The Recording Process:
First Unit Recording and Production:
Casey Carney: drums
Billy Brown: Keyboards, programming
Recorded at Outpost Productions, New York, March, 1999
Engineered by Billy Brown
Second Unit Production and Recording:
Tony Garone - vocals and keyboards
Evan Keckta - trumpet
Recorded, engineered and mixed at Cow Pilot Studios, Arizona by Tony Garone
This was another one of those songs that Billy sent me on an ADAT tape. The original version had an entire section which I did not use for reasons of time constraint on the CD which is why it fades in. When I listened to the verse section I immediately heard the vocal melody in my head. I grabbed a microphone and recorded a scratch vocal.
When I heard the synth part poking in and out of the verse, it just reminded me of the ocean; almost submarine/sonar-like if you will. It just occurred to me that this should be the song that portrayed Gilgamesh's journey into the Abzu (the ocean). It just had a sea-faring quality about it. I then added some keyboards and acoustic guitars to solidify the counter melodies.
I enlisted the talents of Evan Keckta for the trumpet parts. Evan was a real trooper and completed all the parts in about a half hour. I was simply singing the trumpet parts to him and he picked them up immediately. He is a very talented musician. Thanks Evan!
Evan Keckta played the beautiful trumpet parts on "The Far Away".
William Brown at the console at Outpost Studios
Commentary by William:
The Far Away/Gilgamesh Laments For Enkidu
These 2 pieces came to life after having played the CDI game “ Burn Cycle”. It was the pilot program originally slated to launch CDI (CD Rom for Television). The technology never really took off and the game was re-formatted for Mac & PC. It was a tale of software espionage that featured a principal character named ”Cutter”. Inspired by the story, I was moved to write some music that would lend itself well to similar media; perhaps, CD Rom games or other related software that called for evocative moods to accompany game-play. At the time, I had recently added some gear to my MIDI network and was eager to give it a test drive. Using a Roland JV-880, R-5, & D-50, and a E-Mu Proteus fx driven by Motu Performer 6.0, I managed “Cutter” and “Mystics”. In “Cutter’s original state, it existed as 3 distinct movements, each reflecting parts of the story. “Mystics” rose from a rainy day into evening’s efforts designed to create a tranquil atmosphere conducive to deep contemplation of the universe and fractional divisions thereof. Did I succeed? I laid them on a slab and offered them as a sacrifice to Gilgamesh. They have since embarked on a perilous journey into the netherworlds of Gilbert, Arizona where they have come to fruition among the cactus. I still have yet to hear them in their entirety!
What is this song about?
In order to attain immortality, Ziasudra/Utnapishtim challenged Gilgamesh to stay awake for seven days and seven nights. Believing he was up to the challenge, Gilgamesh sat down on the beach but because of his long journey and emotional suffering he immediately fell asleep! Utnapishtim perceived Gilgamesh would argue to the contrary when he awoke, so to demonstrate to Gilgamesh that time had passed Utnapishtim had his wife bake a loaf of bread for each day the king slept. He reasoned the progressive forms of mold would prove to Gilgamesh he had been sleeping and therefore unworthy of challenge and ultimately immortality.
Seven days later Gilgamesh awakened and insisted he only dozed off for a few seconds. When Utnapishtim showed our hero the seven loaves of bread Gilgamesh realized he did indeed fall asleep. He wept bitterly knowing that he was not worthy of godly status and returned to the raft and the ferryman, Urshanabi.
As he cast off, Utnapishtim's wife was overwhelmed with pity for the king and begged Utnapishtim to give Gilgamesh one more chance. Utnapishtim told Gilgamesh of a plant whose properties would bring youth to those who ingested it. Although this would not give Gilgamesh the eternal life he sought it did allow him another lifetime. Utnapishtim told our hero of a plant called the Flower of Life that existed deep below the ocean.
Hearing this, Gilgamesh set off with Urshanabi to retrieve the "Flower of Life." He sailed out to the Apsu (the Sumerian word for the fresh water that flows under the Earth), tied millstones to his feet and sank deep into the ocean. He retrieved the plant, untied the stones from his feet and floated back to the surface with the Flower of Life.
Cuneiform for "The Far Away"
Dr. Pagan explains:
The signs are (from left to right): re-qú-um, a syllabic spelling of Akkadian rêqum, "distant," "far away" (as an epithet, "the distant one," or "the far away").