Update: October 2015
January 2016 will mark the twentieth anniversary of the founding of Hermetic Science, and March 2016, the twentieth anniversary of the band’s first studio recordings. During the summer of 2015, for the first time in several years I found myself revisiting the back catalog of Hermetic Science. My reaction: while there are obviously things I would do differently, I find I can still stand by both the underlying concept of the project, and the music that it generated during the eleven years it actively recorded, from 1996 to 2007. Just three observations:
To celebrate the twentieth anniversary of the band’s founding, I am pleased to post, for the first time ever, video footage of the original Hermetic Science lineup—myself (vibes), Don Sweeney (bass), and Michael Morris (drums)—recorded April 19, 1996, as we perform “Fire Over Thule” (the first time a live performance of this early H.S. classic has ever been available) and “Trisagion.” Please click the Concert Footage link on the main page to enjoy this high-quality footage.
As some of you may have noticed, the twenty tracks of Crash Course: A Hermetic Science Primer, which comprise remixed and re-mastered versions of all the original tracks from the three Hermetic Science studio albums of 1997-2001, became unavailable for digital download during the summer of 2014. Reap and Sow, the digital distributor who had partnered with us in 2007, made the decision to drop us as part of an effort to substantially downsize their stable of artists. I should add, in passing, that Reap and Sow told us at the time that an integral part of severing the relationship would involve them paying us all back royalties we were owed, which I was happy to hear, since they had not made a royalties payment to us since 2012. However, no payment has ever been forthcoming. Nonetheless, we secured a new digital distributor during the summer of 2015, and I’m happy to say that the tracks of Crash Course are once again available for digital download. Also, the final remaining physical stock of our second album, Prophesies (originally released in 1999) sold out over the summer of 2014, the second Hermetic Science album (joining the eponymous debut album of 1997) to go out of print. At this point, since sonically superior versions of these tracks are available on Crash Course, there is no plan to re-release these albums at this time.
Just one non-H.S. item this update. I had hoped to go back into the studio to record more classical piano music during the summers of 2014 or 2015, but it simply didn’t work out. However, I am still planning to record the works in question, hopefully in summer 2016. These works include Beethoven’s Moonlight Sonata (complete), Mozart’s Sonata no. 5 in G major, K. 283 (complete), Cyril Scott’s Lotus-Land and Egypt: An Album of Five Pieces (complete), and Orlando Gibbons’ Fantasia of Four Parts. In the meantime, we post something we hope will surprise and delight—a live recording of my transcription for solo piano of Emerson, Lake and Palmer’s Tarkus suite, recorded in Whittier, California in April 1992. This recording was included as a bonus track on Hermetic Science’s second album, Prophesies, in 1999, but now that Prophesies has sold out and there are no plans to re-release it in the foreseeable future, this seems a good time to make the recording available. Enjoy!