4 Hands

Keyboardist Bill Travis is a prog-inclined solo musician from Escondido. His 2009 release Eclectic Collection showcases his trippy and meandering soundcapes, which pulse and drone before exploding into Floydian bombast. Travis’s instrumental track “4 Hands” was the most downloaded local MP3 from SDReader.com during March. He provided some background.

So how’d this all start for you?

I’m 60 years old and have played piano off and on since I was 7. I never made the commitment to be professional, but it has been a great hobby. Now that I have a KORG OASYS, the programs and sounds provided afford me the ability to create pieces like “4 Hands.”

This proggy instrumental starts with a soft piano riff before morphing into some sweeping jazz fusion. Safe to say Camel/Pete Bardens/Can are influences?

My early influences to play were Yes and Emerson, Lake and Palmer. In these later years, I’d say David Lanz and Jim Brickman.

How recent are the songs on your record?

The album is a mix of old music — 1989 — and new songs from last year. The old part is of lesser quality, technologically.… The album is a CD recorded straight off the OASYS, not professionally mastered. It’s been a thrill for me that through the Reader and today’s technology, people can hear my music.

Is there a lot of improvisation involved, or are the compositions strictly mapped out?

I usually play by inspiration and ear; therefore, most of the pieces are one-take and only generally repeated. I hardly ever play them the same as the recording.

How about when you perform in concert?

I’ve never performed live and don’t know if I could. I don’t even have a website URL.

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