Upping the Ante

ed Schmidt

The name for this album came from a correspondence with my yet to encounter cyber friend Soheyl Dahi. I had sent Soheyl a few roughly recorded songs to get his opinion, and he answered me back with these words: «I see you are upping the ante on this one». Words hitting home. Yes in fact I have tried to ‘up the ante’ with this album and have dedicated more time and energy (and money) to the studio aspect. More emphasis has been given to instrumentation, such as the addition of sax, bass, cello, piano, percussion, backing vocals, mixing, etc. I also have hopefully succeeded in the task of loaning a bit more of myself with regards to lyrics. One may notice a tendency in some of my new songs, to provocation. A desire to ‘up the anti’ so to speak, as well as ‘upping the ante’. Andrea’s choice of artwork on the album cover beautifully sums things up. I think this springs from an uncontrollable urge to scream out at the apathy and continuous injustices that increasingly surround us in our daily lives. Iraq, Syria, Libya, Afghanistan, Palestine, Somalia, Yemen, Mali, Greece - the list goes on. To be sure, our turn, being somewhere just around the corner. Even on our home front, police forces have now been given overwhelming powers, with an ever more alarming access to mind boggling technology, that in a blink of an eye can be used against us. They have already started experimenting with surveillance drones at 8.000 feet above our heads. I personally do not feel any safer with that knowledge. It doesn’t take an Orwell to realize just what dangerous times we are living in. Time to wake up folks. Anyway, on a more cheerful note. As on my last album, again this time round I chose to work with people associated with my life, both past and present. I hooked up with backing vocalists Bella and Debbie after a distance of nearly 20 years. They had attended mine and my wife Bianca’s wedding back in 1992 and had brought us a song as a present. ‘She was a woman’ was written specially for the occasion. When I contacted them to come to Italy to collaborate with vocals we spontaneously decided to record the song. All was done in the remaining 20 minutes of a session, and thus remaining faithful to my philosophy of leaving intentional space for the chance element. Things fall neatly into place, governed by little more good vibes, good karma, good friends ,and as always a sprinkle of luck. Chance encounters with friends, old and new, in places, situations, states of mind, observed in awe, with acceptance. I watch it all, from what seems a distance. Happy and thankful that these paths have been crossed.

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