1. Discreet Harmonica I
  2. Discreet Music
    (Brian Eno)
  3. Discreet Harmonica II (Dark)
  4. Discreet Harmonica III
  5. Discreet Harmonica IV
    (Music For Housecleaning)
  6. Discreet Harmonica V
    (The Very Long Black Veil)
    (Danny Dill and Marijohn Wilkin)
  7. Discreet Harmonica VI
  8. Discreet Harmonica VII
    (Second Study in E Minor)

Copyright © 2011 Ken Ficara except:
(2) Copyright © 1975 E.G. Records Ltd
(6) Copyright © 1959 Cedarwood Music/BMI

Harmonicas, loops and treatments recorded live to digital two-track. Recorded in Brooklyn and Ithaca, October 2010–January 2011.

Harmonicas by Hohner with customization and tuning by Richard Sleigh, James Gordon, Tim Moyer and Bob Meehan.

Effects and loops by Roland, Eventide, Electro-Harmonix, Korg and more.

"I tend towards the roles of the planner and programmer, and then become an audience to the results." So said Brian Eno in his notes for Discreet Music, the 1975 album that created, and still stands above, the "ambient" music genre. Arriving the same year as the first hobbyist microcomputer, it changed music not necessarily by its approach—composers had been creating music in various "non-intentional" ways for decades—but by showing that a strictly disciplined system consisting of synthesizers and electronics (diagrammed on the back of the album) could create warm and beautiful music.

The motion of leaves in the breeze, the sound of a stream, the patterns of snow on a frozen lake—these cannot be deliberately designed. They are created by millions of tiny discrete events, each one following strict rules. It's not "chaos," it's an ordered system as rigid as a computer program.

I am a programmer, and a planner. I'm also a harmonica player, and a lover of traditional music and harmonies. I created these pieces by playing simple phrases and allowing them to combine with each other in ways that often surprised me. I began most of them with no plan, and never had any idea what would happen.

This music is both organic and systemic; I did not write it. I started with small ideas and created an environment in which they could grow, and offered some guidance along the way. Everything you hear is harmonica, and all of it was played live, not created or processed on a computer. Creating music this way has been more challenging, and more rewarding, than writing intentionally. This music has surprised and delighted me, and I hope it will do the same for you.

Available now on Google Music