The Recording Process:
First Unit Production and Recording:
Tony Garone: vocal (Gilgamesh), didgeridoo, keyboards, percussion loops
Recorded, engineered and mixed at Cow Pilot Studios, Arizona by Tony Garone
Second Unit Production and Recording:
Mike Carr: vocals (The Flower of Life)
Casey Carney: Drums
Billy Brown: electric guitar, bass guitar
Recorded and mixed in 23 tracks at Outpost Productions
and Stomp Box Studios between July and November 2000.
Engineered and mixed by Billy Brown and Lisa Roth
I wrote the Flower of Life with Mike Carr in mind. He's an old friend of mine, and we've been in several musical endeavors together and I wanted him to sing a lead vocal on this CD (he did background vocals on "Gematria"). So I felt that it would be interesting for the song to be from the perspective of an inanimate object, which in this case was the flower. I knew Mike's voice would be perfect for this tune as It has a delicate quality that I dearly love.
I recorded the percussion loop first as a reference track. From there I put together the skeleton of the song with the "Ankglunds" sound on the keyboard (it sounds like lots of bamboo bracelets). I wanted this song to sound like the end of a long journey - that's why I chose to "tack" the beginning onto the song, (the Gilgamesh section), to explain his actions.
I then felt that the song needed a turning point; that is the point where Gilgamesh decides to wait to try the flower on someone other than himself and of course the serpent takes it from him. That's when I worked out the last section of the song (the descending keyboard section). This is indeed a devastating moment for Gilgamesh. He travels so far to attain eternal life and then decides to wait; only to have it taken away from him!
My dear friend, Mike Carr (at Woodstock), who performed the vocal personification of the "Flower of Life"
I was very excited when Tony asked me to sing on this project. Tony and I have been friends and musical acquaintances since our late teens. Through the years I’ve worked on numerous music projects with Tony, all of them fun, exciting and enriching. Tony is one of the greatest talents I know, and a great friend and person. So it’s always my pleasure to join him in any
Before Tony left New York, we were able to make music and mayhem regularly, which all but ended when he moved to Arizona. The first project we worked on since then was the long distance recording of “She’s Crazy” for Tony’s “Gematria” album. Using the wonders of the digital recording medium, Billy, Casey, Lisa and I added our musical ideas to the digital transfers from the masters Tony provided, utilizing Lisa’s studio and Billy’s engineering genius. This process proved to be a great way for us to work together across the miles and set the tone for future musical adventures.
On the “Gilgamesh” project, Tony asked me to sing the vocal interpretation of “The Flower of Life”, as well as adding vocal harmonies to “We Are All One” and “Oh No”. At the first vocal session I recorded my harmony vocals for “We Are All One”, prior to Casey and Lisa adding their voices. I added vocal harmonies to “Oh No” at the second vocal session, when I also did the first series of vocals on “ Flower of Life”. At this time I sang six live vocal passes onto the “Flower of Life” master. After reviewing the tracks for a week or so, we found that we liked different sections from different tracks, but not one complete take that we were totally happy with.
Rather than piece the lead vocal together from the best sections of each vocal pass, Billy and I decided to scrap the tracks and rerecord all the vocals. I found this most exciting, because way back when we used to record on Tony’s 4-track in Huntington, we usually only got one take for everything! Punch-ins and retakes were only won with a strong argument (or tantrum). Tony always loved spontaneity and didn’t like to forfeit the feel of a first take for a flat vocal or guitar note. (He tortured me that way)! To the other extreme, Billy and I redo everything until we’re happy with it. Or tired of it.
So at the next vocal session, I recorded six new vocal passes for “Flower of Life”, which we reviewed for a couple of weeks and were happy with. Or so we thought! We were going to compose the lead vocal from two of the vocal takes we liked best, but at that session, we decided we still weren’t completely satisfied with the performances, so back to the vocal booth I went!
This time, the emotion would be right as I sang each vocal pass anew, and we knew we had the keeper. Now all that was left was for Billy and Lisa to embark on the monumental task of combining and mixing all the masters together and completing the final mix. Throughout the months we worked on Gilgamesh, many sessions took place aside from my vocal sessions.
Casey’s numerous drum and vocal overdubs, Lisa’s vocal overdubs and all of Billy’s instrument tracks were laid in between countless compilation and mixdown sessions. All for a labor of love, music. And for a friend we love.
Sorry it took so long, Tony, but we wanted everything to be as good as it could be. I hope the results were worth the wait. It’s always a pleasure and a thrill to work with you, and I look forward to our future musical meanderings!
Casey at the kit once again
What is this song about?
After retrieving the Flower of Life from the deep waters of the Apsu (the freshwater sea that flowed under the earth), Gilgamesh decided to try it on an old man once he returned to Uruk. He reasoned that if it killed the old man it would not be as much a tragedy as if it killed himself and if it did indeed possess life-giving properties the old man would be young again. Some interpretations present this decision as one of charity on the part of Gilgamesh while others present it as a decision based on his fear of the plant being poisonous.
However, as the king rested on the banks of the river a snake suddenly slithered out of the water, devoured the flower and subsequently shed its skin under the power of the regenerative properties of the plant. Gilgamesh witnessed this all too late and realized the flower did indeed have the power of reversing the aging process.
So what does lessons has Gilgamesh learned after his experiences? Although he fails to come back an immortal or return with the Flower or Life he has been transformed. He has been humbled and carries with him the potential to be a wise ruler. He has learned that power is illusory and a king who rules with compassion and kindness will be loved and remembered in the hearts of generations of people.
The Cuneiform for "The Flower of Life"
A note from Tony - In the "Epic of Gilgamesh" this section is actually translated as "The Plant of Life" - I took liberties here, in that there is a very significant symbol known as the "flower" of life in Sacred Geometry, but that's another web page...besides, "plant"of life does not inspire nearly as much imagery as "flower"of life.
Dr. Pagan explains:
The first is a Sumerogram for "plant of life": Ú.ZI. Ú is the Sumerian equivalent of Akkadian šammum, "plant"; ZI, as mentioned previously is the Sumerian equivalent of Akkadian napištum, "life."