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Singles and Crack: A Tone Poem

Songs for EP No. 4

If you’ve come here from my podcast or blog at, you probably heard a snippet of “Squint Eye,” which you can find on Spotify and over here on SoundCloud. Or maybe “September Light,” which you can find on Spotify and over here on SoundCloud.

Ba.Ren.Chi’s fourth compilation, Crack: A Tone Poem, an eleven-and-a-half-minute, three-movement piece on a general theme of what took place on January 6, 2021 in Washington, D.C. has three “attacca” movements (meaning without breaks).

Movement one: “Mitakuye oyasin,” a Lakota phrase I borrow with respect. This is an invocation, a prayer, and, as with many prayers, a hope that we can indeed be “all relations.”

Movement two: “March to the Capitol,” a scene from recent US history, inspired by reflective pieces of Barber, Gorecki, and Rachmaninoff.

Movement three: “Broken Boy,” a different sort of reflection, with these lyrics: [Verse 1] Workin’ man, proud boy, American fake. / Tweetin’ man, butcher boy, whatcha gonna take? Whatcha gonna break? [chorus] Say, can you see? Can you listen? Can you breathe? Say, can you see? Can you listen? Can you breathe?” [Verse two] Runnin’ man, kingpin, American rake. / Spinnin’ man, broken boy, whatcha gonna take? Whatcha gonna break? [Chorus]

Towards the end of the third movement, “America the Beautiful” comes in over the top, clashing with the other themes that continue through the end. Lots of influences here, and words drawn from many sources, including Walt Whitman, Barack Obama, the final words spoken by George Floyd.

Crack is on SoundCloud, Jamendo, and the usual streaming platforms: Spotify, AppleMusic, Youtube, Amazon, and others.

Back to the lighter side, “Samba Sailin” is available on all the usual suspects (YouTube Music, Spotify, and so on, as well as SoundCloud). It’s a fast light samba with a tune inspired by “Spirit Dance” by Keiko Matsui and an old-fashioned shout chorus (without the shouting) inspired by Chick Corea’s “Spain.”




This third album was born in lockdown, with Kaitou, a piece I worked through over two winters, looking out at the snow and ice, wondering what it would be like when it all melted and we came out again.Would we come out again? We would, I knew, and the piece reflects that determination, the implacable spring thaw. Spring itself would follow, a mad chase of the rivulets everywhere, falling, which is Cadendo. And then a stroll, a strut, through the park because spring and you gotta. Some happy Exi Maxi, which feels a lot like summer, and finally a little excess in seven, or nana, and why not make a mambo by then, so, yes, the Nana Mambo to take us out.

Track 1. Kaitou: Ice melts away after the winter lockdown, giving way to spring, determined, playful, and wondrous.
Track 2. Cadendo: Racing rivulets, falling spring rain.
Track 3. Prelude and Strut: Prelude takes up the previous and sets up the provius, then strut forward with some attitude.
Track 4. Exi Maxi: Driving ahead in six, which is exi in Greek, so more exi makes it maxi exi. Feels a bit like summer.
Track 5. Nana Mambo: Odd times keep this one fresh and moving, mostly in seven, which accounts for the nana, but it also makes you want to move, which accounts for the mambo. Plus this one had to go last cause of the big finish, which surprised me.


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