Catalogue:  Otter Bay Productions	 
recordings to delight the ear 

What Is Your Name  OB106
songs from somewhere else
Robert Minden & Carla Hallett

  1. The Waiting Room
  2. Why Do You Want To Know?
  3. Words Never Spoken
  4. A Woman from the Prairies remix
  5. The Courtroom
  6. Little Green Secrets
  7. Are You Now remix
  8. Blood Stranger
  9. Reflection
10. Union Station
11. Waltz

DESCRIPTION: 11 lyrical story-based songs, quiet musings set to an unusual mix of familiar and unfamiliar resonant acoustic sound sources exploring hidden emotional realities concealed in the narrative of adoption and otherness.

Recorded in five sound studios in Vancouver, Banff and Toronto, Minden and Hallett's music evokes a curious cinematic quality. Wonderfully layered arrangements reveal a colourful palette of acoustic sounds (blown tuned glass bottles are used extensively). One is taken on a journey through an unexpected sonic environment interspersed with the affecting sound of musical saw and the whale-like watery calls of the waterphone that sometimes feels like a music from an imagined place. Hallett's natural, delicate vocals are sensitive in timbre and resonance. And the songs speak with a quiet, rebellious intensity.


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Robert Minden: What Is Your Name (Songs from Somewhere Else)

Like Light Off Water   OB105
Daphne Marlatt reads passages from her classic work Steveston
with music by Robert Minden & Carla Hallett

 1. Imagine: a town
 2. Ghost
 3. Response
 4. like light off water

 5. Moon
 6. Intelligence (as if by radio?
 7. where river runs
 8. how it pours (from "Steveston, BC")

DESCRIPTION: Enter a fascinating aural universe encompassing the lyrical intensity of Daphne Marlatt's poetry. Canadian composers Robert Minden and Carla Hallett score for an array of vintage waterphones, bowed carpenter¹s saws, found object percussion and voice  -a world of splendid acoustic sound. A delicate resonance of microtonal nuance and lyrical intimacy surrounds Marlatt¹s poetic voicing, rhythm and imagery. Her words bring you to the river's mouth and into a sensuous landscape of lives lived in canneries, fishing camps, on the sea and over time. Those already familiar with Marlatt's  writing as well as the newly introduced will find that listening to her exquisite reading offers an unusual entrance into her evocative world. This fascinating CD offers a deeply felt experience that takes you gently in.

REVIEW:  "stunning! " Sheryl Mackay, North By North West, CBC Radio

REVIEW: "Like Light Off Water is a new kind of soundscape, the musical score of 3 psyches collaborating on what is certainly one of the great poems of the recent past."  {Craig Tapping, Department of English, Vancouver Island University, Nanaimo, Canada   November 2008}

REVIEW: "Pure poetry, pure sound, shifting the listener's consciousness to the depths of pure feeling." Dianne Wells, The WholeNote Magazine, April 2009

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Daphne Marlatt, Robert Minden, Carla Hallett: Like Light Off Water

are you now    OB104                         
Robert Minden and Carla Hallett

  1. Prelude  MP3
  2. Are You Now
  3. Terra Cotta
  4. Duet
  5. Tell Me
6. A Woman From The Prairies  MP3
  7. MmmHaa MP3
  8. Wait, I See The Wind
  9. Lullaby
10. Witness
11. Free Fall
12. Taken MP3
13. Quintessence

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DESCRIPTION: Robert Minden and Carla Hallett join together as a duo to produce this soaring new CD which will delight and tempt the listener. It is an invitation into a sensuous aural landscape resounding with an earthy timbre. The instruments are an orchestra of the unlikely, a diverse universe of luxurious acoustic sound: musical saws, multiphonic waterphones, blown bottles, floating bowls and yesterday's toy piano joined with Hallett's darkly, intimate voice. This is an exquisitely delicate work of new sounds and new songs .

REVIEW: "wonderfully strange" Alexander Varty, The Georgia Straight, Vancouver, Canada

"Entering are you now, the CD debut of the Robert Minden/Carla Hallett duo, is like walking into a sunlit living room only to find yourself falling through outer space: everything familiar is suddenly strange, and whatever footing you might have had proves pleasantly treacherous. It takes only a moment to make the shift from the everyday to the extraordinary: the calm piano at the beginning of "prelude" leads you in and a warm, wordless vocal bids you welcome, but then the keening whistle of a musical saw slices through the tranquillity and the round tones of the piano are replaced by the breathy sussurations of end-blown plastic pipes and a bottle orchestra. One minute and two seconds later you are thoroughly entranced, and the spell remains unbroken for the next three-quarters of an hour." ...

