Monthly Archives July 2019

Swimming in the Heart of the Sun – final touches

When I was finally able to get back to this project the first task was to edit the tracks. This meant fitting all the parts together, eliminating certain sections, moving things around so that the overall effect was what I was looking for.

I decided I wanted to add a few more musical elements to it, but keeping in line with my ‘acoustic only’ concept I planned on some acoustic guitar and alto saxophone. The saxophone parts were recorded on a Grafton acrylic Alto Saxophone, a rare instrument that I am fortunate to have passed on to me by a former parishioner, Al Dawe. I recorded these tracks, with the assistance of my daughter who also does her own recording and producing, in my basement studio using an RCA BK5 microphone, which I obtained from my Uncle Lyndy Olson’s collection...

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Swimming in the Heart of the Sun – vocals

With the piano and organ tracks recorded, next came adding the vocals. Having enjoyed soprano Janet Marie Chvatal’s work with Jeff Johnson I sought to do something in a similar vein. I floated the idea to my sister Kari Heise who is an excellent musician with a lovely soprano voice. She thought it would be fun, so we arranged to have a recording session the next time she same for a visit (she lives in Edmonton, Alberta whereas I live in Regina, Saskatchewan). When the opportunity came we set up in the basement of Christ Lutheran Church and proceeded to spend one afternoon recording her vocals.

I decided that the vocals would be in Latin...

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Swimming in the Heart of the Sun – keyboard tracks

The first stage of this project involved recording my improvisations on the grand piano at Christ Lutheran Church. In preparation for this I had divided up the Lord’s Prayer into various petitions and assigned different keys to the different parts. Late at night (to reduce the problem of traffic noise) I set up my DAT machine (Digital Audio Tape) and some mics. For each song I began by prayerfully reflecting on the words for that specific petition in the Lord’s Prayer – then when I felt inspired I played. The piano parts just flowed out of me and within a couple of hours I had completed all the basic tracks for this project.

The next part of the project was to record the pipe organ in the chapel of Lutheran Theological Seminary in Saskatoon...

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Swimming in the Heart of the Sun – origins

In a few weeks my newest album will be released. It is called “Swimming in the Heart of the Sun”. The title is unusual, so I thought I should explain. Many years ago I used to visit a nearby Franciscan retreat centre (St. Michael’s Retreat Centre, sadly no longer run by the Franciscans). They had a little book store with a variety of publications that I liked to browse through when I was there. One time I came across a book called “Swimming in the Sun: Discovering the Lord’s Prayer With Francis of Assisi and Thomas Merton” by Albert Haase. The title intrigued me enough to purchase it and take it home to read. Albert Hasse’s treatment of the Lord’s Prayer was refreshing and unique. The title of the book comes from a Thomas Merton quote from his work “The Sign of Jonas”. The complete quote i...

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