Stars are a Harem

by Micah Gaugh

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The 13-song suite, "Stars are a Harem" is a present-day response to Miles Davis' "Kind of Blue" - music steeped in the tradition of the avant-garde yet the harsh sounds associated with the avant-garde American Jazz music from the 1960's are softened, made round. With words inspired by the witty romance writing of Cole Porter, and songs that were popularized by Billie Holiday or Betty Carter.

Marion Brown had a record "Afternoon of a Georgia Faun" based on the Debussy "Prelude to the afternoon of a Faun", recording the lighter side of improvisational jazz... as a mentor to Micah Gaugh he explained that the subtleties of improvised music could make as strong an impact on the ear as the athletic/frenetic tones of the avant-garde. The vocal range is already a clue to that - acrobatics that are not in the usual vein of male singers in Jazz, but in the context of the record virtuoso techniques are accepted as a norm.

The songs were written as portraits about women - not necessarily completely romantic but the audio to a mind-painting that sums up an experience with the individual women in the songs. The songs were recorded in Harlem by tracking the piano first, then looping the piano and editing it into a song format, secondly the vocals were added to the piano and then the drums. When recording the drums language was used such as "play raindrops" or "alter the time of this song by speeding up the rhythm and slowing the rhythm". The bass was added last of all and Henry Schroy was able to react to the drums after they were placed over the piano and vocal tracks.

Not the standard recording process in Jazz, the record was made first as a solo piano record and then added on to, thus making the process very singular for each musician. This intimacy can be heard, as each of the players has a different and isolated relationship to the sounds and the experience of the compositions. It is almost more of an art project than a recording.


released May 12, 2017

Micah Gaugh - composer, piano, voice, sax

Kevin Shea - drums

Henry Schroy - bass, recording engineer (bass)

Hayato Nakao - recording engineer (drums)

Luqman Brown - recording engineer (voice, piano, sax)

Mixed by Henry Schroy and Chad Zuchegno at The Vibe Recording

Mastered by Emily Lazar at The Lodge assisted by Chris Allgood

Produced by Henry Schroy and Micah Gaugh

Cover photo by Matthew Heyner

Cover model - Leah Benjamin

Back cover photo by Byron Dean (in booklet)

(c) 2017 UT NOSTI


all rights reserved



Sê-lo! Salvador, Brazil

"Sê-lo! is a record label based in Bahia, Brazil.
Releases digital and physical works by innovative, daring artists who take a radical approach to creating sonic/music languages."

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Track Name: The Sky
the sky up above
is filling me with Love
and so are you
the stars in the sea
I will give to thee
what will you give me
the fire of life for you my wife
do you accept
I cried, I cried, you cried
we will cry again
Track Name: Remembering
It’s so easy to sleep
as the flower falls from the tree
you’re so lovely
and the breeze from the sea as the lake
flows by gently awe inspiring
you told me that I would be your Prince
that is left to happenstance
the fire that burned could be seen from across the street
we were camping slightly the moon
in your eyes disappears with the rain
I can’t complain
in the tent we were ghost with a glow so absurd
my word graceful songbird
tried and true what were we supposed to do
what could we do with our time
Track Name: Stars are a Harem
Take it back priestess
take it back your voodoo
queen of the day waiting in line
stop signs warning signs
sitting, leaning, walking through doors
stop signs warning signs
let’s just go out
let’s just travel the world
leave these bars behind
through doors
Track Name: End Of The Line
To begin at the end of the line
you’ll become as a skeleton
holding your tongue you’re afraid to speak
once you were strong, but now you’re weak
today is a very fine day
wonderland when the skies are gray
and your eyes take me far away
and the moon is turned to fog
Oh my, oh my I can’t seem to find my way home
I see sun beams
I’m a star you’re a star we’ll move anything
I feel so good inside
when you hold me in the night
I feel so good inside when you hold me
it’s alright
Track Name: Le Jeune
Missing you makes me so sad
kissing you makes me glad
the youngest in the world
tortured girl skin electric
your eyes everlasting
feathered hair island rare
I’d miss planes for you
just to taste your pleasure dome
I’d miss planes for you just to come into your home
red with wisdom making love
afloat your house a boat
maneros we set sail
Track Name: Go Cross
You must go cross
whether its one or three the same
there’s nothing left to lose
all that’s left is what’s to gain
how high the night seems it is still
within your reach
shadows are night time
that the sun draws on the walls
its fading quickly you must find more beauty
it is all unseen
Track Name: Penny
Find Pennies make a wish
throw that penny to the wind
I found one in a store
but she would not stay awake
save your sleep Penny
for the movie
always saved the day with a smile
she pointed the way to the hotel
Eve and Adam walls
red and velvet halls claws around
Penny please stay awake
save sleep for after the movie
Track Name: Mariposa
And you know sometimes
I feel like I’ve lost what it is to be real
and oh how funny it seems
when I think I know what it means
flowers bloom at your stare
God has put them there
marble are your eyes
you're surrounded by butterflies
there’s a place where we can go
it doesn’t rain or snow
I could take you if you wish
just follow my kiss
Oh how happy we could be
won’t you wait and see
we could fly above the stars
chandeliers and Mars
Track Name: Swans
Swans swim in the Lake
Crystal clear water
shall we make the sun
light streams through windows
you’ll stay here
you are on your way (somewhere)
look your brick on Heaven
what’s in store
St. Are are you with me
St. And walk next to me
St. Air help me breathe
St. Ages when in need
St. Are well why not
St. Ore make me strong
St. Aid if or but
St. Rain like yesterday
Track Name: Little Mountain
I want to kidnap you
and we will go to the zoo
we’ll set all the animals free
a bear for you and a tiger for me
come let’s go run away
we’ll follow the sun ’til the break of day
happiness is not far if you come with me
we’ll steal a car
leaves fall to the ground
drown me in the sound of your voice
tears fall gently
down my dear
we’ll fill up the space between
your soul your lips a field of cream
come go with me leave that sadness behind
Track Name: Izquierdo
we want to take off the mask immediately
what we want in life is for me to be you
reflecting me
All she wanted was
trust between us arguments led to connections
no protection from the cold
she laid her head inside my mind
talk ’till the room disappeared
what we want in life is Love
Track Name: Crystal
Crystal drops from your eyes
I cry to my lover undercover
we will both sweat
Heaven sent you still don’t know yet
what I’d do
it all fell through
First I scream then I cry ’til I dream
we cannot soar anymore my dear it’s done
no coming home
no going home
you are so strong I am weak
I ran to you
I ran ’til you changed your disguise
it’s too late
Track Name: Lola
Lola goes from pole to pole
at each stop a woeful pose
from her head down to her toes
she’s dancing
there’s ballet in a lowly place
a spicy clown with made up face
did not make it off the boat
before she landed here
just something I had to see
a wellspring that took money
only spoke four words
sweetest words I ever heard
voices announce her
invisible come won’t you come onto me
these tales never depart

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