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Life Cycles

Life Cycles creates a relaxing yet stimulating listening experience. Musical instruments, styles and cultures from around the world are smoothly blended into a rich but lighthearted panorama of contemporary rhythms and ancient tonalities.

  • Pipe Dreams by David Kempton
  • Vision Quest by David Kempton
  • Yo’zho’ by David Kempton
  • Initiation of the Maidens by David Kempton
  • Dance of the Ancestors by David Kempton
  • Spirit Warrior by David Kempton
  • Hangin’ with the Dragons by David Kempton
  • Heshook-Itsawalk by David Kempton
  • Heaven’s Gate by David Kempton
  • Ixixan by David Kempton
  • Return of the Seeker by David Kempton
  • Mr. Toad by David Kempton

About Life Cycles
(the On-Liner Notes)

Instruments from around the world create textures and timbres in a style I call Electronic Impressionism. Sounds from different cultures blend into a thematic journey from birth, through the growth of reason and understanding, the accumulation of knowledge, the spiritual awakening, and the triumphant return home to celebrate the victory and share the wisdom.

This album has been recorded entirely from instrument sample libraries. No live instruments and no microphones were used in the creation of this work. While some of the performances are ethnic examples by the musicians who created the samples, most are played in real time on keyboard by the composer/improviser/interpreter. The one exception is the final piece, Mr. Toad. This is a tabla and djembe jugalbandi, or duet. The solos are constructed from existing solo fragments overlaid on a background lhera, or ostinato line.

About the Music

Pipe Dreams

An extended intro of a form I call “American Alap” is followed by a dream of soaring over a steam-powered carousel, a reminder to ride this life with a joyous, soaring heart.

Vision Quest

A native bansuri melody introduces the story of a young boy’s quest for spiritual awakening


Navaho word for harmonizing with one’s surroundings, “going with the flow.” A youth choir introduces the evolving, multifacted theme.

Initiation of the Maidens

The Tibetan Rag Dun horn and Chinese Zheng open this tribal celebration welcoming the young women of the village into adulthood.

Dance of the Ancestors

The Wisdom of Generations forms the essence of a two-headed old man
who shuffles along, while one head smiles and laughs and the other warns and scowls.

Spirit Warrior

Wind Dancer, driving but ethereal, this is movement with purpose, process with rhythm.

Hangin’ with the Dragons

A Chinese Temple Flute and Angklung duet precedes a dynamic, percussive rendering of the main themes.

Return of the Seeker

Having sucessfully unlocked the knowledge hidden in his dreams, the young boy, now grown into a man, returns home.

Ixsixan (I Love You)

From the Tlingit. A group of Eastern instruments leads to a rhythmic contrapuntal dance of joy and love as the man finds his soul mate.

Heshook-ish Tsawalk

“Everything is one,” a phrase from the Nuu-chah-nulth peoples of Vancouver and Vancouver Island. The spirit warrior teaches his people the knowledge granted him by the Ancestors.

Heaven’s Gate

Hulusi and Angklung play off each other to open heaven’s gate. Guzhen and piano expand on the theme of redemption as The People achieve Enlightenment.

Mr. Toad

Based on Raga Todi, this is a triumphant tabla and djembe jugalbandi, or duet, giving closure to the cycle and preparing the beginning of the next.