Released on 1 September 2019
This album is titled ‘Hitchgnosis’ because it is a sum of the musical knowledge, or gnosis, that I have accumulated up until now.
This music was inspired during my 5 years living in the Isle of Skye, when I was reading a lot of New Age and esoteric books, as well as some about quantum physics and A.I.
I was falling back in love with life, and music, and as I stood on the rocks of this magnificent isle I imagined a musical journey through time and space, from the big bang and the forming of the rocks beneath me, through creation itself, gradually heading towards the present, where a beautiful blue sky gives us hope for a bright future.
I have endeavoured to use the gnosis I have acquired to take the listener on this journey with me, so buckle up, and enjoy the ride!
This album has taken many years to come to fruition, and in that time the world has said goodbye to a few of the incredible musicians (and our dear friends) that made it possible. It is therefore my duty to get this music out to the public, and in honour and reverence I would like to dedicate this album in memory of them.
Buy the album on iTunes
Download the Booklet
1 Dance of the Nephilim
Now it came about, when men began to multiply on the face of the land, and daughters were born to them, that the sons of God saw that the daughters of men were beautiful; and they took wives for themselves, whomever they chose. Then the LORD said, “My Spirit shall not strive with man forever, because he also is flesh; nevertheless his days shall be one hundred and twenty years.”
The Nephilim were on the earth in those days, and also afterward, when the sons of God came in to the daughters of men, and they bore children to them. Those were the mighty men who were of old, men of renown.
(Imagine these guys doing a sacred tribal dance to Miles Bould’s percussion!)
2 Enki’s Dream
I had been reading a lot of Zecharia Sitchin’s books in which, alongside tales of the Nephilim he retells the story of Adam and Eve as if they were created by ancient astronauts. (Indeed we now know that the best DNA is to be found in the rib!)
Enki was a God in Sumerian mythology and Zecharia calls him the chief genetic scientist on board. Make of it what you will, but I began to wonder if life on Earth turned out as Enki may have dreamt it, or not?
3 Hubble’s View
As I wondered where in the Universe Enki had come from, and gone to, I looked to the night sky. Seeing the incredible pictures of stars being born taken by the Hubble Telescope sent me into a voyage across space and time in my own Star Trek fashion, trying to imagine time before time, and the Big Bang itself.
The fabulous Maurice Murphy gives his incredible trumpet sound to the brass section here. No wonder he is featured on nearly every John Williams score.
4 Heart In A Tango
(Adam and Eve have their first dance under the apple tree)
The Tango is possibly the most romantic of dances, and here I am dancing with the incredible Peter Tickell on violin. I wanted to bring this beautiful dance up to date with some jazz harmo- ny, and in the middle I throw you into the 18th century, then immediately whisk you back to the present.
This track is dedicated to my love (you know who you are!) who has my heart in a tango on a regular basis.
5 In Your Eyes
(Adam and Eve take their first bite. The apple of your eye?)
This is a tune I wrote for my ‘SmootHitch’ album. It was a funky power ballad, but I have re-ar- ranged it for strings and horns giving it a more classical feel.
I thought that by now you deserved a break from the lengthy, deep composition style, so I imagined being in the foyer of a theatre with a string quartet in the 1920’s, while you get yourself a vodka martini, with a twist, perhaps?
My time in Scotland has given this one a bit of a folky feel, and Peter Tickell’s fiddle brings this tune to life.
The word ‘pan’ has so many meanings I couldn’t resist trying to conjure them all up in a panhar- monic context. Here’s some different meanings for the word: Pan
- All, all inclusive
- another term for steel drum.
- pan out turn out well:
- ORIGIN early 20th cent.: abbreviation of panorama.
- swing (a video or movie camera) in a horizontal or vertical plane, typically to give a pano- ramic effect or follow a subject.
- Indian betel leaves prepared and used as a stimulant.
- a god of flocks and herds, typically represented with the horns, ears, and legs of a goat on a man’s body. His sudden appearance was supposed to cause terror similar to that of a frightened and stampeding herd, and the word panic is derived from his name.
ORIGIN probably originally in the sense ‘the feeder’ (i.e., herdsman), although the name was regularly associated with Greek pas or pan (= ‘all’), giving rise to his identification as a god of nature or the universe.
Here I imagined a somewhat Dickensian christmas scene in 18th century London. In the snow the beggars and drunks are feeding the rats as a horse driven carriage passes, splashing cold muddy water on a fair maidens stockings. She shouts obscenities and throws rotten fruit, then roars with laughter.
