Nat Bhairav (Indian Ocean)

Michael Robinson

About this work:
There are few manifestations of nature more lovely than the dawn. The pristine calm of morning has inspired the creation/discovery of some of North India's most tender ragas, including Nat Bhairav, which was the inspiration for Indian Ocean. It was a recording by the late sitarist, Nikhil Banerjee, accompanied on tabla by Anindo Chaterjee, which revealed the full beauty of this South Indian-derived raga for me. My definition of raga? "Timeless, individual melodic jewels possessing spiritual resonance and unlimited developmental potential." While listening to the opening of my newly completed composition, I had the sensation of sailing on the Indian Ocean on a fresh, sunny morning caressed by gentle breezes, thus the title. The main melodic voice for Indian Ocean is a sitar timbre. Also featured are new tabla, dholak and dhol timbres which I am using here for the first time. Departing from the particular tanpura drone used on my last four CDs, I have intertwined two different and complimentary tanpura patterns which move at different layas. For a while I debated whether to put three different tracks on the CD for the opening alap, the percussion entrance and the doubling of tempo. This would be for those occasions when the listener only wishes to hear a particular section. However, since the one-hour piece is continuous, I decided to leave it as one track, which is the most effective way to hear the gradual evolution of Indian Ocean, and my other extended pieces. After much searching for a poetic excerpt to place on the back of my new CD, I found a line from an unpublished (during his lifetime) poem by Yeats: From the waves the Sun hath reeled It is difficult to know in advance which artist will release the essence of a particular raga for me. In gratitude to Nikhil Banerjee for his gift of Nat Bhairav, I have dedicated Indian Ocean to his memory. For the first time, I have used hand woodblock printed cotton paper from India for the CD cover. All previous CDs used hand silkscreen printed papers from Japan. - Michael Robinson, June 1999, Beverly Hills © 1999 by Michael Robinson All rights reserved
Year composed: 1999
Duration: 01:00:73
Ensemble type: Electronic Instruments and Sound Sources:Live Electronic Sound Sources
Instrumentation: ,1 Computer/Laptop soloist(s), ,1 Sampler (Keyboard/Other) soloist(s)
Instrumentation notes: A computer and sound module are programmed to perform the fully notated composition in real time. Indian Ocean (Nat Bhairav) is voiced with samples of the following acoustical timbres using Indian tunings: sitar, tabla, dholak, dhol and two tanpuras.

Michael Robinson's profile »