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MP3 Doug Ordunio - Unknown Worlds

Meditative electronics

8 MP3 Songs
ELECTRONIC: Ambient, NEW AGE: Meditation

Doug Ordunio

I began to write music in 1971 at the age of 21, and for the most part have created pieces that were notated. However, once I began to experiment with electronic synthesizers during the early 1980s, I turned more to improvisation. One of the things I learned early about writing music as I also discovered was true about using words and writing poetry—less is more. Simplicity is a virtue in music.
These pieces are some of my more successful expressions. Most of this music was played on an Oberheim Matrix 6 keyboard being run by the sequencer on a Casio CZ 5000. Only Evening on a Lake and Heaven’s Gate were not sequenced.

Evening on a Lake was a total improvisation played into a tape recorder just as you hear it here on an evening in 1984. I sat down at the keyboard, cleared my mind of the clutter, and began to play. About seven minutes later, when I had finished on an F major chord, I played it back and commented to myself that it wasn’t half bad. Then of course I had to sit down and write out the music which was a bit of a task, but I was always good at copying out music so it wasn’t a big problem.

Agra Heatwave is about my love of East Indian music. I became obsessed with the recordings of Ravi Shankar soon after I heard him for the first time in the mid 1960s. It took a few months to understand what was going on in that ancient and venerable style. I was hypnotized by all the microtonal passages. After I listened to that recording thirty or forty times, the light bulb came on above my head, and I began to understand what it was all about. It was not until the mid 80s that I decided to try to emulate the sound of Indian music. This is only an emulation because it is not based on any Indian scales. It is, so to speak, my impression of Indian music. First I created the patch that was going to give the tambura (or droning) sound in the background. Then I found the proper sound for the solo instrument. The harmonic sweetening in the background was the last part to be played. I wanted to give the feeling of a sweltering day, shimmering with heat outside the Taj Mahal.

Moon Prayer is a quiet meditative piece for synthesized clarinet against a background that gives the feeling of a pipe organ. It was created in the mid 1980s.

Infinite Lines #1 is made up of two energetic and syncopated melodies which have identical rhythms, and are synchronized together only at the beginning of the piece. At about 26 seconds after the beginning, they repeat, but at its conclusion, the first melody is truncated by an eighth beat. At each repetition, they get apart by another eighth of a beat. Eventually, after many minutes, the two voices would finally sync back up to the way they are at the beginning. This example of the work fades after about 7 minutes, or roughly after 16 repetitions of the melody.

The Knees of My Heart Shall Bow is a beautiful line from Balualow (Scottish word for “lullaby”) which is one of the pieces in Benjamin Britten’s A Ceremony of Carols.
It is the most complex work on this recording. I first put together the piece back in the 1980s, but over 20 years later I discovered something unusual about the piece when I turned it into a gigantic canon. I laid the entire piece over itself, starting at about 37 seconds in. This is the 2007 version of the piece

Heaven’s Gate is another canonic work from late 2007. It is designed as a piece to quiet the mind and soul.

Pernod on the Rocks The history of the Pernod company in France is an interesting one and I suggest that you make your own investigation of it. They were the original manufacturers of absinthe, the drink enjoyed by Baudelaire, Rimbaud and others of the time. Pernod is an interesting beverage although it is no longer made with wormwood. It is still tasty on the rocks as an after-dinner drink. The way it changes from clear to cloudy with the addition of ice, much like Greek ouzo is magical.

The Journey is a trip through nature and it reminds me of a solitary ride I took one afternoon from a friend’s house in Ojai up through the Los Padres forest past Mount Pinos and down the hill to the town of Ventucopa. It was a relaxing sojourn and although there are no references to it here, I remember listening to the Lucia Popp recording of the Four Last Songs by Richard Strauss during my drive. By the time the song Beim Schlafengehen (When going to sleep) was soaring away, its subtext of death was really affecting me and I was completely devastated and crying. It was however, a joyful cry, not a depressing one.


The life of Doug Ordunio has been filled with music. Born in Glendale, California in 1950, he attended Glendale College and Cal State Northridge majoring in composition and voice. When he left college in 1973, he was hired by radio station KFAC, which had been the primary commercial classical music station in Los Angeles for nearly 50 years. He was soon made FM Programmer and in 1978 he joined the prestigious announcing staff.

During this time he was also a professional singer in the Los Angeles area, performing with many ensembles including the Duke Ellington Band (before Ellington died), the New York City Opera and the Greek Theater Opera.

He was heard for 12 years around the world as the host of the classical music program for Armed Forces Radio.

In 1989 he joined the production staff of AEI Inflight, producing hundreds of audio programs for commercial airlines. Throughout his career he has been known for creating unusual and provocative musical programs which challenge and intrigue the listener. Since 1998 he has been the producer of the nationally syndicated radio program, The Romantic Hours, hosted by Mona Golabek. He has authored several books as well as a number of short stories and poems.

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