Marat Bisengaliev is incredible here, the sound, so much passion! It is an honour to have him on this album.
This nicely leads to Marat’s 2nd performance, ’Toys’.
I was having a Snow White moment in the garden one day with the deer and the heron and got this little tune in my head.
When the woodpecker started up down the road he sounded like a clockwork soldier and ‘Toys’ was born.
10 Blaven Mist
During my 5 glorious years in the Isle of Skye I would drive around Loch Slapin to my home in Kilmarie, and I would pass the most incredible mountain called Bla Bheinn, pronounced Blaven. You could rarely see the top, as it was generally enveloped in a pure white mist, sometimes with a warm and colourful sunlight surging through it, but often with a dark, ghostly presence. We became friends, so I wrote it a tune.
11 Skye Blues
Of course, immediately above Blaven is the sky of Skye. When you can see it, it is sometimes blue. I couldn’t resist the joke so…..
A funky blues in 7/4. Laurence Cottle totally knocks me out on this one (as always!), and I’m very proud to have a ‘Super C’ from the legendary Derek Watkins to finish the piece (and the album) in style.
The ‘Hitchgnosis’ Orchestra are:
Nigel Hitchcock, Alto and Soprano saxes, Composer/Arranger/Producer
On tracks 3, 8 and 11
The Symphony Orchestra of Marat Bisengaliev Marat Bisengaliyev-soloist, artistic director Gauhar Bisengaliyeva-manager
Strings: Aliya Dilebayeva (Leader), Dana Zholdasova, Meruert Bazaralina,Yelena Matveeva, Ainur Sadenova, Evgeniy Ugay, Atsuko Sahara, Olga Lyapina, Remezov Pavel, Ali Aliev, Struz Irina, Igor Tronov, Uriy Korenkov, Irina Bardashova, Assel Atageldieva, Galya Bisengalyeva, Olga Kovaleva, Dauren Anuarbekov, Mukhamed Buyenbayev, Onay Zhumabayeva, Yuliya Gallyamova, Diana Akhmetova, Mikhail Bulgakov, Pavel Belov, Mariya Zakharova, Arman Nazarov, Bekezhan Rakishev, Bakir Utepbergenov,
Horn: Vitaliy Sirotin
With the addition of these awesome London players;
Brass: Maurice Murphy, Derek Watkins, Andy Crowley, John Barclay, Mark Nightingale, Gordon Campbell, Andy Fawbert, Owen Slade
Horns: Dave Lee, Paul Gardham, Tim Ball
Woodwinds: Helen Keane, Stina Dawes, Nina Robertson, Tim Lines, Duncan Ashby, Dave Fuest, Gavin McNaughton Percussion: Gary Kettel, Dave Hassell, Paul Clarvis, Neil Percy
Steve Sidwell – Conductor
Recorded at Abbey Road Studios
Engineered and mixed by Steve Price
Contractor – Paul Spong (Gauhar Bisengaliev for SOMB)
On tracks 1, 2, 4, 5, 7, 9, 10:
Strings: Chris Clad (Leader), Pete Hanson, Simon fisher, Ian Humphries, Tom Gould, Jono Hill, Dermot Crehan, Pete Lale, Katie Wilkinsson, Nicholas Holland, Nick Cooper, Chris Lawrence
Brass: Andy Greenwood, Tom Walsh, Danny Marsden, Stuart Brooks, Mark Nightingale, Gordon Campbell, Richard Edwards, Dave Stewart
Horns: Michael Thompson, Dave Lee
Woodwinds: Andy Findon, Helen Keane, Dave Bishop, Howard McGill, Martin Williams, Julie Price Nigel Hitchcock – Conductor
Recorded at British Grove Studios
Engineered and mixed by Steve Cooper
Contractor – Gill Stevenson
Track 6 String quartet – Alya Dilibayeva, Olga Lyapina, Marya Zakharova, Vsevolod Yudenitch Recorded in Uralsk ,Kazakhstan
Engineered by Alex Van Ingen
Music copying by Richard Sidwell
All tracks composed and arranged by Nigel Hitchcock
Nigel Hitchcock – Alto & Soprano Saxophones
Chris Dagley – Drums
Laurence Cottle – Fretless Bass
Miles Bould – Percussion
Tracks 4 and 7 featuring Peter Tickell – Solo Violin
Tracks 8 and 9 featuring Marat Bisengaliev – Solo Violin