"...a group to be reckoned with far beyond the Western United States."
—Ken Waxman www.jazzweekly.com
San Diego percussionist and composer, Nathan Hubbard, culls together his Skeleton Key Orchestra, for their sophomore effort, Furiously Dreaming. Gathering together a staggering 49 of Southern California’s most ambitious creative musicians, this epic 2-disc achievement is a swirling, seductive, mind-bending sonic array mixing avant-garde jazz and electronica, poetry, and quite literally, the music of dreams.
From Hubbard: “These compositions seek to bridge the divide between individual and ensemble, creating new perspectives on community and music making. Furiously Dreaming brings together a core group of collaborators (many have been involved with this project since the first performance in 2001) that have been fundamental to San Diego's creative music community and my own musical aspirations.”
On Furiously Dreaming, Hubbard takes the aesthetic of the creative music orchestra further by incorporating samples, electronics, field recordings and post-production manipulation into the mix for a massive, wholly unique sound all his own.
With a core group of over twenty-two performers, these are long thru-form pieces, not afraid to delve deeply into the moment, but always pushing forward. There are interlocking parts that form intense rhythmic activity, bright pointed melodies that shine above the orchestra, and dense sound worlds that contrast with spacious areas.
Independent voices speak, groups shout - at all times structure and flow are paramount. Hubbard’s belief in Orchestra as "microcosm of society" shines brightly here, sometimes it is a block party (“Crows on the Roof”), sometimes it is a single voice against the changing tide (“And We All Fall Down”). Sometimes smaller groups work independently (title track, “the owl of brittany road”). On rare occasions, everyone agrees and works together (“Mirror Forgot”). Often the sound changes color or shape, allowing the listener to question what they should be focussing on.
Working relationships go far beyond years and miles, but as markers in the pieces themselves, the delicate fabric of “sleep:dream:silence” designed for the poetry of Sister Rez, or the earthy funk at the end of Skeleton Key Theme, a direct stepping off of the group Cosmologic. These threads run thru all the pieces. There are also several moments when the human voice comes to the fore, singing words about motivation, self-determination, of time passing and lessons learned.
"No limits" seems to be the unspoken imperative for both the record and the group. In many ways, the title could be seen as a question, how far can we go? Challenging, fun, thick, glorious, Furiously Dreaming digs deeply into both composition and performance to find a balance between concept and determination.