Kabbalah Blues​/​Quantum Funk

by Peter Saltzman and The Revolution Ensemble

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about

Excerpted from the form Kabbalah Blues Website:

As with the Revolution Ensemble itself, this was a piece of music that had been running around in my head, on some level, for years. For a long time I've been interested in Kabbalah, which is the general term for Jewish mysticism, and equally strong interest in physics, particularly quantum physics and string theory. While I don't claim to be anything close to a scholar in either of these fields, I've done quite a bit or reading on both topics since I was a teenager. In many ways, my interest stems from the same source in both cases—trying to understand the universe on the deepest level possible. Each one, is essentially a language whose purpose is to explain how or why the universe works. Kabbalah is obviously more concerned with the "why" whereas physics is mostly concerned with the how, though I think ultimately the two questions converge. It's interesting to me that even some physicists, who tend to eschew the idea of God in creation, when asked why the universe was created say that there was no other choice, even "God" had no other choice, which is what the Kabbalists say. Music itself, at least for me, is one of the most profound languages for understanding the universe, and perhaps the language that best converges the how and why questions into something beyond knowing altogether.

But getting back to the origins of KBQF (as opposed to the universe): As I said, an idea for this kind of work had been in my thoughts for years, but the specific impetus came when the Chicago Humanities Festival commissioned me to write a new work for their 1999 program. Each year CHF has a theme that they want presenters to address, and in 1999 it was "New and Old". It seemed like the perfect opportunity for me to combine Kabbalah (old) and physics (new)...so I did.

As for the title, it obviously has some double meanings. The "Blues" refers, of course, to the blues itself, which plays an important part in the piece, particularly toward the end, but also refers the even older sense of "blues" feeling in the Kabbalah and Jewish liturgy in general—the blues that comes from separation, separation from God, exile, etc. John Lee Hooker, the great bluesman, once said that the blues originated when Adam and Eve were kicked out of the Garden of Eden, that ultimately blues is about being separated from our source—God. The "Funk" part refers both to the music, and the feeling of being in a funk. But to me there is also a relation between funk music and quantum physics. The idea of indeterminacy, or randomness on the subatomic level reminds me joyful randomness of funk guitar or keyboards.

credits

released January 21, 2013

Music & Lyrics by Peter Saltzman

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Peter Saltzman Chicago, Illinois

Peter Saltzman is a composer, pianist, singer, and songwriter residing somewhere near Chicago. His music has been called "brilliant" by the Chicago Tribune, and "powerful stuff" by the Dallas Morning News.

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Track Name: Prologue
(Transliteration from Aramaic Prayer "Oseh Shalom")
Oseh shalom bi-mo'romav, hu ya'aseh shalom alienu v'al kol Yisrael, v'imru: Amen.

He who brings peace to His universe will bring peace to us and to all the people Israel. And let us say: Amen.
Track Name: I Was There
I was there when the world was born:
No time, no form;
I could have sworn
I was there when the world was born,
As I’m a piece of Your soul

I am part of Your ancient light
I love with all my heart
And soul and might
I am part of Your ancient light
And I’m at peace with Ein Sof
Track Name: Sooner or Later
I woke up this evening,
And guess what I found?
The world was still turning,
But you weren’t around.
You went into hiding,
You left me no clue.
I guess your residing
In another point-of-view.

Sooner or later
We all fall down.
Later or sooner
Things come back around.

I called up my physicist.
He told me that I
Was living in a world
That he could not quantify.
I weighed all my options,
They didn’t weigh much
So I just decided
To find you as such

Sooner or later
The sun will blow up.
Later or sooner,
You’ll probably show up.

I cleaned up my bathroom,
And as I did scour
I found you were just taking
Your time in the shower.

Sooner or later
We all foul up.
Later or sooner
You’ll mess me up.

Sooner or later
We all fall down.
Later or sooner
Things come back around.
Track Name: Shekhina's Dream
And when I have these dreams at night
I dream of finding you
I dream that you can see my light
and it doesn't blind you
Bind me as a sign upon your hand
Bind me as a seal upon your heart
Bind me Bind me...
I filled the world with boundless love
And offered it to you
You fill the world with with endless anger
I turn away from you
Sometimes it seems that
You don't even hear me
You don't even see me
You don't even feel me
Except in your dreams

And when I have these dreams at night
I dream you find your way
You flail about in the dark,
But you don't run away
Love me With all of your heart
And Hold me Closer to your eyes
And Show my Name upon your gates
And Love me With all of your might
And Please don't let me go
Please don't let me go
Track Name: Quantum Funk
Now and again
I get the blues
I get confused
Does that excuse my behavior?
But then again
I could blame you
Or blame the moon
Or blame the universe for being
So indifferent to my dreams
What kind of place
Could be so cold?
Could be so old?
That it withholds its deep secrets

In time and space
What is my role?
If there's no soul
Then there is
No real difference
Between good and evil
So why even bother
To be kind and civil to you?
Am I confused?
Is it the blues?
Is it the moon?
Or is it you (universal blues)?

Now and again
I get a clue
It isn't you
It isn't me
It isn't you
It isn't me
What can it be?
What can it be?
Track Name: Living in Another Time
I have been living
In another time
Where the world is right
And you are mine
And I know that it's crazy
But I don't mind
So I'll keep on living
In another time

I've been living
In another place
But the truth is
It's so very far away
Until I can be certain
That you will be mine
I'll keep on living
In another time

I should have known when I met you
That I never ever would forget you
Even if it meant throwing my life away.
And now that I've found you
There's just know way around you
My heart won't let me keep you at bay...

Until I can be certain
That you will be mine
I'll keep on living
In another time
Track Name: Searching
I have been searching
I am searching
I'll be searching forever,
For something inside, outside
Past, present, future forever

And I know this about you:
You have been searching,
You are searching
You'll be searching
I know this about us:
We should be searching together forever

I have been looking
I am looking
In the strangest of places
Way back in time
When there was nothing
Where we now find that space is

And I know this about you:
You will be looking in the same sort of places
I hope this about us:
That we can hallow our quest with embraces

I have been searching
(and searching and searching and searching)
For something inside and outside forever and ever
Sometimes it's foggy
You are with me
I lose my bearings
You are near me

And I know this about you:
You will be looking in the same sort of places
I hope this about us:
That we can hallow our quest with embraces