"As a singer, Hallett manages to be both assured and fragile: there's a yearning quality to her voice that is deeply touching..."
( Alexander Varty, The Georgia Straight, Vancouver, Canada,  March 30 2000)

REVIEW: "are you now, a sometimes haunting sonic exploration that introduces Hallett's lyrics and vocals to the mix, recorded at the Banff Centre for the Arts. Moving yet slightly whimsical... Minden and Carla Hallett are musical adventurists who've earned international acclaim for found-sound recordings."
(Tom Zillich, WestEnder, Vancouver, Canada  January 6 2000)

REVIEW: "As a whole, are you now puts the listener inside a nocturnal space, a place of dreams and yearning. Sound contours are shaped by piano, toy piano, floating metal pots, glass bottle orchestras, theremin, saw and more."
(Michael Becker, North Shore News, North Vancouver, Canada  January 21, 2000)

REVIEW:  "...superb sonic treat."  
(Joseph Blake, Times Colonist, Victoria, Canada)

LABEL COMMENTS: The tracks of this carefully recorded CD connect to each other unobtrusively creating one shimmering piece. The songs arouse. The quirky instrumentation delights. The nighttime voice of Carla Hallett traces a fragile yet unfaltering elegance. Music to nourish the senses and secret reverie.

Robert Minden & Carla Hallett: Are You Now

Whisper in My Ear    OB103
Robert Minden Ensemble

 1. Seventh Avenue
 2. Why Don't We
 3. Joshua's Lament
 4. I'll Tell You When We Get There
   WAV  MP3
 5.Fowl Play or  I Wouldn't Want to be a Duck in Montana
 6. Wisteria the Cow
 7. Whisper in my Ear
   WAV  MP3
 8. Music for Recycled Bottles
 9. Night Kitchen
10. Bittersweet Time
11. Add a Little Spice
   WAV  MP3
12. Milk Bottle Gambol
13. Stellar Express
14. Z 1000

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Robert Minden Ensemble: Whisper in My Ear

DESCRIPTION: Explores the full range of the Ensemble’s orchestra of abandoned objects. A celebration of the acoustic sounds of junk.

REVIEW: “The clever layering of gentle musical sounds inspired by household articles is sheer genius”
(RPM Chart Weekly)

REVIEW: "This 'environmental chamber orchestra' sounds sometimes Balinese, sometimes Andean, sometimes the way whale music would sound if whales had toes to tap, sometimes like the house band at the restaurant at the end of the universe...astonishingly accurate intonation on recycled instruments. In a beautifully produced recording, this group conveys intelligence, humour, manic inventiveness and oceanic friendliness."          
(Gary Norris, Canadian Press 1994)

Long Journey Home   OB102
Robert Minden Ensemble

 1. Alone Together
 2. Saskatchewan From the Train
   WAV   MP3
 3. Eclipse of the Moon
 4. Forgotten Voices
 5. Oil Over Water
 6. Met Anyone Interesting Lately?
 7. Night Train
   WAV  MP3
 8. Phosphorescence
   WAV  MP3
 9. And Days are as Grass
10. Fanfare for the Home Planet
11. Epilogue
   WAV  MP3

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Robert Minden Ensemble: Long Journey Home

DESCRIPTION: Freshly minted acoustic music composed and performed on invented instruments. There are no electronics here. No samplers. No synthesisers. Instead the listener is invited on an acoustic journey richly textured with found and ancient sounds. New sounds for contemporary ears.

REVIEW: "A bizarre and compelling aural adventure"  
(Canadian Composer 1993)

REVIEW: "An atmospheric New Age recording with a liveliness and intelligence that will make you sit up and take notice"
(Joseph Blake, Times-Colonist, Victoria, BC Canada 1993)

REVIEW: "Strikingly original works that defy categorization"
(Marke Andrews, Vancouver Sun, Canada 1992)

The Boy Who Wanted To Talk To Whales  OB101
Robert Minden Ensemble

  1. Ginger Snap
  2. Overture
  3. Midnight Dream
  4. The First Journey
  5. Serenade MP3
  6. The Second Journey
  7. Reprise
  8. The Boy Who Wanted To Talk To Whales (theme)
  9. Log-A-Rhythm
10. The Train Story
11. The Third Journey MP3
12. Whale Song MP3
13. Journey Home
14. The Boy Who Wanted To Talk To Whales (instrumental)

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DESCRIPTION: A contemporary folk tale for storyteller, percussion and acoustic inventions. The original story recounts the adventure of a boy compelled by a powerful dream to talk to the great whales. His encounter with a curious musician playing music on a carpenter's hand saw is the beginning of a musical adventure filled with possibility and discovery. The recording is an excellent resource for educators and is especially useful for teaching units in found sound, storytelling and whales.

