The recording was originally released as a cassette in the early 1980's and featured a glossy white J-card including the graphic as you see it here. The layout has been adapted to fit a CD jewel case and printed on parchment toned paper to invoke a seventeenth century motif. What you see at left is a reconstruction of the new cover that includes the liner notes presented below.

At the time of the release, cassettes were just starting to replace vinyl records. To fit the vinyl format, each side had to be less than eighteen minutes in length. The cassette version adhered to those limits and, as a result, runs a bit over thirty-five minutes. I plan someday to switch to the colored version of the graphic, add additional musical material, and release a new full length CD.

The music uses harmonies and forms common to the 16th and 17th centuries placing them in a modern setting. Since the music leads the listener through impressionistic episodes of baroque, folk, orchestral, and jazz styles, it seemed appropriate to use the image of a sailing ship from a bygone era exploring a distant location where it might be said that "no ear has gone before."

The original album concept was submitted to the Takoma Records label, owned at that time by the late John Fahey. Although I was put under contract, the recording was never produced. Later, after being released from Takoma, I produced the album on my own SGM label. Global Pacific Distributors added the cassette as one of its early catalog entries and carried it for several years. Today a CD version is available at my live performances or through mail order. See "The Music" section of this web site.

Liner Notes:

It all has to do with time. Time is to the musician what the canvas is to the painter. He fills it with sound, manipulates it, defines it, and is bounded by it. Tones become colors. Tempo and counterpoint provide textures. Performance and technique bring it to life. This is what EXCURSION is all about; a guided tour to some intriguing impressions and experiences . . . in time.

The influence of John Renbourn is evident throughout this album; particularly in the first selection. I used the form of a 16th century pavan to create Master Corwin, complete with bass counter-melody. Lord Chumley's Revege exchanges a signature riff among the instruments creating an explosive cartoon chase. The daily morning rush becomes a hectic ballet in 4 Cups O' Coffee. Doubled unison guitars employ rhythm patterns of 5-5-5-6, 3-3-3-4, and 4-4-4-5, in The Labyrinth. Inspired by Brubeck and the group Oregon, Q.I. takes a simple melody through a 3-3-3-5 rhythm. M' Lady's Jewels depicts a love scene. Madman's Waltz experiments with shifting the emphasis in time, as if one were trying to dance wearing a ball-and-chain. Specters of J.S. Bach emerge from a visiting spaceship in The Swordsman. Named for a piece by early mentor, Peter Lang, Bituminous Waltz provides the parade finale.

© 2007 Steve Gillman
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