Homewood Studios Events Archive
November 8, 2010
IMPROVISED MUSIC AT HOMEWOOD STUDIOS
Milo Fine m-drums II (electronics), B flat clarinet (electronics), E flat clarinet; Viv Corringham voice, electronics; Charles Gillett guitar; Elaine Evans violin, electronics; Kevin Cosgrove electric shelf.
Many "firsts" tonight. A quintet, instead of the usual trio or quartet, is playing. Another newby on the scene. And what is an electronic shelf? Answers begin unraveling themselves at 7p. $5 donation to indicate how curious you are. Bring two friends.
extend the line. expand the image. do not turn too soon for home.
late to the party, the beginning. forgo sliding in the back door & make a noisy front door entrance. others, on bike and on foot, even later than i, follow me in. aborning notes hang. reluctant. in the air, looking for a place to land, but not too quickly. to ready, not wanting to be not sound any more.
wide & sunny plain. striated stone layered in eons of red memory across the landscape. we are standing on the edge of a brass cymbal. vibrations ticking our feet through the soles of our shoes. we learned, before arriving here, prairie dogs have enough language to distinguish between and describe to each other predators - hawks, rattlesnakes, humans - and to comment to each other about tall or short, big or small, in a green shirt or yellow. these five musicians. learning to speak prairie dog.
fingers speak. nudge objects toward or away, up or down. no mouth tongue lips teeth uvula or larynx necessary. fingers can flip a switch, depress a string, strike a surface, spin a wheel, tap a skin. saying everything needed. saying the unexpected. most needed.
uncomfortable. unhappy. with the words thus far. occupied with the challenge - longer lines, extended images - to listen well. so. back to earlier habits for a while. the old man. who grew apples on a tree in his yard. undecipherable old man to a five year old. me. his voice schooled in a far away place. difficult to hear. to gather the sounds coming from his mouth. into meaning. he gave me an apple. afraid of worms. which is to say. afraid of him, the old man, whiskers and his clanking voice. ran home. tossed the apple into jerry serena's back yard. goodbye apple. hello safe home.
he saws a bowl. saws a bicycle wheel. saws a plate. i see a sail. i see a saint. i see a road. a crater. crater lake. deep blue. singing. like a slide whistle. inviting memory of a child time. inviting... inviting... one day on the corner down the street from my house.
~~ "does this bus go to grandma's house?"
~ "don't think so, son. where does she live?"
~~ "in chicago."
~ "this bus does not go to chicago."
~~ "where does it go then?"
~ "downtown lombard."
~~ "i'll go there."
~ "your sure, kid?"
~~ "uh huh."
~ "twenty cents fare, then."
~~ "i will go home and get it. wait here."
longer the sentence, harder to listen. we do not multi-task. science tells us we simply move faster and faster still faster between & among tasks. always stopping one. to get to the next. these musicians. talking to each other. have time. like prairie dogs. have all day. only one task. listen & reply. listen & play. i have at least two. how to shed one? or the other?
hubcap wheel cover oil drum lid. cooking pot frying pan lid metal plate. wandering trellis, reclining on the floor. red ring red hair red stockings. red red voice. water flushing from a glacier. over tumbled stone. rocks the size of houses. into a grassy meadow. carving a basin where the gods. wash their faces.
how many ways. can you build. a pyramid? and with what various materials? horse hair? grooved metal plate caps? brass ingots? tambourines? to rival the egyptian pyramids? why not?
engine at work. regular. Mmmm-Mmmm-Mmmm-Mmmm. unfailing. circling. around itself making. energy. panning for sound. the way a miner who. and was never heard from. again. and again.
the music takes it shirt off. examines its elbows. the skin parts and tiny mouths appear in the bend of the arm. each speaking a different language. each pleading, in its own language, "we require ears!" the music takes off its shoes. doffs its socks. toes changing. into ears. beginning to think. like ears.
water. drop. water. drop. drop. water. drop. drop. drop. inside a. droop. cave. drop. limestone. dropdrop. water. rushing. coursing down through. minute fissures in the. limestone carved out. into bowls, pots, frying pans. water spilling. tumbling. running over the edges. catching what small light. there is in the eyes of blind fish. moaning for their lost sight. singing for what they do not know how. to miss.
