Sunrise from the Bottom of the Sea (Homage to Jimi Hendrix)

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for electric guitar and pre-recorded accompaniment
duration: 15'
first performance: 29 April 2005; Taplin Auditorium, Princeton, NJ; Andrew McKenna Lee, electric guitar
availability: score for sale
recording: Solar Electric (SSR002-2009)


Sunrise From the Bottom of the Sea – for live, electric guitar and pre-recorded accompaniment – is an homage to Jimi Hendrix. More specifically, it is a response to the song Are You Experienced, first released on the album by the same name in 1967.

The accompaniment part of Sunrise was performed and recorded in my home studio, using only instruments that I had at my immediate disposal. These included a set of 16, tuned crystal glasses; soprano and alto recorders; glockenspiel; viola; Appalachian mountain dulcimer; electric guitar; electric bass; steel string and nylon string guitars; African djembe and udu drums; and a 16 inch frame drum. A sample, taken from the last note of the song Are You Experienced, and an occasional passage for reversed, pitch-shifted glockenspiel are the only “truly” electronically manipulated aspects of the accompaniment part. When creating the piece, I would record improvised phrases on different instruments – one phrase would suggest another, and from these I would just keep improvising, recording, and adding things. In short, I would let the process of improvising take me where it would.

In retrospect, the piece is cast as a kind of “psychedelic, prog-rock fantasy concerto.” The solo part is at times pitted in relief against the accompaniment, and at other times subsumed within the overall musical texture as a member of the ensemble. Towards the end, there is a brief “cadenza” based on Hendrix's solo from Are You Experienced, followed by a “finale.”