Drawing in reaction to Fauré’s Requiem

I recently saw Mozart and Fauré’s Requiem at the Paramount Theatre in Rutland, Vermont. Both pieces were excellently performed by the Vermont Symphony Orchestra.

Mozart’s Requiem was, needless to say, very emotional. I found the Fauré piece to be much lighter, celebratory and of course gorgeous. I made this drawing on a small notepad while listening to it. There is a certain openness to this image, with the interlocking parts constantly being reborn and branching out. Encouraging imagery for some tumultuous times.

For those who like classical music, I highly recommend getting a copy of Fauré’s Requiem.


Pictures of pictures / Family

As some may have noticed on this blog, I often photograph photographs or other types of two dimensional imagery. I find that this coincides with my memory of the subject’s recontexualised existence, and moreover the stories and associations that the initial image is trying to sustain. I see this as another layer of interpretation, albeit influenced and possibly distorted. These were taken with my cell phone, as it was the only method of image-capturing I had at the time.

The above three photographs were taken in my grandparents’ house in Connecticut. Over the past 5 years or so I have seen their lives drastically change due to health issues, and with that change comes new ways of perceiving their self-contained world and how various relics of another time recede into physical and metaphorical shadows, rearranged and lost on shelves, staggered amongst related ephemera, partially boxed away and occasionally emerging with a proper rustling.

The first image is believed to be of a small structure which was being built next to the pond behind the house in which my father was raised, now called “The Separatist House”, as it was on Separatist Road, in Storrs, Connecticut. There are some issues identifying this photograph …

The second one is of a quail named Robert. He is pictured here walking through a crèche. The photograph is from the mid-’60s, most likely. The story of Robert is an interesting one. This quail was found by a friend of Margaret Stanger, a lady who played scrabble with my father’s grandmother, “Nanny”. Margaret’s friend found the quail egg seemingly abandoned and in dire need of care, and brought it back to her house. She placed it under a heat lamp, and it eventually hatched. Robert was born, and lived for many years. His life apparently inspired Margaret, as she went on to write a children’s book about him. It’s called That Quail, Robert, and has gone through a number of editions over the years.

The third one is a painting my grandfather did of a house located on Cape Cod, in which Nanny lived. This was before she moved into a house with her sister Margery, across from Lake Farm, on Monument Road, also on the Cape. Lake Farm was a children’s camp which Margery ran. It was a fantastic camp, with Nubian goats, multiple buildings for various activities and a sandy path trailing through a forest which led to Crystal Lake. The camp continued for quite a while even as Margery got older.

This picture was found online, from a site called Bird Watcher’s General Store.
An image of one of the book’s primary editions can be seen here.

Tour Photographs, Gallery 3 : Connecticut, New York City (Visit #2), Pennsylvania (Part 1)

I still have many photographs from the Jaap Pieters / Evan Lindorff-Ellery / Travis Bird tour, aka The Eye of Amsterdam Super 8 U.S. Tour.

These are from our very brief 2-hour visit back to NYC after our show in Boston, and a short respite in Connecticut at my aunt and uncle’s, and then another stop at my other aunt and uncle’s (go figure) in Pennsylvania. Each stop was very nice and brings back good memories—both being there and getting there. This was in October of 2011.

Haven’t posted any photos in a while, but I’ll start up again. Why the hell not, right ? Enjoy …

“A Brief New Year’s Observation” / John Cage – The Number Pieces 6, etc

I received this statement in the Mode Records email bulletin, and I think it’s worth distributing further.

Written by Brian Brandt :

“A BRIEF NEW YEAR’S OBSERVATION: The arts and the music business continue to be battered economically, and internationally, with governments cutbacks of funding along with depressed sales of music both physically and digitally. Though Billboard’s wrap up of 2011 U.S. music sales shows that total sales were up 6.9% for the year, this is not necessarily experienced by the independent and niche labels.

At the risk of being accused a “dinosaur” or “irrelevant”,  I feel it is important to note that there a ramifications to the democracy of the web, in particular the circulation of illegal free downloads (whose effect is obvious) as well the the “legal” use of streaming services like Spotify, Rhapsody, etc. Music listeners should note that these streaming services pay very little per stream – $0.0045 on the average. As an example, Mode had 28,060 streams via one of these services in January and we were paid a total of $6.2034! (you are not misreading, that is SIX dollars – the decimal places are indeed correct). Yes, these services may be convenient and liberating but listeners should be aware that such income is not adequate to sustain labels or artists.

