Greetings! I look forward to writing on a variety of topics regarding my music as well as perhaps posting some sketches or other related materials. In that spirit, an opening statement regarding my inspirations, goals, and working procedures seems appropriate.

 

While the direct expression of emotion as it relates to one's inner life and the world we share is perhaps the most common artistic impulse of musicians, music history offers many examples of composers and improvisors aligning their work with pictorial scenes, programmatic narratives of various types, philosophical ideas, religious inspirations, architectural designs, scientific advances, and so on. Certainly many pieces weave multiple threads into a unified whole. In many such works an expressive point is given perspective by various undercurrents of thought.

 

My own primary concern is to present my intuitions of what I experience as the true nature of things - spiritual if you like; it's with that vision in mind that I choose musical materials and compositional strategies. The goal is to compose virtual worlds, other realms if you will, within which improvising soloists are placed and interact.

 

Having been asked about the balance between composition and improvisation on my recordings I would like to clarify that all of the electronically realized music and all of the instrumental parts integrated with the electronics are fully composed. Only the drum set, hand percussion, and instrumental solo work are improvised. Although most frequently composed directly into a sequencer, as works have been composed directly on to player piano rolls, the music is none the less fully considered, sketched, worked, and in all senses composed; it has never been a notated or performance improvisation. 

 

My musical inspirations are wide ranging but rather than aspiring to any one stylized type of expression I am most impacted by specific components of various artists and their outlooks. Concepts born of great improvisors, the types of group interaction evolved in their ensembles, musical materials and related theoretic thought drawn from the work of favorite composers, the sonic surface of some electronically produced popular music have all found a balance in my own work. I am not interested in producing a hybrid music; I simply write my music as I conceive it. What comes out reflects a lifetime of enjoyment and a questioning study of the music which I love. I don't sense threads as I compose; I'm simply writing my music and it's everything that I am as a musician. I have no use for labels; honestly, I think they're ridiculous.

 

With that thought ever present I began to consider what music might sound like in the future on those worlds far distant which are just beginning to come into view thanks to space exploration. Would such music still stand to be labeled? What would the interaction of musical cultures, so much in continual progress on our own world, sound like when bringing in cultures from other planets in other galaxies? As a kid who spent hours and hours exploring music with friends, I began to wonder what Zahskl, a young boy in a far off future, might listen to while hanging out with his friends. My answer was Zahskl's Jukebox.

 

Zahskl's Jukebox, Vol. 1 presents the first thirty pieces of a fifty-nine piece cycle of brief compositions. Post-tonal pitch materials, polyrhythmic tempi, and symmetries of various types on multiple levels of structure are used to unify and articulate superimposed elements of surface style drawn from improvisational music and electronically-based popular music. Merging acoustic instruments with electronic timbres, the sound worlds thus created contextualize uniquely creative, virtuoso improvisations by the brilliant young tenor saxophonist Noah Preminger and the great alto saxophonist John O'Gallagher.

 

That's it for now; I thank you very much for exploring my music!