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'360 degrees of freedom is overwhelming in music, and you need not truly begin to find freedom until you put yourself under extremely narrow constraints.' It was with this quote that Don Slepian laid the groundwork for over 40 years of musical output. Slepian's work draws equally from the harmonic terrain he explored while performing with a Javanese gamelan ensemble, as well as his time spent building and modifying electronic audio equipment for studios and fellow musicians.
Gravitating towards improvisation and experimentation, Slepian built a breathtaking sound-world that stretched the briefest of moments into an eternity of detail and depth. In 1980, Slepian self-released a series of cassette albums that built upon and perfected this practice, offering New Music for Digital Orchestra. New Dawn is one of those albums -- an enthralling example of New Age euphoria, and early-electronic experimentation. New Music For Digital Orchestra? An ironic subtitle for an album without any traces of digital technology found within.
The instruments, tools, and recording techniques are entirely analog. A Korg PS3100, Mellotron voices, Mellotron flutes, analog tape echo and analog recorder were used to create both of the pieces found on New Dawn with both tracks being recorded live with no overdubs.