For over 20 years, composer, author, producer Bettina Covo and I have shared something of a similar creative simpatico. The projects we have collaborated on are of an eclectic mix, but all have one thing in common – our creative spirits inform one another in archetypal space. It’s no surprise we share a deep appreciation for ancient mythology and the lore of indigenous peoples and places of atmospheric wonder.
This past summer we met to put the finishing touches on a book we are in the process of publishing, A Winter’s Tale. This fairy tale myth, penned by Bettina, carries my book design and is amply illustrated by a selection of my winter photography. Bettina noticed proofs of my Taos Journey book as I readied it for publication. She asked me if I’d share a copy of the book’s design with her and wondered if I would mind if she composed music to possibly accompany the inaugural exhibition of Taos Journey.
I hesitated at first, and we both knew why: My strong predilection for a particular style of modern instrumental – so-called ambient – music. Although I had heard some striking work she’d done in a similar vein, I knew Bettina mainly for her powerful, deep, shadowy songwriting and melodic compositions produced with her husband, flutist, composer, producer Brian D. Taylor.
Instinctively, Bettina knew what would break my silence Can you share with me music you might have in mind? She read my mind, as I had already assembled a mix of Brian Eno/Harold Budd musical compositions from various albums that I planned to loop in the gallery. I sent her my mix along with a PDF proof of Taos Journey and indicated the images that would highlight the exhibition. Furthermore, I offered her a promise: Do your thing. You know what I like. Surprise me. I am not going to ˜art direct what you do.
I kept my promise. A few weeks later, I downloaded a handful of mp3s carrying such titles as Conversations with the Sun, Junkyard Angels, Desert Oceans, Cold Shivers. I was blown away. Bettina informed me she had others in mind and within a short time Ascent to Arcadia and Indian Mother arrived. And this in the midst of personal tragedy – as her husband and lifelong musical collaborator, Brian, died unexpectedly. (Brian’s gentle, magical presence and masterful flute performance can be heard on the album).
Her Rogers had lost its Hammerstein. I quietly pondered how she could finish the project (and certainly didn’t raise the point), as the cuts were rough and in need of technical fine-tuning. I don’t know how, as she has been truly overwhelmed in the aftermath of Brian’s passing, but a rather refined mix of the entire album will play during the Taos Journey exhibition at the Amity Gallery. Distribution of the album on a USB drive attached to a card I’ve designed (see below) will follow in the near future.
I am blessed by this creative partnership and look forward to sharing some of its fruits during the exhibition.The first run of A Winter’s Tale, hot off the press, will be available for the opening reception. Additionally, a Jungian psychology-based œartâ project we collaborated on 24 years ago, Echoes & the Muse, will be on display.
I hope to see you on one of the upcoming November weekends – remember, the show runs the entire month and I’ll be present each weekend!
Autumn cheers, George