Sketchbook: March 2015 - March 2016


Comprised of songs, vignettes, and arrangement experiments, Sketchbook: March 2015 - March 2016 presents selected studio recordings made by drummer Neal Morgan. It is his fourth solo record, and includes, for the first time, music composed using instruments other than drums and voices. Half of the songs were composed as "music intended to score imagined scenes" in response to the story of the Rajneeshpuram settlement near Antelope, Oregon in the mid-1980s. About the scoring work, Neal wrote: "On March 11, 2015, I tagged along with filmmakers Chapman and Maclain Way to see the former Rajneeshpuram site. The brothers told me about much of their research during that visit and showed me some archival footage. Particular visuals stuck with me: the desert landscape; the different hues of the red robes; the shining Rolls Royces out in the desert; the eyes and smile of the guru Bhagwan; red robes with rifles; the formerly homeless men expressing hopes and thanks for community and rebirth. Dreams of acceptance, family, utopia, safety, and then also fear and pain. . . . At its core, drumming, like scoring for moving image and story, is about creating and managing tension. I made many sketches responding to the elements that haunted me -- things that perhaps had happened or been felt or thought of by children or adults there. Situations, colors, visuals. The music in turn created new stories, new sights, and new tensions. It was like making music to score -- and simultaneously to create and direct -- imagined scenes of an imagined film." Morgan is perhaps best known for his work with two of the finest songwriters of his generation, Joanna Newsom and Bill Callahan. He first accompanied Newsom in 2006, when he arranged drums and percussion for the live performance of her classic second album Ys (2006) and began performing as a part of her touring band. He arranged and performed all of the drums and percussion on Newsom's triple album Have One On Me (2010) and on three of the songs from Divers (2015). He began playing with Callahan as a duo in 2009 and arranged and performed drums and percussion on Apocalypse (2011). Screen printed in Portland at The Make House; Hand-painted by Morgan in Berkeley. Includes a fold-out insert designed by the artist and a download code; Edition of 100.