When writing and talking about this subject, I have been accused of needing to evolve and this is how the world is going to be. Maybe so. But the costs to make a quality recording, whether issued physically or into the ether digitally does not change. Such recordings cannot continue to be made if income is severely diminished. And unlike major labels, the independents cannot easily make up the difference by promoting concert tours, selling T-shirts, posters and other merchandising.

So yes, those who can make their music at home or in their garage may (or may not) benefit from this “democratic” level playing field. But quality niche recordings cannot continue indefinitely in such an economic environment. And so in time less and less quality adventurous recordings will be made and the digital democracy’s effect can actually starve out and diminish the amount of new music you will hear – the exact opposite of the digital utopia predicted by so many pundits.

In closing, please consider your approach to music and how you obtain it. Purchase it, whether physically or digitally, and consider the impact of the music you obtain by streaming. Every person can make a difference.”

On another note, the email bulletin also mentioned a new John Cage “Number Pieces” volume, part of Mode Records’ extremely valued and thorough series documenting much of Cage’s work. The series is listed here. The new volume, #44, is called “The Number Pieces 6”. This volume will contain :

Five (1988) 
for any five voices or instruments

Seven (1988)
for flute, clarinet, violin, viola, cello, piano & percussion

Thirteen (1992)
for flute, oboe, clarinet, bassoon, trumpet, trombone, tuba, 2 violins, viola, cello & 2 xylophones

Thirteen is a rarely recorded piece. These were performed by the ensemble Essential Music. Forthcoming on Mode as well, apparently, is a collection of percussion pieces by Third Coast Percussion.

There are a number of John Cage recordings forthcoming this year, as well as festivals focusing on his music. Last year we didn’t see many new recordings, so perhaps this one will make up for that. Some of those festivals and events can be read about here.

John Cage’s music, philosophies, artwork and (especially ?) his personality have been extremely important to me over the past couple years. His work is as unending as the cosmos and as grounded as the roots below us. I’m very excited to see what 2012, his centennial, will bring us.

A Poem : 2012 / Shit !

2012 / Shit !
By Gary Lindorff

I approached him at the party

Because I didn’t know anyone,

Because he looked harmless,

Because he stood alone,

And I introduced myself.

I said,

You must know a lot of these people,

And he looked straight ahead and said,

All my friends live underground.

And then I realized that he was almost dead,

And I had the idiotic notion that I could help him.

But then he looked right at me

And it hit me that I too was almost dead,

That nobody knew anybody here,

And that he was the only one who could stand the truth.

So I left,

Passing through rooms full of people,

Through the mudroom,

The ice-room,

The wind-room,

Out onto the sidewalk.

And I just started walking,

Following the angling streets

Breathing in the sour breath

Of an exhausted planet,

Trying to remember how to live.


Posted at thiscantbehappening.net
Image, as always, by Evan Lindorff-Ellery.

2011 in Review

Needless to say, this certainly is not a “Best Of” list, as there is so much fantastic electroacoustic improv, techno/dance, jazz and archival releases/reissues I didn’t hear this year, but wanted to and couldn’t due to lack of time and/or money. Therefore, inevitably—like many other year-end lists—this is what I enjoyed the most, culled from what I was able to add to my collection over the past year.

Pierre Gerard and Andy Graydon – Untitled, (Magnetisms) (Winds Measure)
My mind has flexed itself trying to wrap around this release’s many convolutions and multi-tiered, pock-marked constructs. Moreover, the music stretches across a great deal of musical territory—not just the mental territory I’ve created from its sounds. Side B has sections which recall Basic Channel’s extremely sparse dub-inflected moments, and much of the tape recalls early-’50s electronic and tape pieces, but there is something that separates it from that period entirely. I can’t figure it out. I find this release to be extremely original.

