Apr 30, 2012
Apr 14, 2012
Robert Eens ("EE-INS"). Man, I heard this for the first time last night (thanks Jim Altieri). Bob Eens was the vocalist and cellist featured as part of a duo in Merideth Monk's "Facing North". He has worked with her for over a decade. Turns out he also performed in Arthur Russell's "Instrumentals" in the early 70's. This track is from his recent opera 'The Escape Artist'. Wow. Totally real transcendental folk music like I rarely hear and always seek out. Shattered my glass with resonance. "Be warned, your life beckons you..."
Posted by mem at 12:32 AM
Jan 29, 2012
Jan 14, 2012
Starting to re-compose several of my pieces which were originally part of the "faces of sound" genus (social geometries, etc). Here's a remake of an early one - from 2006 in Portland OR - originally recorded at an outdoor park + beaucoup de overdubs...
Jan 13, 2012
Just discovered this awesome live Arthur Russell recording online (via, Greg Davis) at Achive.org from one of the bazillion incredible concerts (many by Arthur) that have been performed at Phill Niblock's soho loft, since its inception in 1972 (i went to an incredible show there just this past weekend). But... 1980?: Entitled "Radishes Flying to Jupiter", Arthur does a cosmic-comic cello solo over some fixed keyboard changes and percussion performed by Rome Neal.
You might notice the harmonies used here are also rooted in Russell's 24-24 Music (listen to the organ in "Go Bang"). Keep listening to "radishes" and you'll hear Rome gradually bring in the shaker, ultimately laying down a straight pulse, shyly pointing directly at the dance reference this music was moving into. Russell compiled this tape himself for group compilations, via EIF, that were sent off to numerous radio stations, if rarely played. The monologue, like the music, is pretty space-y stuff - definitely not born far from a marijuana leaf at this time, and god bless those loose joints. Regardless, there's something about those harmonies and that wanderous plucked cello. like a boat on the water. it so pleasantly floats.
Sep 11, 2011
Lewis - Romance for Two by ObscureSound
I am totally mesmerized by this forgotten album by disappeared mononymous Californian singer: Lewis. The tunes are straight-formed, loosely held, and slowly given by Lewis' guitar, piano, uniquely expressive synth lines, and Lewis' own soft-souled voice. And the surviving digital recordings bear the cloud-static of its original vinyl pressing. As angelic and tender as the album's unabashed cover. The mood and some of the piano playing, though much simpler, reminds me also of the incredible Ethiopian pianist/composer (now a Christian nun in Jerusalem), Tsegue-Maryam Guebrou. Absolutely levitating...
LISTEN TO IT ALL...
Aug 31, 2011
Just completed sound/music for this wonderful new video by Portland, OR-based director Orland Nutt with performance by Amanda Riley. This is one in a series of videos of Orland's in which a poem is fantastically realized through cinema...
You can seehear more of Orland's films here...
You can seehear more of Orland's films here...
Aug 4, 2011
Almost 8 years ago I discovered a series of (now out of print) architecture books published by the George Braziller Press: The Planning and Cities Series. At the time I collected all I could find through Powell's Books in Portland. My favorite of the series is one on village design in the "primitive" world, written by Douglas Fraser. The writing is clear and offers a fascinating cross-cultural perspective on how people structure the physical organization of their communities - including symbolic, religious, practical, and geographical perspectives. Beautiful writing, beautiful images: it deeply inspired some of my earlier social geometry music. Below are some of the many examples Fraser gives...
The Cheyenne community, like many American Indians organized their community in a circular formation. The circle was a common symbol of the continuity of life, the medicine wheel (path of the individual), and the four cardinal directions, among many other associative meanings. The actual arrangement is more like a 'C' than a circle, with the opening being intentional, to support a ritual 'opening' to the sunrise. "The camp circle was compared to the circle of the stars in the heavens and to a gigantic tipi, the door of which faced the East."
This (idealized) Dogon village in Western Sudan (above), is organized pretty uniquely according to the human figure.
This village of the Hili Mondregeraja in South Nias, Indonesia (pictured above) is organized in the form of stream of homes. They model their village on the form of the river...
"What remains fixed is the prevailing axial and cosmic aspect of the plan. The chief's house is invariably located at the upper end of the [main] street; this feature stems from the Nias conception of space as upriver/downriver and sunrise/sunset. For Nias cosmology, like that of many regions, is less concerned with actual directions than with symbolic ones." Above, a photograph of the village (with the Chief's home in view); Below, an ideal map:
The village I found most fascinating though was that of the Bushman in the Kalahari Desert of Africa. I featured this village design in the book of scores, Tools of Mind, I published through FOARM Magazine a while back (here).
Werfs ["camps" in the Afrikaans language] are built within range of supplies and waterholes. The 'headman' can live anywhere he likes, while family werfs congregate around one another, but there is no pattern. They often alternate the direction their werfs face based on their personal interactions. If you're feeling anger towards one of your neighbors, you would move your hut so the doorway faces away from them. 'Hiding' someone's posts on Facebook doesn't quite reach this explicit if indirect form of emotional communication in a social 'network' - but that's about as close as we get.
Posted by mem at 3:35 PM