Welcome to Breakdown, an unofficial resource and discussion list about the innovative guitarist/producer Michael Brook. This site is infrequently updated, but contains a great deal of background info which will remain online. For up-to-date news and information, visit Michael Brook's official site and MySpace page.

Discographies Full details on every record featuring Brook
Black Rock

Black Rock

Djivan Gasparyan & Michael Brook

Available from Amazon.com

Credits

Real World Records
7 September 1998 (UK)

Djivan Gasparyan: duduk, lead vocals
Michael Brook: infinite guitar, bass, keyboard, programming
Richard Evans: guitar, bass, keyboard, programming
Jason Lews: drums, percussion
Roel Van Camp: accordion

Produced by Michael Brook with a lot of input from Richard Evans
Mixed by Michael Brook and Richard Evans
Engineered by Richard Evans; additional engineering by Jacquie Turner; additional assistance by Wendy Levin
Recorded at the ACATIFE studio in Lanzarote ('the Black Rock') in October '97 and at Real World Studios, Box, England
Mixing and additional recording at Hybrid Studios, LA, USA
Mastered by Ron McMaster at Capitol Mastering, LA, USA

A Real World Design
Cover image & graphic design by Tristan Manco
Art direction by Michael Coulson
Photography by Christina Piza
Additional photography and art direction by Martha Ladly
Lyric translations by Narine Gasparyan

Tracks

  1. To The River (Gasparyan, Brook) 4'09
  2. Fallen Star (Gasparyan, Brook) 4'49
  3. Take My Heart (Gasparyan, Brook) 4'34
  4. Together Forever (Gasparyan, Brook, Evans) 6'49
  5. Freedom (Gasparyan, Brook) 5'26
  6. Forbidden Love (Gasparyan, Brook) 5'39
  7. Immigrant's Song (Gasparyan, Brook) 6'56
  8. Dark Souls (Gasparyan, Brook) 5'26

Notes

A review by Richard Peat

As with all of Brook's releases on Real World this is a collaboration. In this instance with Djivan Gasparyan, who is an Armenian Duduk player. This is a small oboe like woodwind instrument with a very Eastern sound. He also sings in Armenian with a very traditional Middle-Eastern style.

Brook is very much in support only on three tracks, "To The River," "Freedom," and "Dark Souls," where the Duduk and Djivan's vocals are brought to the fore. But what about the other five tracks? Well they should send Brook fans wild because the roles are reversed with Gasparyan taking a guest seat to some fantastic Brook compositions.

After the developments in Dream and Albino Alligator, Brook has returned to the sound and style of Cobalt Blue. Brook's signature infinite guitar and keyboard style is in great evident with many changes in tempo beautifully crafted together. When percussion is used here it is acoustic which gives the tracks more depth.

For my money the stand out track is the over 6 minutes long "Together Forever" where the music slowing develops and builds up its layers to a beautiful crescendo.

Though this album is credited to Gasparyan & Brook, in fact there is a third very important collaborator, the English multi-instrumentalist Richard Evans who plays guitar, bass, keyboards and programming on the disc as well as co-producting and mixing all the tracks with Brook. The album foretells of great things to come.

Liner Notes

Djivan Gasparyan is unquestionably one of Armenia's greatest musicians - the foremost living master of the duduk (an ancient oboe-like instrument) having revieved four Gold Medals in UNESCO's worldwide competitions. A professor at the Yerevan Conservatory, he has educated a whole generation of duduk players and has brought the duduk out of obscurity and into the international music scene.

Canadian Michael Brook's credits as producer, engineer and virtuoso guitarist have graced albums by some of the past decade's most celebrated and forward-thinking artists. His own music, born of a love for Middle Eastern and Indian melodies, is an admixture of ethnic and electronic elements; its undeniable pictorial qualities have been recognized by the many directors whose films Michael has scored.

With these recordings, Djivan Gasparyan and Michael Brook have fashioned a unique musical hybrid. The duduk is prominently featured, as one might expect, but a surprise is in store for those not yet appraised of Gasparyan's vocal capabilities; his singing is vibrant and assured, its timbral colours neatly dovetailing with the warm, slightly nasal tone of the duduk. Both instruments are displayed to best advantage against the varied arrangements drafted and performed by Brook, with help from the English engineer and multi-instrumentalist Richard Evans.

To the River A fisherman's song. "My hands are wet with blood and sweat but I work to sell the fish and buy bread. The moon shines and the night is dark but I go to the river with the net in my hands."

Dark Souls Two travellers dressed in rags say to one another: "We have loved but sorrow is in our souls. We love to travel and to dream and to sail past the stars of the Milky Way. Out childhood passes through the stars, our sorrowful childhood that was never consoled. Life was full of seeking and passed us by like a dream. I want to sing the glory of God and the glory of life, but my heart fills with sorrow and I sing the song of our hard, dark days. Nobody understood us in this life and light never entered into our darkened souls. Life becamse an unconsolable delirirum."

Take My Heart A love song: "I wish you were a flower in my garden. I wish you were a bird flying over my garden. I wish you were with me, my love. Stay with me, don't cause me too much pain. You may take my heart away if you wish, only please don't leave me. Stay with me and I will do anything for you.

Together Forever Another love song. "I do not know where the road leads but I sit here and wait for you. I pray for you, my love. Where is the bright day? Where are you? I know we will be together forever. You will come and bring new joy into my dark heart. I miss you, my love.

Freedom A patriotic song of independence. A man is looking at Mount Ararat and wishing he could get to his motherland, but black clouds have darkened his way. "Your cool waters are so dear to me, let's drink your cool water to the memory of our grandfathers. I love your high mountains. We will fight for your freedom, my sweet motherland, in memory of our grandfathers."

Fallen Star A mother's song. She is crying over the dead body of her son, who died the death of a hero fighting for his motherland. "Cry with me purple flowers, cry with me cold winds. That bright star of mine has fallen, the bright sky is covered with dark clouds. I am alone in this world. My brave son has a warm bullet in his heart, instead of his lover's warm kiss."

Forbidden Love A bard, a musician in the Sultan's palace, loves the Sultan's daughter. But this is unacceptable and the Sultan wants to sentence him to death. "You are a golden cup full of immortal water for me. Your lips are diamonds, your tongue is sugar. You are everything to me. You came out from the sea of fire and changed my tears into blood. Let them kill me, still I love you, my dearest. Nothering else remains for me in this world."

Immigrant's Song "Through endless steps my caravan, passing through foreign lands. Take me to my homeland - the land of sunshine where songs sound, where forever it is spring."

Track notes

• "Take My Heart" is also available on Real World Notes 6.

Images

Black Rock

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