Daniel Schmidt is a composer and builder of American gamelan, also known for the collaboration with Paul Dresher. Three years after In My Arms, Many Flowers, he’s back with a new album. Abies Firma is out now via Recital. It lies next chronologically, collecting works from 1976 to 1991, considered the second phase of his compositional form.
“We were like children playing with new toys,” Daniel recalls of the early days of American Gamelan music. “Though, as we moved into the 1980s, I moved away from Javanese traditional formalism completely, no longer using a constant stream of notes.” Daniel became a father twice over in the early 80s, transforming his compositional voice, finding himself open to new affects. Notably, the Sierra fir species, ‘abies firma’ … “These trees gave me a sense of rising and rising, all their branches reaching toward sun and sky. Looking at them across open spaces, I felt myself part of their upward striving. The tall mountain trees became rising themes and arpeggios, sometimes even sweeping across the six octaves of the gamelan.”
Listen to an excerpt below.