Summer may not be here quite yet, but you can catch a musical glimpse of it via this week’s Project: Archives post. “Memories of Summer” was originally the lead-off track to my 1988 song collection Images of Autumn, but I also gave it a slight reworking and included it on my three song demo two years later. Ordinarily, every track on a themed album like this would be directly related to or reflective of its theme, but for this one, I decided to do something a little different. Rather than launch headlong into the moodier fare that I knew would play such a predominant role on Images, I decided to start with a bit of joyful reflection, offering some contrast and context to the rest of the material that followed.
Year Composed: 1990
About the Song
In terms of sheer musical output, I don’t know if I’ll ever be able to top 1987. I somehow managed to complete five song collections (six if you count an album of holiday music) and had learned an awful lot, both creatively and technologically, in a very short amount of time. Although 1988 would prove to be less prolific overall, it represents one of the most significant periods of growth and development in my musical history.
Following my trip overseas that summer, I returned to the studio with some new equipment and a wealth of ideas, quickly completing three song collections in rapid succession. Eire, my tribute to the traditional music of Ireland, was followed by Panoramia, a collection of tone poems inspired by some of the places I visited while in Europe, which was in turn followed by the seasonally-themed Images of Autumn. The idea behind Images was that it would serve as the first in a series of works designed to evoke the spirit and character of each season. The focus was firmly on telling a story through music – a theme or goal that I would carry with me to this day – and on incorporating as many different aspects of what fall represented to me as possible. I knew going in that there would probably be a lot of moodier material here, but I also wanted to make sure that it didn’t become one-dimensional. With this in mind, I decided to kick off the album with a transitional track that could offer some contrast against what would follow. “Memories of Summer” offers a look back at the carefree bliss of sunnier days, only suggesting the fact that those days are now gone with a sudden turn to a minor key at the very end. I remixed this track to serve as the second song on my three-song demo in 1990, and that is the version I present to you here.
Images of Autumn was, is, and probably always will be my favorite collection of early instrumental songs. For me at least, it represents the perfect balance of improvisation and craft, where the ideas are allowed plenty of freedom to shape and guide the music, but also where structure and convention aren’t completely thrown to the wind. I can listen to Images today and still feel what I was feeling when I wrote it: it has a unique emotional immediacy that a lot of my other early work seems to lack. It’s something I can look back on and still be very proud of because I feel it accomplished exactly what I set out to do with it: encapsulate the essence of my favorite season of the year in all its varied hues and temperaments.