Homewood Studios Events Archive
March 11, 2013
IMPROVISED MUSIC AT HOMEWOOD STUDIOS
Milo Fine (electronic piano [electronics], B flat clarinet [electronics], marimba) / Joe Smith (electronics, woodwinds) /
Jesse Petersen (guitar)
Sound investigations begin at 7p. Suggested donation $5.
theme: melting memory
preface: technical unexpecteds. the need for small batteries. alert and concerned audience members leaning forward into the problem. "it ain't going to work." the stage is set: improvisation within improvisation.
anxiety over beginning late melts into currents of sound around the corners of quiet. and flood the space. everything wired and amped. day two of daylight saving the dark for later and the cloud-gray sky holding as much light as it has all day. surprising and abrupt caesuras slice into the soundscape - sharp, silent rocks emerging fro the current of sound to punctuate the noise images with diacritical stillness. only briefly. not a pause to reflect. rather to inflect. to begin again, in medias res, in the middle of sound. in the loud of it, not the building up but the right now. already there. vibrating. elevating. suspended above ourselves. patient for the glacier to move - in its own epic time - and to tell us that story of move. in a plane of sound we would not ordinarily sit still for. or even notice. swept by the flood current into a differing space. a differing level of listen.
bells, now. distant. insistent. sliding their choir voice down a mountainside. avalanche. no use trying to outrun it. sit still. allow it to wash over. through. sit still. it is coming from inside. sit. still. feel bones vibrate. seat bones against the chair. the rattle of the music tracking along the floor, up through the chair legs. to inside. viscera rattling. bouncing. ready to take flight, but anchored, somehow, to the earth. to the way heels tingle against the moving floor. toenails loosening...
telegraph signals from 1844 and brain signals from 2013 travel at roughly the same speed. eleven hundred miles a minute. how long to tap out a message in morse music? how many texts can a single transmission line carry without distortion becoming a concern rather than an aesthetic choice? what is the quantuum of music? of these three musicians all wired and amped as i.f to an electro- enchephalogram machine?
clarinet riff from rhapsody in blue migrates to mauve and drops in, briefly. becomes an evening of the fawn. a luggish vehicle stuck in the mud rocks forth and back on its half-inflated tires. hardly recalling past times of adequate tire pressure and smooth-surfaced roads. instead, drags a chain the size of an anaconda behind it. wind rocketing through the snake's body like fire. like the liquid and burning center of the earth.
the aurochs' footsteps become the bells. clanging. far off. each clang hovering. not diminishing. hanging in the air. like fire.
an insect barking. nearby. starlight, hidden by clouds of memory, awaits the answering bark. nothing. the rock of silence. lit by the fire of ringing bells. those bells the quaking of trees begin to melt. surrendering their physical properties. their science book qualities. migrating to philosophy books. trading atoms with each other. until...
sunlight speeds along the rim of a vast canyon. the dark below content to be dark. black. turbulent and unseen. a frisson of light hovering just above the rim stone turns into electric crickets. hoards of them. then just a few. then into silver raindrops hitting the glowing stones like rim shots on a snare drum. away down the hill slide the corn sparkles in the opening light to remember its roots in the dry earth. roots stretching toward the canyon floor, looking for water. the silver sliding sound feeding the roots.
it left home without a key. the others, going their own way a few minutes later, worried. if we lock the doors, how will it get back in? everything went quiet for a moment. everything listened to the possibility of not going well. everything stopped being itself and became something else. memory melted, the puddles, with ripples on their surfaces, went deep into the past. small stones lodged at the bottom of the ponds rattled and moved. slightly. rocked forth and back as if holding a crying child. a child who would not sleep. would not quiet. would not be still. a child given to discovering the far edge of her voice. the edge of the known sound. that edge sailors of ancient times feared as they sailed into the unknown, the unmapped. believing they would, one day, fall over, sail over that edge, into whatever came next. the roiling, tumbling, writhing abyss and darkness saturated with virulent energy. as yet untapped.
by then his hand was numb. nerves in the base of his thumb tingling. sparking. acting like satellite brains, sending complex impulses to the intremidies. fingers, numb from playing the strings,the keys. sending impulses to the tranquil brain. the messages resting there, in a pool, puddling. rocking. as in a cradle.
now that avalanche, building a strong head of steam, rushing down the hillside, starts to hum. the ground beneath the moving snow dances in minute down and up movements. thousands of them. encouraging the rumbling snow to keep moving. bits of the snowpack fling into the air. become birds. christened by sunsparkle. melt into feather bursts. tiny explosions of matter. heading quietly towards extinction.
then the wind. iced by the memory of melting birds. lit by the tickle of rim light. sped along by the nudge of water sound. the wind squeals. bleats. riffs up and down the edgeline of memory looking for a place to land. while the heavy-footed beast shuffles across the plain below. in the path of the determined avalanche.
a temple bell. alone above it all. two white birds on a aspen branch. something like a whisper seeping from the stones. transistor wired to the tree bark. sound of water rising from the ground through the cell walls of the aspen. singing to the bark. to the spent core of its older self. the bell again. then again. forgetting what it is. forgetting its bell shape. its bell sound. memory melting. rememberings, instead of the mineral earth. under the snow. going flat. the shape of a cymbal in the morning light. the edge of the cymbal, the rim edge of the canyon, catching and spinning sound. like light. sending impulses, like code, into the pathways of the brain. suggesting action. or not.
scale. size. seize size. scale scale. break in. enlarge. inflate. breath in. expand. inspire. evolve. flow. change. tumble. into space. feel wings. growing. from shoulder blades. legs curve into talons. feathers lift. along shoulders. arms. fingers. stand at the edge. of the dark. the abyss. rimmed with light. avalanche sliding. like a dream. like a glacier. toward you. and. you leap...
...and the fall does not. in not. remains about to happen. a suspension. hiatus. lacuna. in which everything continues. but does not move. time, particularly, does not...
...until the heartbeat. until the old du-dah du-dah du-dah. until the voice from behind the wall. until the fingernails scratching on the slateboard. until the condor's shadow passing over the city. until the sounds of children running through the fields of their imagination. until a crack appears. in the sidewalk. until light filters out from the crack. until the light emits a tone. the temple bell. sending the perfume of a lily into the air. until a boney hand reaches across the sky. and plucks a star from the night. drops it into the pool of memory. to the bottom of the pond. dark. where it sizzles. melts. a pebble memory. the tumbling snow slows, slows. stops at the edge of the pool. a few moments of rolled snow skipping into the water. dissolving. settling in to the dark. melting away. like memory.