Return To One
Circumvention Music CD034A/B (2001)





Return To One
Lee Elderton (woodwinds)
Ward Baxter (woodwinds)
Josh Jones (bass)
Nathan Hubbard (percussion)
with special guest Anne Whattoff (voice)

Disc 1:
All is Silent
Something Bright for a Dark Corner
Kaleidoscope Moon II
Kaleidoscope Moon III
Lonesome Tree
Connections (You Are)

Disc 2
Secrets (For Stella)
Kaleidoscope Moon I
October Calm
Bright Lights
Lonesome Tree

2 CD set with multimedia CD-ROM

purchasing - Castor&Pollux Music - Bandcamp


reviews of Return To One Firecliffs (CMCD )
"....This ensemble has no interest in sitting still…..the compositions on this CD propel the group into the extreme depths of solemnity as well as soaring to the heights of violent rapture." -- Curtis Glatter/Flexus Music
"the ambitious, excellent double-CD set Firecliffs......can be raucous and "out" or crystalline and calm, but they always display a knotty, dense and intelligent compositional point of view, as well as many opportunities for fiery excursions of improvisation." - Gene Armstrong Tucson Weekly


tech info/recording thoughts
Firecliffs was Return To Ones third recording, and the second recording of pieces based on Stella Hubbards paintings. I decided to take the concept a bit farther this time, and we ended up with a double CD of extended pieces, using overdubbing, electronics and the inclusion of voice (Anne Whattof sang on several of the tracks). The sessions for this recording range from live performances to studio recordings and overdub situations. The tracks starsong, something bright for a dark corner, kaliedoscope moon III and firecliffs were recorded at two different clubs, Galoka and Dizzy's. The drum setup was my red Tama kit (10" tom, 14" floor, 18" kick) with a 14" Ayotte snare, 13" K hihats, a 18" flatride, a 18" K crash/ride, my percussion box, a vibraphone (setup left of the hihat) and a sampler. I also substituted the frame 1 for the vibraphone on firecliffs. The kit was miked with three overheads and a kick mic placed on the back head. The tracks all is silent, lonesome tree (disc I), secrets, kaliedoscope moon I and october calm were recorded live in studio and (in some cases) later overdubbed on. The use of overdubbing allowed a multiple horn arrangement to be completed (lonesome tree), samplers to complete a textural area (all is silent), percussion to be added (october calm), or, in the case of kaliedoscope moon I (a piece for four quartets), the entire ensemble to be overdubbed on top of itself. Setups vary depending on the piece - bowed gong and cymbal for all is silent, kit for lonesome tree (disc I), kit + small bell cymbals, gong and logdrum for secrets, and vibraphone, marimba, chimes and daveophone for km I. october calm was recorded live to a click (with me playing vibes and marimba, josh playing bass, ward playing alto flute and bass clarinet and lee playing soprano sax), and i later overdubbed surdo, medium and low congas, 2 tracks of kpanlogo drum, a clay drum, several tracks of panderio, 3 tracks of triangle, a shaker, a tamborim, thumb piano, piano and several tracks of tibetan bell, jingly percussion and bowed vibraphone. The second version of lonesome tree (disc II) is a voice and vibraphone abstraction of the piece, slowed down and reharmonized with open improvisation thru-out. The piece bright lights shows RTO's electronic side, with all instruments being processed in real time - Lee using echoplex, Ward using distortion and wah-wah, Josh using various phase shifters and myself contact miking my kit, running it thru multiple effects pedals (phase shifter, delay, flanger) and also using a sampler. Finally, the pieces kaliedoscope moon II and connections (you are) were completely overdubbed in studio. km II is a multi-level piece, with the upper and lower levels working at their own tempos. The lower level was recorded piece by piece to a click (two marimbas, two vibraphones, two glockenspiels, two chimes, xylophone, two electric basses, gong and almglocken). The upper section was also recorded to a click, with voice and soprano saxophone 8va covering the melody and three tenor saxophones filling in the harmonic implications. connections (you are) is a poetry piece, with several layers of field recordings (windchimes and rain from the DPH patio), multiple tracks of bandmembers whispering the poem and Anne and myself speaking the poem. Again, Ward Baxter did a great job on the layout, and also designed webpages that we placed on the CDs, including complete recording information, track listing, pictures of each painting that corresponds to the tracks, two scores per CD and several pictures of Stella and Harold in the mid '60s. Kelly Lancaster took photos of the paintings and Sandy Lee and I found an old picture of Stella for the inside panel.