About this Recording
11022-2 - CLARK, David Antony: Before Africa

In his latest album release, Before Africa, David Antony Clark has shifted continents, crossing the Indian Ocean to set down on the shores of a lake in Tanzania, eighty thousand years ago. This area on the east coast of Africa is now home to one of the world's largest concentrations of wildebeest in the Serengeti and the Olduvai Gorge, and it was here that fossil skeletons were discovered that are some of the most ancient remains of the ancestors of modern humankind.

"When I travelled through Africa, I was overwhelmed by the strong visual elements I discovered there," David says, "and I was inspired to imagine the African continent, hundreds of thousands of years ago, teeming with wildlife, the wide open spaces vibrant with colour. While this is all purely musical impressionism, that is precisely what I wanted to convey in my album Before Africa.

"I do a lot of reading before I begin my musical projects. This time I immersed myself in literature about Africa and its early origins, including the works of anthropologists Richard Leakey and Donald Johanson. It was actually through all the reading that I developed the primitive images for this album. I must have read at least twenty books, and before I knew it, I became completely absorbed in a picture that developed into my album Before Africa.

"When I was ready to record, I took my son Stephan to the beach to collect shells, sticks and stones," David says. A dazzling variety of sounds were banged or shaken out of the many organic materials, then digitally sampled to develop the basis for Before Africa's infectious rhythms. The additional ethnic drumming was provided by Sam Manzanza, a Zairean now resident in New Zealand.

There is a strongly evocative sense of place and mood that pervades this album, something that David Clark does superbly. It is perhaps appropriate that he has chosen this soundscape to be his most rhythmically adventurous exploration to date, for its rhythms suggest the stirring origins of mankinds' creativity. As with his first two albums, he has used a variety of flute sounds, and in particular, some ingenious hand made calls. These are some of the intriguing sounds that give authenticity to the ethnic atmosphere of his vibrant and lively sound images.

In David's first two releases for White Cloud, Terra Inhabitata, Uninhabited Land, (White Cloud 11008) and Australia Beyond the Dreamtime (White Cloud 11013) he has painted primordial landscapes of New Zealand and Australia with his neo-primal musical colours and textures.

David Antony Clark is a new style of explorer, roaming the world to discover new musical horizons. His spirit of enquiry is guided not by the compass of earlier adventurers, but by his own unique musical discoveries. With his music he maps out a new musical terrain that describes the origins and routes his fellow creatures may have taken many millions of years ago.

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