Artist: Scott DuBois
Album: Summer Water
Label: Sunnyside Records
Year Of Release: 2021
Quality: FLAC (tracks)
1. Into River Fog (4:40)
2. River Otters (4:58)
3. River Driftwood (5:14)
4. Summer Light on Rushing River (11:35)
5. River Before the Storm (5:38)
6. Storm Where the River Meets the Sea (4:33)
7. Sea Before the Storm (3:19)
8. Summer Light on Billowing Sea (12:53)
9. Sea Driftwood (4:43)
10. Sea Otters (4:28)
11. Into Sea Fog (6:25)
There is something entrancing about the natural cycle of water. There is the constant ebb and flow. Then there are the nearly limitless variations, like the lightness of sprinkling rain, babbling brooks or the relentless force of crashing waves and storms. The variety and fluidity of bodies of water has always fascinated guitarist/composer Scott DuBois and inspires his first solo guitar recording, Summer Water, which is also the first recording on his new record label / publishing company, Watertone Music.
Over the course of the past twenty years, DuBois has looked to nature and the seasons to inform his compositions. Recently he has begun to expand his writing to include orchestral music, composing a symphony and a violin concerto, among his other classical works. These experiences have expanded his compositional style and the way he hears music, as DuBois has begun to add this symphonic influence throughout all of his music, regardless of genre. He has created Watertone Music to capture this new direction.
DuBois’s 2015 album, Winter Light (ACT), began a series of recordings featuring music inspired by the four seasons that would be performed by varied ensembles. Winter Light featured DuBois’s quartet of the past 15 years, featuring Gebhard Ullmann, Thomas Morgan and Kresten Osgood, while his 2017 album, Autumn Wind (ACT), added a string and wind ensemble in addition to his quartet.
Summer Water is the third release in the series and a true departure for DuBois. The view of Lake Michigan from his window was a daily reminder of the range of water’s expressive forces. During the bone-chilling Chicago winter of 2019, he wrote pieces for solo guitar that would not only utilize his symphonic compositional voice but would emulate the sound without the use of overdubs, loops or layering. DuBois has captured the textures and colors of an orchestra and has maintained a bold sound, not just in terms of volume, but in the intensity, much as one hears from an orchestra, whether loud or soft. He has also created great variety within the sound and the compositions, an important aspect of his work. All of this was accomplished with the barest of essentials: a solo guitar.
Here are Summer Water’s structure and journeys described in DuBois’s own words:
The first five pieces and the last five pieces mirror each other musically: pieces one and eleven, two and ten, three and nine, etc.—essentially sets of musical variations. The first five pieces are a journey through a river, the last five pieces a journey through a sea, both meeting in the central “Storm Where the River Meets the Sea.” Listeners are invited to start their journeys at either end of the album.
The river is consumed by fog, otters soon appearing as shadowy shapes through the haze. Driftwood lingers along the shore before continuing its journey to a remote place.
Sunbeams lance through the mist, glistening on the river’s rushing rapids brimming with life. In the distance a storm prepares to breach the light.
Thunder, lightning, and fierce wind clamor above the clash of the river and sea, pelted by rain.
Charcoal clouds haunt the sky. Sunlight sparkles on the sea’s mighty waves.
Driftwood continues its odyssey as otters frolic. Fog enshrouds the sea.