Craig Safan
Rough Magic



The ancient caves of Southern France and Northern Spain served as the inspiration for Rough Magic, a new album of electroacoustic music gathered and composed by Craig Safan.


In Safan's words:
“For many years I have wanted to take my love of Paleolithic art and ancient myth and translate it into a musical form. Rough Magic is the final outcome. I was fascinated by some really interesting studies on music and what the music of primitive man might have been like.  As a composer, everything speaks to me musically. So the concept of basing a piece of music on the cave art I’d experienced in my youth inevitably gelled.
"After visiting these caves with my field recorders, I took all the sounds that I had gathered on my visit to the caves, and I took a lot of samples from other weird instruments I’ve collected over the years, plus my own huge library of sound effects, and I loaded them into computers so that I could play them on a keyboard using different music software programs.
“All the reverbs used for the music was modeled using the echoes I recorded in specific caves. Voices, footsteps, breaths, rocks, handclaps, whistles, and even stalactites being struck; all were turned into the various instruments I used performing the music.
“Being a pictorial composer I tend to see music in visual terms - what used to be called programmatic music. Each piece in Rough Magic is based on a specific scenario and in that way the work is somewhat like a ballet built on thirteen scenes. The titles, which include Make the Sun Dance, Where Light in Darkness Lies and Astonish and Transform, allude to these stories but not in an overly detailed way, leaving much to the listener's imagination.”

The tracks

Track 1  Make the Sun Dance

Track 2  A Vision Full of Majesty

Track 3  The Blind Cave of Eternal Night

Track 4  The Crack of Doom

Track 5  A Spell of Much Power

Track 6  Where Light in Darkness Lies

Track 7  A Pair of Strange Beasts

Track 8  We Hunt for Death

Track 9  All the Devils Are Here

Track 10  The Quiet Sleep of Death

Track 11  Astonish & Transform

Track 12  Misshapen Chaos of Well-Seeming Forms

Track 13  Rough Magic


About the artist

Craig Safan was a recipient of the Senior Music Award from Brandeis University, where he studied with Harold Shapero in the school’s electronic music studio, and with Alvin Lucier in electronic music and conceptual sound pictures. A Watson Foundation Fellowship allowed him to study electronic music in London with Peter Zinovieff and others. He conducted his music this past June at California’s Redondo Performing Arts Center with the Golden State Pops Orchestra.
He has also composed the music for over thirty feature films including Mr. Wrong, Stand and Deliver, Major Payne, Nightmare on Elm Street IV, Remo Williams, and The Last Starfighter.  For the small screen, Safan is best known for his work as the composer for the series Cheers for which he was awarded eight ASCAP Top TV awards, as well as for his music for Life Goes On, which earned Safan an EMMY® nomination. His website is

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