A homegrown product of the Pacific Northwest, Anna Schaad's music is an orchestral, rhythmic, and emotional experience. Diverging from the celtic-blues fusion of her first three releases, Dream Within a Dream explores world groove, pop, blues, and experimental genres. It is an ambient, spacious, symphonic experience that takes the listener into a relaxing world of sound.
"My influences for this project were the sampling, looping qualities of Moby, and the expansive, "chill out" world grooves of the Buddah Bar collection. I used sounds from around the world, including Tibetan Monks, recordings of thunder storms, rain, wind, children's laughter, the Jet my husband flies taking off, and Naval aviators talking over Whidbey island... I incorporated down tempo, hypnotic beats and combined them with string sections, cool synth pads, and the remarkable sounds of Canadian percussionist Lauri Lyster. Of course the connecting threads are the lyrical voices of my acoustic and electric violins."
The title track "Dream Within a Dream," is based on the poem by Edgar Allen Poe, and speaks to the dream-like quality our lives can possess.
"I lost a very close friend to ovarian cancer last year. The 18 months of her illness was actually a remarkable time; I got to spend a lot of time with her, as well as close friends and family. It was a little lifetime in and of itself. She had a huge impact on my life. Now that she has passed away, the 16 years that I knew her seems like a dream. Poe's words spoke to me and ended up being the theme of the album;
Take this kiss upon the brow!
And, in parting from you now,
Thus much let me avow-
You are not wrong, who deem
That my days have been a dream;
Yet if hope has flown away
In a night, or in a day,
In a vision, or in none,
Is it therefore the less gone?
All that we see or seem
Is but a dream within a dream.
I stand amid the roar
Of a surf-tormented shore,
And I hold within my hand
Grains of the golden sand-
How few! yet how they creep
Through my fingers to the deep,
While I weep- while I weep!
O God! can I not grasp
Them with a tighter clasp?
O God! can I not save
One from the pitiless wave?
Is all that we see or seem
But a dream within a dream?
-Edgar Allen Poe
The "grains of the golden sand" do seem to slip through our fingers. How do we hold onto what is precious? We cannot. We can only recognize the extraordinary qualities of life and really be present to appreciate them."
The song "And Then She Flew" is an orchestral piece about the morning that Anna's friend passed away;
"She chose to leave at dawn on the Summer Solstice. We all knew she was hanging on for that; she wanted to make it to the longest day of the year, which was a time of special significance for her. It was a very cathartic process for me, composing that piece - I would have to say it was the most healing thing that I did after her death. The piece just gripped me and wouldn't let go. It is a powerful piece about the moments before a person completely lets go and walks into the light. It has all the emotions I imagine one would feel at that moment - ecstacy, longing, regret, illumination, courage, forgiveness... It is also very special because her husband recorded harmonium on the song, which is a beautiful Indian instrument that he played constantly throughout her illness. I am hoping this song will be healing for people going through the loss of a loved one."
The album also reflects on Schaad's experience as the wife of a Navy pilot with songs like "Flyboy Lullaby," "Miss U," and "Seven Months."
"My husband is a naval aviator based out of Whidbey Island - and the experience of becoming a Navy wife has been a big event in my life! This past year he was deployed on the USS Lincoln for Seven Months - the song I wrote about that has our kitchen clock ticking in the beginning and sets the tempo for the piece.
There is a depth that evolves in a relationship when you endure that kind of separation. My respect and admiration for the families of the men and women in our armed forces has grown tremendously. I really had no idea what these families were dealing with and going through. Lots of my navy wife friends have kids - and they raise those kids for months at a time like a single parent. That is no easy task. There is so much devotion, patience, and commitment on both sides of that. When I got home after saying "see you later" to him (pilots never say goodbye), the kitchen clock was ticking louder than I had ever heard it. I was just screwing up my courage to face those seven months, yawning out before me, with a good attitude. The first six weeks after they leave are always the hardest."
