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about

This album is a compilation from the January 2013 California house concert tour with Steve Lawson and Daniel Berkman. I organized the tour for Steve and Daniel, and joined them each night as a special guest for a song or two. The songs on this album are my favorites of the pieces I sat in on.

Until this tour, I'd never before done improvisation in a live performance setting. Music writing is of course an improvisational process - I've done a fair bit of that, and I've done some improv in informal settings with musical friends. But this was something else entirely. At our first gig in Altadena, when Steve and Daniel invited me up to sit in at the end of the night, I was both excited and terrified. So much so that when I opened my mouth to sing, I could hear my voice trembling. That feeling of throwing oneself off a cliff and having no idea what might come next - I was hooked. Apparently I'm an adrenalin junkie...

My approach to live improv evolved as we went along to each of these gigs. Since I'm a vocalist, beyond melody there are words to consider...I would sometimes draw on lyrics from songs I've already written - sometimes mixing up lyrics from different songs in one piece. Sometimes I'd ditch words and just vocalize. I'd also write things down that inspired me along the road, and bring those bits along to a gig - of course, I had to be ready to throw any preconceived notions out the window, as I never knew what might or might not work with the sounds emerging. But often, as seems to be the case with the forces of synchronicity, what I'd bring would flow rather seamlessly with the music Steve and Daniel were playing, as if we'd discussed beforehand what might happen. Which of course was never the case. Most of our conversation happened onstage.

What intrigues me and draws me to continue exploring improvisation is a chance it offers to get very quickly to some deep places in ourselves and in musical conversation. It requires taking risks, putting ourselves on the line, and being very present in the moment. No rehearsal, no polish, just your vocabulary, your ears, and willingness to listen and leap. It's exhilarating and I love the surprise of discovering what emerges in the context of each conversation, and what I learn along the way.

I also feel incredibly lucky to have the chance to delve into this vein of musical expression with two artists as gifted and empathic and Daniel and Steve. Very much looking forward to our future gigs and collaborations.

More soon...

credits

released November 26, 2013

Steve Lawson - fretless bass, effects, looping of bass & vocals
Daniel Berkman - kora, gravikord, electric sitar, keys, gadgets, looping
Artemis - vocals
Mixed and mastered by Steve Lawson
Album cover art by Steven Nakamura, created live at the concert at Preston's in Foothill Ranch, California - three cheers for improv music-art co-creativity :)

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Artemis San Francisco

Spectral keyboard washes and sinuous dance beats set up a feeling of warm alienation while Artemis’s voice heats things further. Over the thump and shimmer, she croons with detached fervor, the music dissolving in a storm of pixie-dust disco until a rude riot of effects snaps the tether and she vanishes. ... more

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Track Name: Invocation
feel it in your body
something getting into you
feel it in your heart
just might move you
to begin something
begin again
Track Name: Little Ray of Light
question mark in your mind
little ray of light
tendril unfurl
spiral unwind
not looking for answers
just loving the question
just loving the question
like a book unopened
in an ancient language
a friend you've never met
sending a message
saying come home
come home
you've been here all along

looking up to the stars
question mark in your mind
little ray of light
Track Name: For Now
can't pull the world over my eyes
got no splinter in my mind
could you be anyone
anyone
you leave the message for me
written in street signs
lit up like neon
like only you can turn 'em on
cock crows at the break of day
sometimes in the afternoon
just because he feels that way
just because he feels it too
supernatural love
supernatural

the disease of this trust
is mended by the silver light of silence
and the blue of a boyhood sky
river's flowing backwards
like the child of a wandering mind
slippery with forgetting
feeling fine
for now i walk beside you
for now i walk beside you
i study the method of resurrection
state of grace my prize possession
living like lovers do
nothing can harm you
for now i walk beside you
for now i walk beside you
for now
Track Name: Pale Blue Dot
look again at that pale blue dot
that's here that's home that's us
everyone you've ever loved
everyone who ever was
all our joys
all our sorrows
all our wars
and celebrations
everything we destroy
all our creations
brothers and lovers
every hopeful child
heroes inventors
shepherds and kings
dance across a speck of dust
suspended in a sunbeam
all our rivers of blood
spilled by momentary masters
of a fraction of a dot
from their halls of alabaster
on a tiny stage
cosmic dark enveloping
oh who will come
to save us from ourselves
only human kindness
there's nowhere to go
look again at that pale blue dot
only home we've ever known
Track Name: From the Moon
i ascend from the moon
i ascend from the night
to swim the endless fluid freedom
to find my delight
wide as the ocean
where it kisses the sky
love's pure water
fountain of life
under the waves
dreaming
every molecule of me
rearranging
it's a chemical reaction
i can't hide
my resistance is low
volatiilty on the rise
like a fountain of life
i ascend from the moon
Track Name: Already Flying
just inside the skin of this bubble i'm in
all sensation
smooth and warm and slippery to the touch
and the taste in my mouth as i
breathe in and out
clouds of flowers and stars
every kiss whispers its message
every touch poses its riddle
like a sphinx at the gate of the garden
saying who do you think you are
who do you think you are
in between these hazy dreams
i catch a glimpse
of reunion
there's nothing can stop us
we're already flying
in formation
holding pattern
hovering over our desire
in between these hazy dreams
i catch a glimpse
of reunion
just a little revolution
a hundred million year
carousel around the sun
a hundred million sons and daughters
rising and falling
dreaming their way on