Frames Of Mind
Gino Foti - Bass Guitar, Synthesizers, MIDI Pedals
Dave Kulju - Electric Guitar, Synthesizers
Joe Musmanno - Acoustic & Electronic Percussion
The title of our first release accurately describes its contents. It is a collection of our personal musical experiences, and an array of images caught in time during the two year period it took for this recording to come to fruition.
The goals we set for this project were extremely high. Individually, we challenged ourselves to stretch the boundaries of our musical abilities, while as a band, we strived for a complex, yet familiar, sound to attain an aggregate experience within the listener's mind - and most importantly, our own.
Like most musicians, the mission was to express the subjective part of our reality, including self-indulgence - a key component of any art form. Our vision was to fuse myriad influences and genres into eclectic compositions that used both original and assimilated ideas, with even the latter being revived from within ourselves - frames of reference merging with state of mind.
Some of the strategies and tactics used in our approach included: using an all-instrumental format to give each player more latitude; combining odd-time signatures with Classical forms in an attempt to simultaneously stir the imagery and stimulate the intellect of the listener; having the personnel play and/or trigger synthesizers in real-time to expand the orchestration while maintaining integrity; naming the pieces to lead the listener toward the composers' interpretation in the absence of lyrics; and unlike most instrumental groups, minimizing lead break/solo sections, keeping them concise wherever possible.
Did we succeed in achieving a balance of all of the above disparate statements? The short answer is "no." The logistics of developing a CD entirely by ourselves degraded all facets of production, but considering the fact that we had been together for less than a year (on a part-time basis) when the [RECORD] button was first pressed, we are very proud of the result.
Ultimately, the passage of time will manifest the truth as listeners develop meanings and draw conclusions based on their individual frame of mind - exactly how it should be. Come what may (to paraphrase Henry David Thoreau) - we will step to the music we hear, however measured or far away.
Click on the song titles to stream music samples.
Originally intended to be a collage of winter images, the opening track got its name after I heard a story on NPR about a tragic climb to the summit of Mt. Everest. Although not about that specific event, it refers to the visual aspects of climbing. Its form is comprised of a keyboard-dominated A section - majestic and intended to represent images viewed from higher elevations, and a B section - filled with tension and momentum - symbolizing the dangers and triumphs of an ascent.
Even with its jazz/fusion tinges, Classical sonata form (exposition - development - recapitulation), chordal guitar solo, and various time-signature changes, this eclectic composition manages to retain the daydream qualities implied in the title. After all these years, it's still one of our favorites...
Measure Of An Unmade Grave (Kulju/Foti)
The title was inspired from Shakespeare's Romeo and Juliet, spoken by Romeo at a time of great personal despair, alluding to the sorrowful mood of this piece. It features an aggressive development section, over different odd-time signatures, that adjoins the mellow synth-backed main themes.
Frames Of Mind
Part I - Cognitive Synergy (Kulju)
Part II - Dialectic (Kulju/Foti/Musmanno)
The two movements of the title-track began as seperate entities, with the idea of writing a couple of
four to six-minute pieces with emphasis on dynamics and rhythmic grooves, while still maintaining a progressive edge.
Features include both solo sections, and an ascending E minor groove/chord progression that provides continuity.
Sub-titles were spawned from these features: the first is a concept interpreting the bringing together
of two psychological processes, so at to enhance each other's qualities (Part I's dynamic 11/8 groove and both halves of the
solo); the second is a philosophical term explaining how from different/opposing positions a synthesis emerges, arrived at
by distancing oneself and seeing the whole process, while making sure that no damage is done to the original positions
(how we worked out Part II's volatile solo section).
A free-time solo synth piece inspired by repeated listenings to Part V of Rush's epic composition Hemispheres, and various European classical adagio/lento movements.
Voices (Kulju) i - Conversation ii - Disagreement iii - Oratory
This three-part suite was my first composition for this project. It is arranged with a prominent instrument in each section, and attempts to musically reflect the moods of different types of verbal communication. The first part - led by bass guitar, and mostly in 6/8 - has a relatively calm feel and represents the type of conversation we have with loved ones, friends, and new acquaintances. The second section - with guitar up-front, partly in 7/8 - is quite aggressive, as are the heated arguments that humans love to engage in. The third - with drums center-stage - is intended to sound uplifting, like the words that the best among us can use to move others to do great things and make great sacrifices.
Inertial Dampers Off-Line (Kulju)
According to the Star Trek Technical Manual, the inertial dampening system "generates a controlled series of variable-symmetry forcefields that serve to absorb the inertial forces of spaceflight, which would otherwise cause fatal injury to the crew". (I should note that I had a bad cold, and was on a lot of Sudafed at the time I wrote this piece)
Portal To Arcanum (Kulju/Foti/Musmanno)
Chosen as the piece to close the album with, this is probably one of the most complicated arrangements we have written. It begins with a keyboard introduction in theme-and-variations form, with accompaniment that is polymetric at times - keyboards in 4/4, bass and drums in 6/8. The body of the composition involves two themes, the first is dominated by bass in 11/4, and the second by guitar in 5/4. A long bridge, alternating between a 7/8 unison groove and a 13/8 section with bass and guitar playing counter lines, joins the two.