« Blue » Gene Tyranny – Out Of The Blue/ A Letter From Home About Sound And Consciousness
From « Blue » Gene Tyranny – Out Of The Blue
Released on Lovely Music Ltd., 1978, US
By far the largest musical piece – as much by its duration and complexity than the themes it addresses – ever mentioned here, Out Of The Blue/ A Letter From Home About Sound And Consciousness is an incredibly rich orchestral piece by versatile composer Robert Sheff aka « Blue » Gene Tyranny and we have to admit that it has been quite hard to find the angle that would allow us to properly pay tribute to the astonishing amount of work and sensibility that the musician put into this 25 minute-long composition.
First of all, a few biographical elements might help to shine some light on what we’re tempted to consider as « Blue » Gene Tyranny’s opus magnum. Born in Texas in January 1945, he learned the piano and composition before becoming himself a teacher at Mills College, in San Francisco, where he would teach jazz and theory throughout the 1970’s. His university career would not prevent him to drift smoothly between Pop music and Avant Garde, and back and forth as his recording resume clearly shows : He played with Iggy Pop & the Stooges, Carla Bley, recorded albums with Laury Anderson, Peter Gordon or Robert Ashley as well as many more albums released on the great experimental label from New-York, Lovely Music Ltd. (on which was also released Out Of The Blue).
Amongst all the complexe feelings that swirls in A Letter From Home About Sound And Consciousness, there’s one that really ties them altogether: its pastoral quality. Though it’s hard to define it, it’s the very same thing which revives childhood memories when we listen to songs by Penguin Cafe Orchestra. Once the nostalgia fire is going again, the song takes us back on memory lane as our own story became intertwined with the one encapsulated in the letter read by Kathy Morton.
We’ve always tried to detach ourselves from the music we’ve been writing about, but it’s never been as difficult as with this one. As we’re writing, teenage memories of summer days and dry grass are coming back while the music provides them with a touch of eternity, and we barely can do anything about it. This is music that takes you home wherever your home is, and, we must add, without taking consideration whether your childhood was spent in an urban or a rural environment.
We could have gone into further details about Lovely Music Ltd, but we’ll have the occasion to get back to it later, as we’ve already exceeded the number of words ever reached in any of our previous post, by far. If you’re reading this, please make sure to go through the 25 minutes and 57 seconds of this astonishing piece of music.
In our case, we’ll keep on coming back to it, over and over, for the rest of our lives.