wander back into the dark. throw the light switch off to invite... something... something looking for a place to sit. to rest. looking for an okay way to rest. eyes no longer needed. dark. fingers learn from closed eyes. knees learn from closed eyes. hair learns. knuckles, knees, wingbones learn from closed eyes. go into the dark. be. not needed.
the snake charmer knows his cobra is deaf. cannot hear the sounds sliding from his flute. is made still by the motion of the silver flute in his hands. caught in the play of light on the fluttering keys. the lip of silence and light. speaking.
small creature scratching. in the wood. work. fingernails, claws, horn, carapace. all the hard stuff of living. surrounded by a question. a duet of luscious noise. a ballade. punctuated. with squirrel sneezes.
admonish red hair. admonish the brown guitar. admonish the fuzzy drumsticks sitting in a paint can. admonish the modular petal. the posturing microphones on their stands. the bow with three broken strings. gather them together. remind them of their history. teach them to question. to define an unknown door. & go through it. into deeper. more resonant, more binding sound. full of memories. of earlier and of later. and new. and not. now.
spokes of a bicycle wheel. unpredictable. bowed with the gentle strokes of writing with a good, old-fashioned fountain pen on linen paper. spokes of a bike wheel. gathering all that round into forward. learning energy. and winding it round and round. itself. round and round its fingers. round its fire. its fancy. its face.
where do thoughts go? when you're done. thinking them? where does sound go? after you hear it? what does loosing attention mean? loosing your place? in a book. in a conversation. in line at the cinema? where to you go? where does it. sound. go?
curling inward. stairs. going downward. winding down. drawing vertigo out of the night. leaning into the dark. hoping for. re. so. lu. tion.
tapdancing. with the heavenly spheres. metal clips on toes & heels. on fingers & elbows. falling down stairs. making tapdancing music. rolling flipping bouncing banging tumbling bumping & thumping. all the while tap tap tap tap tap tappity tap. until the sirens. the ambulance. the unconscious moment. before the. opening up to
how easy. in the idle of this. sculpture. to loose focus. loose the way. stop listening. really. how easy to be - how did it happen? - somewhere else. waiting for what is not. there.
take the other instrument out. the unplugged one. of its case. where it has been sleeping. wake it. imagine a new sound. invite it with your bow. horsehair and all. change everything. play unplugged. while the others try. to keep up.
cercopithecus diana. diana monkeys. named for the dark browband on white fur. resembling diana's bow. in a forest. ivory coast. the tia forest. mothers holding their infant monkeys. wrestling and juggling them in a frenzy. agitated. leopard nearby. on the forest floor. high in the trees, the monkeys. chittering and chirring their warnings. predator! scampering. in the trees. turning the air around them. into complexities of sound. fit for a chorus. anvil chorus. but not with metal. with flesh.
he taps the cymbal. flings it out & brings it back. taps it. the way the chefs of the inn prepare noodles in the mongolian desert. tapping & flinging their cakes of dough. spinning them out. with flash. with panache. into ever larger and thinner wings. alive with kinetic energy. imparting that energy to the noodles. everyone nourished when the bowls are placed before them.
radio signals have been leaving. earth for eighty years. moving outward...
there is nothing like a straight line in nature...
so these lines of sound, waves of sound, must somewhere out there. collide. cross through each other. go into harmony. like the tacoma narrows bridge. nineteen forty. dynamic interaction. between solid structures. and moving air. is fickle. sound. impregnated air. and solid objects. (is space solid?) deep space ripples. einstein knew that. knew the power of music.
worms. in a box. in the basement. eating. whatever we leave for them. in their blindness. lifting their heads out of their castings. up into the dark air. in the covered space. weaving & wobbling. yearning for light.
song of the cart driver. entering stage left. his theme. his rickety wagon. leitmotif. recognize him by his sound. clatter of the horse's hooves on cobblestone. i remember him. selling his vegetables. up & down the street. when i was a child. elm street. lombard, illinois. an altogether other time.
in the time it takes. the camera shutter. to clink. down. ages pass. lifetimes. a whale's heart beats once every six minutes. its sea-blue blood coursing through those great tunnels of veins for miles. outside the whale. in the water buoying it. smaller fish. their hearts. tapdancing around. the whale.
a stranger opens the door. some look. others do not. nothing happens. he smiles. sound races like schools of tiny silver fish. darting this way. that. on some signal only they. understand. can hear. many of them gain altitude. begin to breathe air. break the surface. become birds.