The environmentally sensitive colony at Sea Ranch was conceived in the early 1960s as a place where people could live lightly on the land, honoring the philosophy of the Native Americans who once inhabited the area. Structures are required to blend into the natural setting and minimize the visual and physical impact on the landscape. Houses are scattered throughout meadows of native grasses and stands of pine and cypress in an eight-mile stretch of land that sits snugly between the bluffs and mountains of the Coast Range. Its year-round population is pegged at 280, but the population swells in the summer with itinerant vacationers. Still, it never feels crowded. Now, in the midst of winter, it was virtually deserted. At night, the darkness was penetrated by no lights from other houses. It was the perfect environment for staying up past midnight, rain splattering on the windows, the house filled with the sound of new music.
Andre had come up with the ideas for each of the songs in the weeks prior, giving us a rough draft of the rhythm and musical elements. We brought a set of mixers and speakers and a portable Korg D888 digital recording unit — pretty basic. Accompanied by the rain tapping on the roof, we spent day and night recording 12 songs with titles such as “Eye of Horus” and “The River Nile.” We played through each of the new songs two or three times, letting the shape of the song emerge through our improvisation. Three of the songs we had been playing on our tour a couple of months earlier, including our first collaborative effort, “Nefertiti,” a song which we created in the same spontaneous way from one of Andre’s bass lines.
Nefertiti – performed by Gemini Soul
Queen Nefertiti was chief consort of the pharoah Akhenaten some 3,350 years ago, a woman of great beauty who enjoyed unprecedented power, perhaps even ruling Egypt for a short time following the death of Akhenaten. The royal couple attempted to replace the traditional religion with something new. They did away with the panoply of gods and goddesses and established a religion based around worship of the life force energy embodied in the sun. Unsurprisingly, they encountered great resistance from the priests of the traditional religion.
Our vision is to bring something new to contemporary music, re-imagining the original spirit of jazz centered on rhythm and improvisation. Alex kept quoting a scene from “Jurassic Park,” the one where somebody tries to access the computer but doesn’t know the security code and is taunted by the degenerate programmer’s recorded message: “Uh-uh-UH, you didn’t say the magic word.” That’s what it feels like as we try to make our path in the music industry.
The drive to Sea Ranch, along Hwy. 1, is winding and, in places, treacherous. The road hugs precipitous cliffs above a wild sea. Rockslides and erosion are regular occurrences; in fact, a couple of repairs were taking place during our stay, the road reduced to one lane with traffic control in two stretches. The journey is not easy, but the destination is worth it. Tuesday afternoon, the skies cleared between storms. The winter sun, low on the horizon, cast a golden glow across the landscape.