
David would like to thank: Dave Borden and Steve Drews, SomaFM, Vic Varney, Al Houghton, Jere Faison, M-Audio, Ableton Live, Akai APC20, Neil Jacobsen, The Vault, and a warm bear hug to Pastor Phil Wyman for his love and continued support.....hosannas, bro!