Sunday, August 30, 2009

"Speed of Light" album by Don Mock

(Available on I-Tunes and AmazonMP3)

1. St. Clair - 5:31
2. Robben’s Bebop Blues - 4:03
3. Hip Hop Cowboy - 7:06
4. Ballad of Triangles - 2:05
5. Kasamba - 3:28
6. Field of Six - 5:19
7. Etude of Two Hearts - 1:55
8. User Friendly - 5:06
9. Flight of the U-10 - 7:53
10. Hip Hop Cowboy -Part 2 - 4:52
11. Apache Nightmare - 3:37
12. Silent Castle - 7:15

All compositions by Don Mock except:
Apache Nightmare by Howard Roberts and Jac Murphy
Robben’s Bebop Blues by Robben Ford
The theme from Flight of the U-10 - unknown
Speed of Light is a collection of compositions and computer tracks recorded at Mock One Productions, Seattle Washington. With the exception of St. Clair, Silent Castle and User Friendly (which are studio demos), all tunes were computer sequenced and/or recorded on a Tascam 4-track cassette recorder. All drums, bass and keyboard type parts recorded into the computer using a Roland Guitar Synthesizer with the exception of:
St. Clair and Silent Castle
Drums: Dave Coleman, Bass: Chuck Deardorf, Piano: Marc Seales
User Friendly
Drums: Mike Bueno,Bass: Dan Dean,Piano: Marc Seales
Robben’s Bebop Blues
Piano: Marc Seales
Produced by Don Mock
Dedicated to the Memory of Howard Roberts who was a great friend and inspiration to my guitar playing and my teaching. -Don Mock
Special Thanks to Kathy Adolphsen, Mark Morgan, Mike Stevens Guitars, Marc Seales, Dave Raynor, Harry Gatjens, Roger E. Hutchinson, Dave Coleman, Chuck Deardorf, Dan Dean, Mike Bueno and Jim Greeninger of Digital Domain Disks.

I had originally named this collection of tunes “The Basement Tapes.” I produced a few hundred cassette copies mainly for my GIT students so they could hear me play some of my compositions we were working on. Most of the tunes were basically rough demos which I recorded on my home studio (in my basement) 4-track cassette. I never considered the tracks to used on a “real” product. But soon after the tapes were duplicated, Jim Greeninger of DDD Records called me and wanted to release the album on CD. Playing off the title of my first album “Mock One,” he renamed it “Speed of Light.”

The CD was mainly sold in a few stores on the West Coast and later a few internet outlets. But eventually, we ran out of the first run of CD’s and the recording was out of circulation for several years. But thanks to the web, we’re now able to re-release the CD in digital downloadable form. This album will certainly not win any awards for it’s recording quality and some of the performances are rough but I’m proud of how well some of the tunes came out.

Being originally conceived as a demo, I wanted to demonstrate my playing and writing in various ways using several different guitars and sounds. Most of the electric guitar is my Mike Stevens prototype “LJ” with a Roland synth pickup. All of the midi recording of drums, bass and keyboard parts were input with the Stevens guitar. I also grabbed my Strat for a few things as well as my nylon and steel-string Ovation acoustics.

And that’s my custom Moller double-neck synth guitar playing the “Jan Hammer-ish” solos on tunes like St. Clair and Field of Six. The top neck has wires attached to each fret under the fingerboard. The strings are also wired so just the contact of the string touching the fret triggered the Oberheim synth modules I used. It’s the fasted tracking synth ever build but has lots of short-comings including mono-phonic (no chords) and mono-dynamic (no loud and soft). And it required a whole new left-hand “hammer” technique to play it. I did love using the pitch-bend lever which allowed me to do very un-guitar type bends and vibrato. The bottom neck is a regular electric guitar with a Roland system built in. A very experimental, exciting and heavy guitar.

"Speed of Light” does feature some very fine “real” players including drummer Dave Coleman, Chuck Deardorf on bass, Marc Seales on keyboards, Dan Dean on bass and Mike Bueno on drums.
A few of my favorite cuts are “St. Clair” and “Flight of the U-10.” Named after the street I lived on when I first moved to LA to start GIT, “St Clair” became a standard as far as fusion tunes go ending up in a few “fake" books. It’s a fun tune to play and the recording has some decent solos including a few seconds of “no idea how I pulled that off” guitar and synth licks. The “Flight of the U-10” is based on some sequenced background music I heard played on a sports broadcast showing, in slo-motion, a spectacular hydroplane crash which seriously injured the driver, who I knew. The music sequence was haunting and I “borrowed" the basic theme and built a groove from it. I added acoustic guitar and a few synth solos and like how it turned out.

And of course, “Apache Nightmare” is a tune I used to play a lot with the great Howard Roberts who wrote it. We always played it as a high-energy fusion tune, but for this recording I decided to change the key and play it on my nylon-string acoustic. And of all the tunes on “Speed of Light” I still play “Apache” to this day. Ironically, it’s usually with a guitar duo I play in with Jay Roberts, Howards son.
-Don Mock

1 comment:

  1. Speed of Light is a killer CD. Are there any transcriptions of the tunes available for purchase &/or online?