Michael Whalen
Like Rain Through My Hands
"Like Rain Through My Hands" is Emmy-award winning composer and recording artist Michael Whalen's first new ambient project in 7 years and his first non-soundtrack CD for Alchemy Records.

When asked why it took him so long to come back to ambient after the success of 1997's "Nightscenes", Michael answers: "I was exploring other musical territory - classical ("Afraid of Thunder" & "The Shadows of October", two jazz records ("North from Riverside" & "Mysterious Ways", a solo piano recording ("The Softest Touch") and a experimental fusion of world, sound design and jazz ("The Border of Dusk"). I also did some cool soundtracks ("Lost Liners", "The Shape of Life" and the just released "From Conception to Birth") I have also gone through a lot of personal changes - divorce, remarriage, moving from Boston to New York City and now I am moving back again. There's a lot of hurdles in front of me to find the focus to come back to ambient. Many people think that ambient is simplistic background noise that floats through gift shops and spas. Real ambient music is about finding the core, the source - - and that is never simple."

"Like Rain Through My Hands" is both a revisiting of the musical landscape of "Nightscenes" and a bold move in another direction toward a more minimal and spacial sonic approach. Whalen continues, "I think a hallmark of all my music is my love of melody and form. Some would say that these things would be an anathema in ambient music but I would disagree. Brian Eno's music is so full of beautiful form or Harold Budd or Mark Isham's work on "Vapor Drawings". These artists continue to influence my solo and soundtrack work. I think it comes down to control. Ambient music cannot sound like it is being controlled - - it needs to feel organic and patient. There can be no sense of a overlay or an expectation in the music - - it ruins the vibe. However, it needs to change and move you along - - like a journey. I like music to take me somewhere. This new recording is about moving from one place to another inside yourself."

"Many people have asked me about the title, 'what does it mean'? The "rain" is time. Lately I have been feeling the weight of time ticking - passing away outside my grasp. Watching my children grow so quickly puts this feeling in context (laughs), but more importantly, time is both so cherished and so wasted in our society - - like water. I thought a metaphor that brought these two ideas together would be interesting."

Coming out at the same time as "Like Rain Through My Hands" is a newly remastered and repackaged version of "Nightscenes" which includes three new tracks. "I am very happy to see this recording available again" says Whalen. "I actually did the new tracks for "Nightscenes" before starting this new project - - it was a good warm-up!"

Next-up for Michael, a busy year of scoring which includes a major series for PBS entitled "Slavery and the Making of America". Visit: http://www.michaelwhalen.com

Available 5/14/04
The Michael Whalen Site

The Shape of Life was my chance to do something I have always dreamed of-create an eight-hour series about ideas and animals that I care very much about. No compromises, no apologies, no one to blame but myself if it did not work. In the documentary film business, this is as good as it gets. The challenge was how to get a broad audience as excited about the ideas and the science as we were. A series about the unsung heroes of the animal kingdom would require a new brand of storytelling. It’s one thing to produce an hour on lions and tigers, it’s another to produce an hour on Sponges! Every aspect of the series needed to be fresh and exciting. When composer Michael Whalen visited us during production in Monterey, he was immediately excited about having a chance to create a musical language for a subject that doesn't already have a genre of music connected with it. Like Michael, I wanted everyone involved with the series to fall in love with not only the animals but the ideas that shape our understanding of these animals. As I hope you will see when you listen to the music, scoring an 8-hour series is a creative marathon. Michael relished the challenge. In the end, I think his music reflects our collective passion for the subject and his own energy translated into one of the most compelling scores I have ever heard..In other words, it rocks! Just see if the spineless heroes of "The Shape of Life" don’t dance in your head as you listen to this collection...

Mark Shelley, Executive Producer
"The Shape of Life"
Michael Whalen: Percussion, marimbas, gongs and tuned metals, Synclavier, synthesizers, ewi, distorted and lead guitars, electronics, sound design, drums, and piano

David Torn: Guitar textures and loops, processed flutes, electronics

Jon Durant: Filter and cloud guitars

Vinny Sabatino: Additional percussion