1991+30: Indigo Pool

“Indigo Pool” is the first song from my 1991 DIY cassette album ōo, in my lo-fi, high-concept early period. The song was composed as it was recorded, layer by layer, beginning with the rhythmic pattern in 11/8 played on two empty plastic water cooler bottles anchored by an abandoned ride cymbal I found in the cluttered basement of the apartment I was living in at the time. Next, I added the synth patterns and fades — all live to recording without programming, software assists or editing — creating a spacey, minimalist, Lydian mode texture. I also worked without notation, which was typical for me at the time as a self-taught musician who played by ear.

The text was an obscure communication to myself and fellow artists, in a rugged, childlike vocal performance. I still made songs the same way I had as a teenager, in that I didn’t rehearse beyond the testing of word sounds and vocal ranges (which usually doubled as a recording sound check), and made as few takes as possible. Once I had the general idea captured, I moved on and called it a tune, wobbly bits and all.

Composed and recorded November 1991, remixed April 1992
4-track cassette recorder, Yahama DX-27, percussion, voice
Cassette mixdown transferred to digital 2017, unmastered

Photo: cassette inlay designed by the composer

Music and composer’s notes copyright Bruce A. Russell 2021

By elmahboob

Bruce A. Russell aka Ibrahim El Mahboob (b. Kingston, ON, 1968) is a composer and self-taught pianist living and working in Toronto (Tkarón:to, the traditional territory of many nations including the Mississaugas of the Credit, the Anishnabeg, the Chippewa, the Haudenosaunee and the Wendat). He studied at York University with James Tenney and Phillip Werren. He has composed music for the Madawaska String Quartet, Modern Times Stage Company, McMaster Dancers and choreographers Pam Johnson and Tracy Renee Stafford. Interest in his work increased in 2020, with performances by Arraymusic, Prism Percussion, Second Note Duo, San Juan Symphony and Idaho Falls Symphony. He was host of Radio Music Gallery, and has written for Musicworks and I Care if You Listen. His interests are in 20th and 21st century concert music especially postminimalism, and music of the African diaspora including notated and non-notated forms. He is a parent of three and is employed in the financial sector.

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