The composition of Ripples was inspired by a transcendental experience I had one night while floating
on my back in a swimming pool. This was an outdoor swimming pool at a motel situated in the Organ Pipe Cactus National
Monument in the southern-most part of Arizona. It was late at night, and I was attempting to find out how long it
would take for the water to become completely still, while I floated, motionless, staring up into a cloudless,
star-filled sky… After some time, the water had become very calm. But it was not completely still, and it seemed
that so long as I was breathing – even in slow, steady breaths – some ripples would be created. And these ripples,
reflecting back from the perimeter of the pool, would eventually return to me—denying my wish for perfect stillness.
After some more time, I realized that the closest I could get to this stillness was to time my breathing with the
reflection of the ripples, harmonizing myself with them and with the water that supported my body. This seemingly
trivial experiment however, revealed to me a great truth. That so long as I am alive I cannot avoid action (even
breathing is an action!), and that my every action will return to me in some form: harmony with my actions will
tend to bring peace, and lack of harmony will increasingly perturb that peace. The experience was for me, a striking
illustration of the nature of karma. I hope that the action of composing Ripples, may somehow communicate the
sense of harmony I felt that night.
This recording was made at CCRMA
in August 1995 with German guitarist, Stefan Grasse.
It was released on the guitarist's 1996 CD, Ripples
, which also includes works by Eddie McGuire, Leo Brouwer,
and Steve Reich.