A musical tribute

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Tone and Cris at work in the studio

Tone and Alex in the studio

The music of Gulf Islands Suite takes the styling of Romantic and Impressionist composers and places it in a modern West Coast elemental genre. The result is a soundscape of timeless sophisticated music that portrays the essence of the Gulf Islands and brings the listener into their peacefulness.

Alex Höchsmann

Gulf Islands Suite draws on my Romantic inclination and love of the Impressionists. Hearing Hip-Hop artists interjecting jazz and pop riffs into their songs provided me further impetus to proceed. I interjected melodic motifs from Impressionist composers into my songs then expanded that idea to become counter melodies and harmonic threads subtly woven into the underlying fabric. Sometimes these fragments were played forward, backward, upside down or altered with other compositional techniques. Sometimes short motifs were looped together in longer strings; sometimes I used them in their raw form as “quotes”. This became one of the main compositional devices I used when writing the Suite.

Water TaxiTo help create the organic elemental feel of the Islands, the sounds of nature: wind, rain, waves, running water and thunder, were recorded and woven into the underlying texture of each piece. Viewing the magnificent land and seascapes as I rode the water taxi to work each day inspired different pieces of music. I would use harmonic passages and melodic motifs from Romantic and Impressionist compositions as a basis for improvisation in my mind. This became both a point of departure and a key element in Gulf Islands Suite.

I wrote the suite backward from the usual composing methods of harmonizing a melody or writing melody and harmony together. The bed tracks were created and recorded first to set the moods of each island, then I improvised the flute parts, often in one or two takes, which gave the melodies a fresh organic spontaneity. I modified some of the flute parts with digital delay, pitch shifting and flanging to create a broader palette of tonal colors and textures to better capture the essence of the Islands.

Gulf Islands Suite was created, recorded and performed by Alex Höchsmann and myself with the assistance of Chris Kodaly on piano. This new and greatly improved second edition features two original paintings on the cover by Salt Spring artist Diana Dean, and is dedicated to the memory of Constance Clarinda “Goodie” Goodall who first encouraged me to play the flute here on Salt Spring in 1973. I hope you enjoy listening to the music of Gulf Islands Suite as much as we enjoyed making it.

Anthony Prosk


Flute on all tracks - Anthony Prosk
Mandolin on tracks 1, 2 & 7 - Alex Höchsmann
Piano on tracks 3, 4, 5, 6 & 7 - Chris Kodaly
All other parts, all songs - Anthony Prosk or Alex Höchsmann
Orchestration - Anthony Prosk and Alex Höchsmann

Programming on all tracks - Alex Höchsmann
Recording - Alex Höchsmann at Polytone Studios
Mixing and Re-mastering - Greg Pauker at Sculptor Sound
Produced by - Anthony Prosk for Polytone Productions