I want to make an audience ‘get lost’ in my music and feel something they’ve never felt before. In the words of Bobby McFerrin, “true art does more than entertain.” I have experienced a lasting sense of transformation and self-discovery from the artists who have influenced me, and my ultimate hope is to continue the chain of positive transformation. This is the driving force behind why I compose, perform, and record my music. I want to connect to an audience spiritually, mathematically, and personally. When I perform on stage, I concentrate on transmitting a “mind movie” to the audience. For me, communicating a shared truth to others through music is as necessary to survival as food and water.
I seek to combine new, unfamiliar sounds with the language of jazz—or, as Duke Ellington calls it, “the American Idiom, or the Music of Freedom of Expression.” The vocal slides of Barrelhouse singers and the bending notes of Indian classical music pull at my heartstrings. To me, these quavering voices represent the struggle to “intone ourselves,” both musically, and with the world around us. The connection between music and sacred geometry guides my explorations. Sacred geometry represents an understanding that nature is governed by mathematical principles, which connect to universal spiritual principles that show up in similar forms across cultures and history. By tuning music in accordance with mathematical laws, it is possible to use music as a tool to tune our minds and hearts with spiritual truths. I use unique instruments, both acoustic and digital, to explore this art of tuning. I enjoy creating melodies and harmonies out of the “notes between the notes,” which reside outside of the 12-note Western scale. As a composer, I am always questioning the tools, technology, and theory behind my art. The experience of hearing a unique musical timbre is akin to discovering a new color, or a new day of the week. I seek to discover new timbres, and to experiment with sound on a fundamental level. In Brian Eno's view, “the idea is to produce things that are as strange and mysterious to you as the first music you ever heard.” This has led me to build a harp out of the soundboard of a recycled piano, which I play with my fingers, and with mallets, drumsticks, and banjo picks (the Maria). I create new timbres mathematically using FM synthesis, and I create visually using Metasynth—a program that turns pictures into sounds.