It was never supposed to happen. No one was supposed to reimagine Terry Riley's "A Rainbow In Curved Air"—a piece of music that, until now, has existed in its own class of expression. No one was supposed to scale the perilous heights of the citadel and come back with another document of the strange festival scenes within. With the release of experimental musician Nico Georis' four track LP, A Rainbow In Curved Air, out July 29 on Spiritual Pajamas, it's clear now that this piece of music is a place that you can go to, a kind of astral sanctum that can be visited again and again so long as you know the mysterious paths that lead to it.
"Terry Riley's 1969 experimental classic 'A Rainbow in Curved Air' has been an all time fav amongst my friend circles. In late 2019 I went to see Terry and his son perform this piece of music for the 50th anniversary of its release. In this stripped down live setting I was able to hear and understand for the first time the central riffs that drive this piece at its core," explains Georis. "These riffs haunted me for months to the point where it felt like I had caught 'rainbow disease.' I just couldn't stop playing the riffs, and they challenged me to no end. Over the course of the coming two years I joyously stalked the vague and magical traces of Terry's path back into his hidden wonderland of sound."
Doing away with the production tricks used on Terry Riley's original recording, Nico Georis confronts the central seven time theme with a new transparency that gradually complexifies into astonishing Persian carpet displays of patterned musical awareness. In this way it is similar to the original, but the pace is way less manic as it rides forward on a calm surge of dazzling zero point energy.
The three other songs on A Rainbow In Curved Air are Nico Georis originals. "Vapor" is a moment of twilight abstraction, a plant music duet that features Georis playing along with the plaintive washes of sound produced by a cannabis plant connected to a biodata sonification device. This song was composed spontaneously as it was broadcast live over Georis' Big Sur based pirate channel, Milky Way Radio. Side B contains two remarkable songs, "Hot Slots" and "777" (listen/share) that were also inspired by Riley, but this time by his piece "Arica." They are built mostly out of samples of slot machine sounds. They are both lush holograms of hallucinated beauty and convey something about the spirit of luck, abundance and possibility.
"The first time I ever heard 'Arica' it sounded to me like a bunch of slot machines come to life, as if in some Disney Fantasia cartoon. This original impression is what inspired the entirety of side B," continues Georis. "Hot Slots' is littered with sounds of slot machines at their original speed, while "777" is built from a foundation of slot machines patterns that have been slowed way down. Side B marks a clear departure from 'Arica,' looping forward from the curved air of the '60s into a blissed-out slot machine K-hole of today."
Nico Georis is a musician, songwriter and experimental composer from central California. His musical works span from solo piano to cosmic synth, FM radio experiments to plant-generated music. Georis also plays in the band Noon at 2pm with guitarist Matt Baldwin and sits at the helm of Big Sur’s experimental FM stream Milky Way Radio. He comes from a certain lineage of musicians containing a musical DNA that involves recombining elements of Minimalism, Impressionism, Exotica, Krautrock, Dub, Rock and Roll, Doo Wop, and 70s' African music; all through a lo-fi surrealist analog lens of his unique sonic aesthetic. Recent shows have been delving deeper into new compositions for piano and synth, duets with plants, and the creation of "Singing Forests" installations that incorporate interactive, plant-generated musical environments.
Nico Georis - A Rainbow In Curved Air
1. A Rainbow In Curved Air
3. Hot Slots
A Rainbow In Curved Air is out July 29 on Limited Edition Vinyl and Digital formats from Spiritual Pajamas. Pre-order available HERE