The Golden Swan

by handwrist

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Ghigigi This album is a distinct blend of rock, jazz, and classical music, nonetheless. The four movements of this album flow together seamlessly. Elements of the Canterbury sound are evident.

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«The compositional aspect of the music is excellent, and it's a shame that this couldn't have been played as intended, with orchestra and the choral section. It is apparent how much better this would have sounded, but at least the listener can hear how well done the music is put together and then imagine a full orchestra and choir doing it all.»


In the context of my discography, this album could probably be seen as a conceptual follow up of the EP Çatalhöyuk, as it also deals with suject matter relating to ancient peoples and civilizations. I wanted it to be a story of the rise and fall of an ancient civilization, and how their story is really the story of all peoples.

The album is divided in four movements but it really is a single piece of music, with themes that show up either entirely or in a distorted form, across the composition, and each movement having different sections.

Some of the musical themes that appear in this album were written as far back as 12 years ago, others are a little younger and others are brand new. All have been subjected to distortions, reinventions and rearrangements.

My original plan for the piece was to have lyrics that told the story and for it to be sang by a choir. Furthermore, I wanted to add an extra layer of logistic complexity by having the choir sing in Basque, a rather minority language. I chose Basque because it's the only language in Europe that predates the indo-european invasion, which gives us some insight into the original peoples of the region.

Sure most wouldn't understand what they were saying, but perhaps you could 'feel' what they were saying anyway and that is more important - every language has its own particular music to it, and the feelings it elicits by simply being uttered is what I was after, not an intellectual appreciation for the text. Otherwise I would have simply sang the lyrics in English myself - but that wouldn't be the same.

It would have been fun wouldn't it? Maybe I can get the Basque regional government to subsidize a future production.

The lines that would have been sang are for now done by other instruments, real or virtual - but mostly virtual. So the same could be said for the orchestration. It was my intention that the MIDI ensemble sound as much as possible like a real human one regardless of the particular style of each section (jazz, rock or classical). It's not always as flawless as I would like, either due to my ineptness or to technical limitations. Since I have only a very limited budget to hire players, I chose to use them for something that MIDI can never replace: improvisation. The remaining 'ensemble', outside of my own performed contributions, is 90% MIDI, and 10% sampled accents or details.

Perhaps one day I will be able to hire musicians and singers to realize the full extent of my vision for this piece. For now, both you and I will have to content ourselves with this version.

I hope you enjoy it and thank you for listening.


Thank you to everyone who helped make this album possible.

Special thanks to my wife for putting up with my obsessive nature.

Dedicated to Machaut, Messiaen, Mingus, Maneige and Magma

For the glory of Christ.



::: VINYL ::: 35$

::: CD ::: 5$



released August 10, 2019

Rui Botelho Rodrigues: Composition, Arrangement,
Mixing, Production, Guitars, Keyboards, Flute, MIDI programming, Sampling, Cover design.

Dima Faustov - Saxophone solo on 1
Matt Giella - Trumpet on 1
Daryush Baraz - Wailing Saxophone solo on 1, Clarinet solo on 4
Iker Mendoza - Clarinet solo on 2, 4;
João Cordeiro - Saxophone solo on 2, 4
Bela Toth - Saxophone solo on 3, 4

The painting on the cover is a detail of a roman fresco.




handwrist Lisbon, Portugal

a composer trying to find the sweet spot between rock, jazz and classical music, from Lisbon, Portugal.

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