Neon Egypt - Unusual Improvised Intuitive Jazz and World Fusion Music, with Haiku Poetry and audiophile downloads




Neon Egypt - Unusual Improvised Intuitive Jazz and World Fusion Music, with Haiku Poetry and audiophile downloads

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3 or 5 of Neon Egypt's most popular songs as Audiophile Quality mp3s, plus a printable full-color CD booklet, all as a single download.


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Tabula Rasa and The Evolution of Neon Egypt's Music

Neon Egypt's departure from mainstream jazz began in 1992 when percussionist Steven Miller and 8-string guitarist Ron Thompson formed the performance art collaborative Tabula Rasa (from the Latin meaning literally "erased tablet", or more colloquially, "blank slate") along with artists Harrison Goldberg, saxophone, and Troy Silveira, keyboards.  This four piece ensemble undertook an intentional regimen of mental and musical exercises designed to reach beyond the players' past programming as jazz musicians, and augment it with the pure ability to create - by inspiration as it were - through attentive, intuitive listening. (See Intuitive Music)  Each weekly session was recorded and copies distributed for review to the participants the following week.

Tabula Rasa - From left: Steven Miller, Ron Thompson, dancer Layne Russell, Harrison Goldberg.  Keyboardist Troy Silveira is not visible in this photo.  Oil Paintings by Basil Dean. The earliest experiments utilized graphical and symbolic notation for "concept" pieces.  The results were generally hesitant and awkward, as the musicians struggled to escape their usual and familiar chordal and rhythmic jazz frameworks and patterns of playing, while attempting to create something unknown, something truly fresh.
At some point it was recognized that the conceptual designs themselves, being based in thought, constituted impediments to the intuitive process, and they were dropped in favor of silence (which is how each session was begun) and pure listening. 

As the players continued to develop their sensitivities week by week, new, more natural "patterns" began to emerge and assert themselves. For example, the four players found that even in the absence of any conceptual framework they would consistently create music that had apparent, albeit perhaps unconventional, structure. Diverse thirty-five to forty minute pieces would often materialize that had three or more clearly defined movements, each with a discernable beginning, middle, and end.  As all sessions were recorded, this structure became more evident upon review.

While the work of refined listening progressed, a continual stream of new musical information began to flow through and inform these flexible movements, seemingly regulating itself in some unknown manner, so that the players would each fully exercise their creative contributions, and yet all somehow end up in the same musical "place" consistently. Previous constraints such as time signature and key signature became essentially irrelevant, as the musicians began to play in unusual, mixed scales and rhythms. Pure, coordinated inspiration became the new glue holding the pieces together. It was always apparent when a particular musical piece was complete, and the players would reach a natural ending and simply stop playing, at once.

The fruit of these years of musical experiment and growth are now represented in Neon Egypt, a continuing collaboration of two of the original members of Tabula Rasa. Neon Egypt's music revisits certain sound-forms and characteristics of jazz, yet is fully and spontaneously improvised, and recorded live without overdubs or retakes.