The end of this first edition of the Rancho De La Luna month is approaching; the fun is almost over; but there are so many gems and diamonds left untouched. And with the prospect of at least five Rancho releases this year among which the new Dearly Beloved and Flash Lightnin; we can safely conclude that there will be many more Rancho De La Luna months to follow. For now we will leave this May month with one last post; before diving head first in the festival season. So; without further ado.
As we come to the end of this first edition of the Rancho De La Luna month we can only end this righteous, just and on a high note. So let’s pay homage once more to the man that started it all: Mr. Fred Drake. As we already stated while discussing his other album Twice Shy; he moved to the desert to make these albums. “Few people get to realize their dreams,” his parents note, “but Fred did. From the moment he 'found' the Rancho, magic began to happen. The acoustics were great, but the 'milky way' overhead was wonderful!” Inspired by that vast expanse of sky -- and the music of great ambient artists like Brian Eno and Daniel Lanois -- Fred experimented with a variety of soundscapes, creating a large collection of instrumental and electronic works. A selection of these, the Sky Party's twelve pieces recorded simultaneously to Twice Shy come together with surprising strength and unity, forming a meditation on Cosmic Harmony.
“For almost nine and one half years Fred lived and worked in this place he loved. He considered the Rancho his home first and his studio second. Perhaps that was part of the magic that was happening. At any time of the day or night you might find him out on the patio surveying the clouds or the stars, or down at the corral talking to his beloved horse 'Kashmir',” his parents say. “The desert nourished both Fred's creative spirit and his soul. The music he wrote there bears out the creative inspirations he received, and the man that matured there bears witness to the fullness of his soul.” On June 20, 2002, Fred died as he lived -- with grace and dignity, surrounded by friends in his home in Joshua Tree. This, his second solo CD, is but another piece of the lasting legacy he left behind. “His spirit lives on in his music, the continuation of the studio, and in the heart of everyone who had the privilege to know and love him.”
Or as long time musical compadre Fred Quinn would say: “The beauty, sadness, spiritual grace and optimism of a gifted soul whose life would be too short found its purest expression in the pieces Fred recorded under the pseudonym, the Sky Party. Without words, Fred's ambient music - inspired by the Brian Eno axiom that ambient music should be as ignorable as it is interesting - served as the soundtrack to his time in his beloved desert. Fred would often visit the national "monument" in Joshua Tree, hide his boombox in some rocks a distance from his campsite, light some sage, nag champa incense, his other favorite smokes and listen to the quiet sound of Eno's 'Apollo' or 'On Land,' filtering through the silhouettes, with the boombox set on 'loop' for uninterrupted play... This is the way this music should be heard; quietly, revealing its nuances over time, with respect to (mind)set and setting. While Fred has no say in how he will be remembered, he will continue to be revered for his kindness, his long stories, naturally standing in a perfect first position, cigarette in one hand, coffee in the other, his subtle wit, reflected in the titles of his pieces, his Rancho and his music, recorded in the hours between midnight and dawn, when his many friends had stopped showing up or calling on the phone. There, in his "House of The Moon", filled with colorful little lights, Fred would light the candles and the smoke, have a cup of "cowboy candy" and create the sounds heard here. At sunrise, he'd take Kashmir, his Arabian stallion, for a ride through the desert. A reel of tape, which Fred used to say, "started out blank," entrusted with carrying these ethereal sounds through space, for some unknown amount of time, past his own. Now, we can carry these sounds with us everywhere we go, and with them, an expression of Fred's great spirit…”