1 Song, 2 Minutes


Ratings and Reviews

From the Composer


"Aphrodite Nights"
Chris Opperman

(not sure why it's listed as Electronic when it should be Classical)

Ryan McCausland, gourd tree (invented by Harry Partch)

Composed and produced by Chris Opperman.
Recorded, mixed, and mastered by Stephen Kolakowsky.
Artwork by Tony Akins.
Recorded at the Harry Partch Institute at Montclair State University with special permission from Dean Drummond.

“Aphrodite Nights” was composed for the gourd tree, one of many unique instruments invented by American composer Harry Partch (1901 – 1974). The instrument was built on a bough of eucalyptus to which several gourds with bells have been attached, each resonating a different microtonal pitch.

While studying microtonal music at the Harry Partch Institute in Montclair, NJ, professor and composer Dean Drummond showed us some videos of gamelan music that I found to be very fascinating and I decided to compose something that was reminiscent of that style on the gourd tree.

As wonderful, imaginative, and flexible language is, and although words carry tremendous meaning, I often find it difficult to use words to truly attempt to “explain the unexplainable.” The benefit of instrumental music is that you can communicate feelings and ideas with pure sound, from the world of the wordless into another plane, using music as a way to transport the listener into that plane.

One of the most powerful benefits of music is its ability to conjure up past memories and feelings, and remind them of the past in the present.

“Aprhodite Nights” is about the wild magic of love and about those moments when two people become lost in one another, each partner being in awe of the other and giving themselves over completely to those feelings, exploring each others minds, hearts, and bodies with equal measures of caution and abandon. Those evenings when time seems to stand still and that they are the only two beings in existence, subtly guided in their movements by instinct and by the power of the Goddess of Love, Aphrodite, love being the driving force behind existence and creativity.

Interesting but not electionic.


This performance features melodic percussion instruments that exist outside of the 12 tone scale that we are acustomed to hearing. It is clearly not electronic, but the composer probably had a difficult time finding a genre for this performance. I believe that to fully appreciate this type of music, you must be able to see the performers and the amazing array of instruments that are available to the composer with boundless imagination. Nice work. I'ld pay to see a video if the opportunity arises.

About Chris Opperman

Pianist/composer Chris Opperman grew up in New Jersey and attended Berklee. While at Berklee, Opperman took a chance and contacted Mike Keneally to see if Keneally would be willing to produce the album he was putting together with his band from school, Chris Opperman & the Random Factor. The answer was yes, and in April of 1998 they recorded Oppy Music, Vol. 1: Purple Crayon for Opperman's own Purple Cow label. The album featured a mixture of pop/rock stylings and some of Oppy's more challenging, thoroughly composed, and sometimes dazzling instrumentals.

After graduating, Opperman moved to Los Angeles, maintaining his relationship with Keneally. Keneally served as producer on Opperman's second album, Klavierstücke (2000), a strictly solo piano affair with a mixture of exquisitely played compositions and improvisations. At the same time, Oppy was drafted for Keneally's eight-piece version of Beer for Dolphins, where Opperman played trumpet and just a bit of piano for the recording Dancing. For the next couple years, Opperman sought a musical place for himself in Los Angeles and tried to put a band together, while working at the Universal Music Publishing Group.

In 2003, things started to pan out, with his band Special Opps starting to get gigs in the L.A. area. Also in 2003, Keneally was commissioned to compose a work for guitar and orchestra by the Netherlands Metropole Orchestra, and Opperman served as co-orchestrator and copyist for both the concert and subsequent recording of The Universe Will Provide (finally released in September 2004) . Following that, Opperman was asked by Steve Vai to serve in the same capacity, as Vai got a similar commission. In addition to orchestrating, Opperman was the featured piano player for a series of performances with Vai and the Metropole Orchestra in May of 2004. That same year, Opperman released Concepts of Non-Linear Time, an album of duets, before touring briefly with Shankar & Gingger featuring Zakir Hussain in September of 2004.

In May of 2005, he began studio sessions for Special Opps, recording at Vai's Mothership Studio while simultaneously preparing to release his first live album, Beyond the Foggy Highway, which was released in October of that year. He also received the 2005 Unanimous Choice L.A. Music Award for Best Keyboardist/Pianist. In 2006, Vai's "Lotus Feet," a track that featured Opperman on piano, was nominated for the Grammys' Best Rock Instrumental Performance. That same year he performed with Terry Bozzio and Warren Cuccurullo at the Viper Room and also guested at a Missing Persons reunion show. ~ Sean Westergaard

    New York, NY
  • BORN
    November 20, 1978