then i was standing on the highest mountain of them all, and round about beneath me was the whole hoop of the world. and while i stood there i saw more than i can tell and i understood more than i saw; for i was seeing in a sacred manner the shapes of all things in the spirit, and the shape of all shapes as they must live together like one being. and i saw that the sacred hoop of my people was one of many hoops that made one circle, wide as daylight and as starlight, and in the center grew one mighty flowering tree to shelter all children of one mother and one father. and i saw that it was holy.
– Black Elk, Oglala Sioux
Basic tracks for “The Great Hoop” were first started back in 2010 subsequent and prior to one of my many visits with my wife to the Cahokia Mounds, near East St. Louis. At that time, I felt the need to continue themes that I had explored in my previous release, Cahokia. This music is inspired by the Plains Indians of North America. As with Cahokia, I am not aspiring to make Native American music, but to make music that is inspired by these cultures, their history and pre-history, the spaces, colors, flora and fauna, and wide variety of landscapes of the area I live in. During the making of these songs, the writings of Black Elk, of the Oglala Sioux, also came to mind, which I thought was incredible, since I had read then more than 15 years before—his words inspired some of the titles.
I am not of Native American heritage, but since I can remember, I have had a deep and profound respect for the range of traditions and history of the various cultures that we call, “Native American.” My own family history is mixed and shaded by a lack of complete information (like most Americans), but I do know that at least part of my own family history is scattered across Kentucky, Oklahoma, Nebraska and Missouri, so for all I know, I share this ancestry.
Rattles, shakers, bells, cane, bone, bass and cedar flutes, drums, voice, zither, field recordings and keyboards were woven together to create these 5 long atmospheres.
Shane Morris contributed the coyote calls for “Hoop of the Earth” (recorded at his home in Arkansas), and Paul Casper/Frore contributed the astounding textures and percussion for “Medicine Bag Ghosts.” Jill Brand, spirit voice on “Great Plains.” Thanks to Geoff, John and Joel for the their support, as always.
1. Great Plains [16:13]
2. Hoop of the Earth* [16:55]
3. Medicine Bag Ghosts (with Frore)** [11:11]
4. Mountain Pass [15:16]
5. Suspension Vision [12:07]