1986… Recalling Animus


In 1986, it all seemed to happen at once. But that’s not to say there wasn’t the silence before the storm. Rewind the cassette tape by 3 years: My first (and last) hang-gliding flight left my wrist in multiple fractures…But what ended up was a kind of epiphany: With a cast on for almost a year, I needed a surrogate instrument. Gone were the 5-hour-a-day classical piano training sessions.

In a reversal of concept that would later become a signature ‘jh0stian’ way of life, piano was replaced by saxophone obsessions – and what opened up was the path to jazz improvisation. Untethered from the miles of sheet music that comes with ‘formal’ piano training, the blank slate of imagination became freedom…

After gaining enough technique on the horn, songs were written in a matter of days. A Tascam 4-track was purchased. In the meantime, the practice of piano came back after a 1-1/2 year hiatus, but this time the sheet music was abandoned for modal improvisation, albeit with a classical resonance. The broken wrist would not be fixed until over 2 decades later, but it was good enough to play in 1-hour stints, which as a matter of detail explains the rushed anxiety of my early recorded keyboard work. At the same time my involvement with the post-punk band Wept was accelerating. The 6th track on their first album is a poetic rendition of ‘Dispersion…’

Animus was recorded in March 1986 over a period of 3-weeks of ‘after school’ afternoons and evenings. These naive compositions still have a place in my heart as the launching point of a lifelong quest that is just now gaining momentum again.

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