JD Emmanuel - Rain Forest Music LP
Aguirre Records present a reissue of the 1981 debut album by new age pioneer JD Emmanuel, Rain Forest Music. Texan musician JD Emmanuel's career story is, in a way, a story about how the passion of fans can make a difference and about a gifted musician whose music may have been lost to the ages. The tale begins in 2005 when Douglas Mcgowan stumbled on several dusty boxes of two JD Emmanuel vinyl albums – several hundred of them, all still sealed – at a discount book and record store in North Dallas, Texas. Mcgowan purchased 50 copies and took them back to the west coast. This discovery set in motion a chain of events that led to a series of reissues and Emmanuel's return to recording and performing in 2010. The majority of JD Emmanuel's studio recordings date from the 1980s, when new age music in America was still an indie scene. Whether you call his albums new age or not, the meditative vibe, spiritual underpinnings and self-releasing are all hallmarks of the genre. Yet his cyclic, organ-based music is different from most of his contemporaries of that era. Back in 1970, he was deeply impressed by his first taste of classical minimalism when he heard American minimalist composers Terry Riley and Steve Reich. He was also attracted to the improvisations of modern jazz and long-form rock jams. Minimalism and improvisation, then, became the foundations of his art, and the evocation of trance-like states his goal. In 1980, with his newly acquired Crumar Traveler-1 organ, analog synths, guitar, and various effects, he began building a body of warm, melodic, usually stripped-back ambient trance with a unique mystical vibe. On Rain Forest Music he builds gentle, short cycles of notes into floating clouds of sound, mostly improvising around single chords. The "minimalism" in his music lies not in repetitive patterns that barely change – the extreme end of classical minimalism – but more in the spare arrangements. There's also an open, loving optimism to the melodies that has obvious appeal to new age listeners.