"One of my favorite songs on the album is "Flyboy Lullaby" When I was in college I used to work and hike up in the North Cascades, and occasionally an EA6-B Prowler would go screaming pass, flying a low level. The noise was deafening, the experience was intense. It makes me laugh at how that sound has transformed for me. Now when I see those planes, I think of the person inside flying it. It might be my husband, or someone we know. The sound is now as gentle as a lullaby! My husband talks a lot about all the intensity of carrier based flying - what it's like to land on a carrier at night in rolling seas... but there is also the component of soaring over huge cumulus clouds, when everything is going right, and you are in a place of peace - the melody is my vision of them soaring up there, banking over huge, towering cumulus clouds."
This album is for my Flyboy, best friend, husband - Jeff Montgomery - who is the greatest dream come true in my life.
Special Thanks to Lynn Murphy, who mentored me on this project, my "sound guru" and great friend.
Thanks also to Dan and Tereva Paris, Heather Othmer, Jody Bergsma, Stelly Zerangue, Dorothy Smith, my wonderful students, friends, and family for their support and encouragement.
All songs written and arranged by Anna Schaad cp2009, except fiddle tune in "Wash Over Me" trad. all rights reserved
Recorded by Anna Schaad in Anacortes and Bellingham, Washington
Produced by Anna Schaad
production consulting by Lynn Murphy
Mixed at Charleston Sound Studios by Jeff Hodges,
pre-production assistant Joey Cox
Mastered at Euphonic Masters by Brad Blackwood
Graphic Design, Web Design Bob Paltrow
photography Nicki Bailey
Anna Schaad electric and acoustic violin, viola, all midi keyboard generated instruments, field recordings, drum loops and samples with exception of sound files listed below.
Lauri Lyster percussion: udu, bongo, tar, djembe, dumbek, rattles, bells, chimes, bowls, cabasa, maraka, tamborine, shekere, guiro, clave' (all tracks except #8)
Doug Rehfeldt electric bass (# 2,3,4,7,9,10,11)
Matt Rehfeldt cello (# 1,4,7,8)
David MacVittie flute, harmonium (#5 & 9)
Hill Hudsen beat boxing (#1&10)
Hadley Frazier vocal (#7)
Gail Smedley zills (#1)
The following sound files from Freesound (http://www.freesound.org) were used, as listed. "Miss U" uses Midwife Toads by aclivity (13543_aclivity_midwifetoads3) "Dream Within a Dream" uses a recording of Edgar Allen Poe's poem by fiatknox (52626_fiatknox_A_Dream_Within_A_Dream_Poe) Angel Oak uses a windy forest recording by dobride (33196_dobride_20070325.windy.forest.stereo.02) "And then She Flew" uses a water sound by pushtobreak (17760), windy forest by dobride (33196) bagpipes by daveincamas (26123) Tibet uses Tibetan chants by DJgriffin (15488, 15362) heartbeat by greyseraphim (21409) bells by ivanbailey (37646), kerri (27421), djgriffin (15041), and Uncle Sigmund (35045); tibetan bowls by hanstimm (15631) and suburban grilla (2166); child's laughter by Noise Collector, village laughter by Acclivity (30133) Himalayn chimes by niyabhushan (23538), wilderness hillside by Arctura (38929) "Mermaid" uses angel sounds by ERH (29589) bubbles by Rhedcerulean (31432) "Flyboy Lullaby" uses F18 banking overhead by digifishmusic (29541) "Wash Over Me" uses a thunderstorm by RHumphries (2523) and cat purr by freedomrhodes (31540) "Jeux d'Amour" uses rain by ingeos (8100). www.freesound.org
Anna plays an acoustic violin by Dorothy Smith, a five string electric viola by Stephen Owsley Smith with a Zeta stratos pickup system, a NS Designs electric five string violin. This project was recorded on a Protools LE system using Reason 4.1 rewired for all Midi instruments.
For more information go to www.annaschaad.com