Remixes, Girls, & Apostolic Dreams

(GIRLZX3 back cover artwork, by Michael Calabris)


Much of my creative work during the last two months has consisted of remixing tracks for several of my older albums; albums I intend to reissue this year. It’s likely that much of my creative work in the very near future will continue to consist of remixing, given the scope of these remixing/reissuing project.

My goal for these remixes is not only to make the older albums sound (much!) better than the original versions, but ultimately to release versions of these albums that won’t require future remixing. Though I love and enjoy remixing, it is a labor-intensive activity, and I have several major composition projects I’ve put on hold until the remix/reissue project is complete.

The remixed albums I definitely intend to release this year include the three-volume Electronic Music Film Scores; Frankenstein, The Monster, The House of Ghosts: Film Scores by Michael Calabris; and Mata Hari.


One of the albums I intended to remix/reissue this year was Rock Music.

(Rock Music front cover artwork, by Michael Calabris)

Given that the reissue of Mata Hari will have a new composition in place of the rock instrumentals that were on the original release version, I decided to repurpose those tracks, as it were, and create a new track list for Rock Music.

Perhaps inevitably, as I was considering this new and improved version of Rock Music, I also considered reissuing Heartbreakers, though it is not an old album (it was released on Valentine’s Day last year). During this same time, I was also considering putting together a 2023 Valentine’s Day album.

(Heartbreakers front cover artwork, by Michael Calabris)

As I was considering the new album and its themes, as well as these two earlier albums, I naturally began remembering the sources of inspiration for these pieces. Many – most – of these pieces had the same or a similar source of inspiration. Like my keyboard improvisations, my popular music-like instrumentals are almost always inspired by my relationships. As happens in life, some of these relationships ended in heartbreak, and that heartbreak lit a fire of creativity in me. I’ve always said that nothing inspires artistic creativity more than does a broken heart.

It became clear to me that in some instances, the number of works inspired by, for example, a single incident or person, almost made me feel that I had in effect (and completely unintentionally) created monuments to people, incidents, memories, that in every other way were best left in the past forever.

As I’ve mentioned in previous posts, I work through my grief via my compositions. Nonetheless, considering many of these rock/pop/etc., pieces now – with considerable temporal/emotional distance – I realized that, while I love all the these tracks, there were certain tracks inspired by the same people/events that in and of themselves most effectively communicated whatever it was I was trying to communicate, thus reducing the need to reiterate the message.

If you’re reading between the lines (which would be appropriate, since I’m writing between the lines, as it were), you’ll understand that this was an emotional rather than strictly artistic decision – and that the tracks I’m referring to specifically are from Rock Music and Heartbreakers. The instrumentals on Mata Hari were inspired by women whom I’ve not only never met, but who passed away long ago. Thus the issue of reiteration as described above does not apply.

With these things in mind, rather than reissue Rock Music and Heartbreakers, or release a new Valentine’s Day album, I decided to bring together the best, most representative tracks from both, combined with some new tracks, thus creating a sort of “greatest hits” of my popular-style instrumentals. This one album would communicate what was earlier communicated over the course of several albums.

This new “greatest hits” album is entitled GIRLZX3. The title is, of course, a sort of play on words.


(GIRLZX3 front and back cover art, by Michael Calabris)

The previously mentioned newer tracks that were intended for the 2023 Valentine’s Day album include Tigerlily, Niloofar, Lily, You’re Breaking My Heart, and one of my very favorites, When You Were My Girl.

With the release of GIRLZX3, these popular-style instrumentals will once again be available for you to enjoy – and with greatly improved playback quality! All the tracks on the album (including the newer ones) have been remixed for this release.

I don’t yet have a definite release date for GIRLZX3. However, I’m aiming for releasing it sometime in March, or maybe early April.


As I mentioned in a previous newsletter, I decided earlier this year to approach Night Music differently than I had originally intended. Some of the tracks on that original version of the album were released on Experiment & Illusion.

Also earlier this year, I decided I’d like to compose a new work for organ. While working on one of the compositions for the new version of Night Music, it occurred to me that it would be nice to compose an electroacoustic work for organ. Combining electronics with organ was perhaps an inevitable music marriage for me.

As one might expect, electroacoustic music is naturally experimental. Given its challenges (e.g., a live performer performing a sort of concerto with an “orchestra” consisting of prerecorded sounds of all kinds), many such works tend to be extremely free in form, and slower in tempo.

The electroacoustic works for organ with which I was familiar didn’t often treat the organ in an idiomatic fashion. Rather, for the most part, in those works the organ was simply just another timbre.

As I began conceiving this new composition, I decided that: 1.) the piece would be in the style of many of my newer electronic works (works that are often frenetic in both tempo and character), with a clearly defined structure, and, 2.) the organ part would be treated idiomatically. In other words, I decided that this electroacoustic work for organ would be completely different from any others with which I was previously familiar.

Originally, the piece had no title. I didn’t want to give the piece a generic title, so, as I sometimes do with works that are more “abstract”‘self-referential, I listened to the completed recording and took the title from mental images that occurred to me while listening to the music.

The piece was eventually titled An Apostle Remembers the Emperor in a Dream. Composer and organist Carson Cooman recorded the organ part, and you can listen to the complete recording on his YouTube channel.

Here’s the program note I prepared for the score – a note that explains the title’s rationale:

The origin of the title comes from various mental images I associated with what might be considered this piece’s ‘B section.’ In this part of the score, the previously frenetic tempo slows considerably, and the dynamics become quieter. The mood here is mysterious; the atmosphere cavernous.

The organ enters this part of the score (so to speak) rather warily. Gradually, it finds itself in the midst of a mysterious, spiritual place. Eventually, the organ and electronics are heard at virtually the same dynamic, though each retains its particular character.

The music brought to mind images of first century C.E. Rome; a time and place when religion permeated every aspect of one’s life. I thought of the impressive temples as well as of the mysterious sanctuaries where worshipers were initiated into the ‘mysteries’ of Greece, Egypt, and Western Asia; cults whose origins lie in untold antiquity.

I also thought of Rome‘s ancient catacombs, and of the traditions of Christians having met there to worship when the practice of their faith was still deemed treasonous by the Roman authorities.

The kaleidoscopic nature of these images resulted in a mental association with the Book of Revelation, and of its author, St. John the Divine. I imagined him as an old man, sleeping on a rocky terrain under the stars, remembering the various things he had witnessed in the course of his ministry—and how these oneiric recollections might have served as a kind of foreshadowing of the revelation for which he is best known.

I’m incredibly proud of this composition and the recording.

A shout-out to Carson Cooman. My friends, if you are not familiar with Carson’s work, I would strongly encourage you to check it out.

No organist alive today – perhaps no organist who has ever lived – has done more to perform, record, and generally promote the organ music of his or her time as has Carson Cooman. His life, his work, his passion, his incredibly attention to detail as both a composer and interpreter/performer – are gifts that bless so many people.

Please be sure to check out Carson’s website (, as well as his YouTube channel ( Particularly if you enjoy listening to organ music, there is no other channel on YouTube like it.

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