The Golden Triangle

Elana had a fairly tight format for the music she wanted to cover with the Electronic Dreams project and the Dreams Word journal.

She summarized it with three words: Progressive, Instrumental, and Electronic, which she referred to as “The Golden Triangle.”

By Progressive, she meant that the musicians deliberately chose to create a new approach to music based on their own interests and discoveries, rather than trying to fit into an existing genre or to sound like anyone else.

By Instrumental, she meant that the human voice was not present at all on the recordings, or was used only as an incidental special effect.

By Electronic, she meant the use of electronics to generate or process sounds in ways that were different than standard, traditional musical instruments.

In addition to these, I feel there was an overall “vibe” that mattered to her: that the music expressed a sense of optimism, grandeur, wonder, optimism, good cheer; many of the musicians discussed spiritual experiences or a positive personal philosophy that was highly influential on their musical choices.

I enjoy almost all the music that Elana loved, and I have wider tastes than she did. I intend to primarily keep to her range of musical themes for this site. I will include some material that might venture somewhat outside her golden triangle; if so, I’ll try to clarify what I think she would have loved, and what might have been outside her preferred range.

In a future essay I will might discuss the personal importance, to Elana and me, of Ulrich Schnauss’s album “A Strangely Isolated Place.” If Dreams Word had been active at the time, I’m sure he would have been a high priority to be interviewed.

There are some musicians Elana would have liked to have interviewed that clearly fit the format, but she simply didn’t get around to it; Ray Lynch is one.

Here is an instant way to identify what “fits the format” as Elana put it. The theme to the TV show “Miami Vice” by Jan Hammer is progressive, electronic, and instrumental, and can be considered deep inside the genre at one end of a continuum. At the other end would be any Wee Tots Holiday Special performance of the song “The Little Drummer Boy.” Not even a combined effort by Dream Theater, Rush, and Yes could turn that song into something progressive.

By the way, she didn’t limit her personal playlist to what was covered in Dreams Word. For instance, she was a tremendous fan of Roger Hodgson’s work in Supertramp and in his solo career (I was foolish enough to bet against her that “Goodbye Stranger” was by the Bee Gees), and enjoyed Glen Campbell’s recording of “Wichita Lineman,” Percy Faith’s “Theme from a Summerplace,” and found Karl Jenkins’ “Benedictus” profoundly moving. Blasting the revamped Guns N’ Roses song “There Was A Time” at high volume and singing along was one of her favorite stress relievers, when she felt upset about unfair situations in life created by immoral people. None of these pieces would have “fit the format” (as she put it) because they added vocals with lyrics, or removed had nothing progressive about them (“Summerplace”), or weren’t electronic music.