Chaos Theory is a concept album of artistic and progressive jazz compositions reflecting an avant-garde / experimental approach. I am the performer of (nearly) every instrument heard on the album, including but not limited to: guitars, upright bass, electric bass, drums, piano and keyboards, organs, bongos, tambourines, rainmaker, moog, synthesizers, vibraphones, wind chimes, djembes, and all sound effects. The trumpet and saxophone sections were composed by me and performed on synthesizers. I also recorded and produced the entire album myself.
The title of the album is a reference to the long-standing tradition existing in jazz music since the time of Charlie Parker that the best-crafted artistic musical expressions embody equal amounts of order and chaos, an oxymoron in most cases, but absolutely essential in jazz.
The release date is May 18, 2018, and the album will be available on iTunes, Spotify, and all the standard online stores. The album will not be available on CD.
The album consists of 10 songs. Hear a sample here (for a limited time):
All tracks written by Michael Vito Tosto
All tracks written by Michael Vito Tosto
Logicity and Clarity
Blues and Absolute Chaos
An Inverted Nelson in Two Shades
Having Subtracted Five and Four
Melancholy Overtures in E Minor
Of an Effective Butterfly
The Conversation, Parts 2 and 3
Death of a Misplaced Spaniard
Pandemonium and the Nefarious Truth
Kind of Slightly Monkish
Album length: 73 minutes.
Track 1, "Logicity and Clarity," is the only Latin-influenced song on the album, at least as it concerns beat. I had to learn the complex African drumming style prominent in Latin jazz. For that reason, this song, which is simpler compared to some of the others, was the hardest for me to perform.
Track 2, "Blues and Absolute Chaos," contains excerpts from Winston Churchill's June 1940 address to Parliament, known as the "We Will Fight on the Beaches" speech. This is my favorite song on the album. It is an utter mess of conflicting noises that, to me, work well together. The chaotic sections are bookended by a simple, bluesy tune, hence the title.
Track 3, "An Inverted Nelson in Two Shades," is the product of two separate songs I was working on but couldn't finish. I finally decided to just stick them together and see if they worked. They did.
Track 4, "Having Subtracted Five and Four," is the most accessible song on the album in terms of listening; it's a straightforward, simple jazz tune that has no chaotic undertones. I composed this song back in 1998, actually. It's been sitting on the shelf for 20 years, waiting to be heard.
Track 5, "Melancholy Overtures in E Minor," is somewhat repetitive, but that was done on purpose. The song is a loop of only four chords that grow more intense as the music progresses. This is my least favorite song on the album; I wrote it during a dark period of my life.
Track 6, "Of an Effective Butterfly," was titled to reflect the concept within the real chaos theory of the famous "butterfly effect." It is a standard bebop tune with some light sound effects. There are also some slight "rock" undertones in the beat.
Track 7, "The Conversation, Parts 2 and 3," contains excerpts from Orson Welles' 1938 radio broadcast of The War of the Worlds. A very chaotic song with some complex drumming. Another hard song to perform, since it essentially embodies poly-rhythms. This is a song that must be listened to from start to finish in order to get the correct effect.
Track 8, "Death of a Misplaced Spaniard," was inspired by Pablo Picasso's 1914 painting Still Life with Compote and Glass. He is the "Spaniard" referenced in the title. There's a lot of different sounds happening in this song; I think it's one of the cooler songs on the album.
Track 9, "Pandemonium and the Nefarious Truth," is interesting because the song is essentially only two chords being played simultaneously. The bass sections are in D minor, and the rest of the music is in A minor, all at the same time. It is the longest song on the album, clocking in at nearly 18 minutes in length. This is track is characterized by the "ship horn" that sounds throughout the song, most notably at the very end.
Track 10, "Kind of Slightly Monkish," is an homage to the great piano player Thelonious Monk, a hero of mine. It is the only song on the album to not contain horn sections. This was a good place for me to showcase my prodigious skill on piano, an instrument I'm proficient in but rarely play. I also use a moog synthesizer on this track.
The man on the cover is not me.
This album was recorded in my basement studio and at the home studio of my friend Nick Welby.
I cannot confirm nor deny whether marijuana had a hand in the making of this music.