Nominated for Best Children's Album JUNO AWARD 1990/ Canada

REVIEW: "There has never, ever, been an album in Canada (or anywhere else) quite like this one for younger listeners and it might be a long while yet before anyone else comes close to following the Minden Ensembles' act... An original tale that meshes a young boy's dream of talking to whales with his very real quest to do so. Minden's program isn't anything like the usual run of accompanied songs that deal with all sorts of things kids already know something about. You can't listen to this album in neatly segmented and fast-paced chunks (the 37 minute poem-story-instrumental suite runs continuously)...The Boy Who Wanted to Talk to Whales may be the most unusual young people's album you hear this year; it will also be one of the very best. Highly recommended for ages five and up, approximately."
(Pauline Durichen Aug. 23, 1990, Kitchener-Waterloo Record, Canada)

REVIEW: "The recording begins with percussion played on empty tin cans, a porcelain cream jar, a Slinky - and a host of other things. The sound is haunting and mysterious - punctuated by the sound of a conch shell and gently lapping waves. Then, a voice - a quiet, gentle voice - intones, "There was once a boy who lived near the ocean...." And the story begins, the story of a boy compelled by a powerful dream to talk to the great whales. It's a story, according to Minden, that was more than three years in the making. "It was crafted in performance," he says,"very, very slowly." The music is original and the instruments unaffected. "We don't use synthesizers or electronically-generated sounds," he says, "not even in the recording." ... The Boy Who Wanted To Talk To Whales is an exceptional album - and well-deserving of a Juno nomination." (Jackie Hubbard March 15, 1990, Oakville Today, Canada)

REVIEW: "The Vancouver-based Robert Minden Ensemble began very quietly to make music - intriguing, acoustic music that has so far managed to escape classification. The ensemble's music is unmistakably modern (their instruments consist of vacuum cleaner hoses, cardboard packing tubes, driftwood logs, mixing bowls, glass bottles, and a whole array of household items, urban castoffs, and found junk), but their sensitive, melodic, simple approach to music-making infuses their work with an ancient quality. ... Their music is quite difficult to describe in words. They have uncovered and discovered ways of making beautiful music on the most unlikely objects imaginable. But for all their experimentation, the Robert Minden Ensemble has never lost a sense of connection with their audience. Instead of becoming lost in abstractness and complexity, their music maintains a strong and focused sense of direction. They are honest musical explorers, seeking to widen their already vast catalogue of sounds, and to open our ears to the musical potential that is all around us."
(Ken Shorley,Natural Life, January 1995

ARTIST BIOS: Robert Minden, an aspiring concert pianist-turned-sociologist-turned musical saw player, formed the ensemble in 1986 with his two daughters Andrea and Dewi Minden, both classically-trained instrumentalists and French horn player, Carla Hallett.
Andrea Minden brings a background in classical flute, her fascination with dance and movement, and her virtuostic spoon playing techniques to the ensemble's unique sound.
Dewi Minden is a classically educated trumpet player, composer/ arranger and music teacher. Her work in the Ensemble included arranging the ensemble's original work for an orchestra of water-tuned bottles, and the unlikely quartet of trumpet, flute, French horn and musical saw. Carla Hallett, French horn and experimental vocalist-composer, joins her voice with the sounds of conch shell, glass bottles, and carpenter's hand saw.

LABEL COMMENTS: While this recording is especially good for families with young children it's appeal is certainly not limited to children. The Boy Who Wanted To Talk To Whales speaks to the intelligence and that place of delight and wonder in all of us. The story is intimate, engaging and satisfying and the music that roams through this remarkable tale is familiar and unfamiliar all at the same time.
Minden takes us gently by the hand on a journey through a wide range of emotions where it is safe to experience them. We are invited into a landscape of wonder, discovery, fear and passion, which resolves into an awareness of possibility.
(Nancy Walker, Otter Bay Productions)

Robert Minden Ensemble: The Boy Who Wanted To Talk To Whales

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