New York City’s multi-reedist Doug Wieselman releases his debut solo album today titled From Water via Figureight Records. Using the distinct sound of the clarinet, he weaves its sound in and out using recorded loops, like waves softly lapping the shoreline. The album is innovative and at the same time brings us back to times gone by. The album was recorded by Shahzad Ismaily and mixed by Bryce Goggin at Trout Recording

Doug explains that “this is music primarily made from melodies that I have heard from bodies of water – ocean beaches, streams, hot springs as well as wind. These melodies sound to me like a chorus of exuberant voices. Each melody is specific to the place. If I return to a beach, even after many years, I hear the same song. I think this has something to do with what the earth can tell us, if only we can take the time and patience to listen. This is an attempt to share what I have been hearing, through the filter of my perception, from water.”

We caught up with Doug and asked him to pick three albums that have influenced him and his music. These are his picks.

The album is available here:

The Beatles – White Album

I’ve been listening to this since I was 14. It was entering a world that was a little beyond my comprehension, but I spent a lot of time with the headphones on with this. It was about 20 years later that I had kind of a revelation about it, having not listened to it for a long time. I was struck by the way they really played together as a band – breathing together with a beautiful rhythmic feel. Also, I was struck but the structure of the songs – for example ‘Sexy Sadie’ which is very circular. At the instrumental break, one almost forgets that you are in the song – like going somewhere else – and then Lennon comes back singing, and you realize you’ve been in this song the whole time. Also, sonically it is very unique – from very pure to very processed and a lot of air. It’s a little like the Beatles are kind of through the other side of the looking glass, cutting across and playing with genres. I started to look at structure and sound, and playing in a new way after that “revisit”.

John Cage (performed by Maro Ajemian)Sonatas and Interludes for Prepared Piano

I love this performance even though it is an older recording from 1951. The invention of the prepared piano, and the beautiful sound is what first comes to mind – particularly the harmonics and difference tones that are produced. Another aspect is the structure of these pieces – how Cage organizes the sounds into coherent pieces. You can really hear the “story” of the structures in these pieces – as well as being seduced by the mysterious beauty of the sound. Again, this record has made me look and structure and sound in new ways.

Billie HolidayThe Billie Holiday Story Vol 3

At some point in my 20’s I finally “got” Billie Holiday and it was a revelation – most notably her phrasing. She was able to bend and shape her phrases around the time that was happening – both respecting the time and playing with it. This was the collection that I heard at a friend of mine’s house, so it was the one I started with and listened to many times. Besides her singing, the small band ensembles of the stellar musicians as well as the arrangements were great things from which to learn.

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