アンドリュー チョーク (Andrew Chalk) – 夜のバイオリン (Violin By Night) (Faraway Press)
By far my favorite Andrew Chalk release. I’m having a hard time explaining why this album is so wonderful to me. Its distant and recurrent radio-like sounds, its fractured and interwoven textures give it a peculiar domestic foundation. At times, the sounds are released into the air with just enough time to take on forms in multiple ways and give different stories. Then they come back down. Andrew Chalk creates amorphous and oddly exaggerated emotions, yet they thrive on a separate plane than that of most mental concerns.

Haptic – Scilens (Entr’acte)

Anne Guthrie – Perhaps A Favorable Organic Moment (Copy For Your Records)

Anne Guthrie – Baronfelix (Soundcloud page)

Seth Cluett – Objects Of Memory (Line)
I went out and saw the branches, delicate as telephone wires, each half-golden with the contour created by streetlight. Angles swept down to the center of the night from the rooftops, placed firmly within the blue-black sky. Maybe one star shone, but I did not see it. I have so many things from the past hanging on my walls and sitting on my shelves. As things sit on shelves, their lives are extended. A strange cold emerged in the night and moved a wet leaf across concrete and into a small corner. I can hear a bird singing. I am travelling now. Turtles climb toward a plant. I see a forest, and patches of light spot the floor.

Steve Roden / Various – … I Listen To The Wind That Obliterates My Traces – Music In Vernacular Photographs, 1880-1955 (Dust-to-Digital)

Jean-Luc Guionnet / Seijiro Murayama – Window Dressing (Potlatch)

Scott Smallwood/Sawako/Seth Cluett/Ben Owen/Civylu Kkliu –Phonography Meeting 070823 (Winds Measure)

Grouper – A I A : Dream Loss (Yellow Electric)
Grouper – A I A : Alien Observer (Yellow Electric)
Or maybe rocks on the edge of a river. Or maybe one large rock with pits and falls and curves and sections of lakewater collected in pools. The sky was dark grey, and the horizon was an ending. We were climbing over the rocks late on a Saturday afternoon, as we often did. He climbed up a portion of the rocks and into a hollowed out area with golden light inside. To do this, he had to climb over a tall stack of old glass bottles and glass rocks—also illuminated by the light—which were situated at a kind of entrance to this place. Once he got in, he was crouched down and doing something. I tried to follow, but I was afraid I’d topple over the bottles and glass rocks. I couldn’t step around and over them like he did. So I decided to take the wall apart in order to get through. Each bottle and glass rock was illuminated by the light of this place. Some were green, clear, blue and a few were red.

Jason Kahn, 류한길 (Ryu Hankil), 진상태 (Jin Sangtae), 홍철기 (Hong Chulki), 최준용 (Choi Joonyong), 박승준 (Park Seungjun) – Dotolim (Balloon & Needle)

 Angharad Davies, Julia Eckhardt, Dominic Lash, Stefan Thut – Four Quartets And Four Soli (Compost and Height)

Tiziana Bertoncini, Thomas Lehn – Horsky Park (Another Timbre)

Matt Earle, Jason Kahn & Adam Sussmann – Concerts Melbourne+Sydney(Avant Whatever)

Sandro Perri – Impossible Spaces (Constellation)

Prurient – Bermuda Drain (Hydra Head Records)
Excess, excess, guilty pleasure. Nights containing razor-sharp shifting mental spaces, their translucencies overlapping to create a foundation of clouds.

Cooly G – Landscapes / It’s Serious (Hyerdub)

Rustie – Glass Swords (Warp Records)

Machinedrum – Room(s) (Planet Mu)

Lone – Echolocations (R & S Records)

James Blake – James Blake (Atlas Recordings / A&M Records)

Kuedo – Severant (Planet Mu)
This is an album that mind-bogglingly succeeds at integrating the skittering rhythms and energy of Chicago Juke/Footwork into classic early-’80s electronic and ambient music, stabilizing the entire package with cinematic elements that are not, surprisingly, cheesy at all. During 2011 and 2010, I’ve found it very interesting how dance producers are approaching the Juke/Footwork aesthetic currently gaining amazing amounts of international critique, and either recontextualising the style into a more popular one or, like the label Planet Mu, taking it on almost as their child savant, giving it space to grow and show off its raw and unadulterated talent. Planet Mu also gives the hi-fi vinyl treatment to straight-up Chicago Juke and Footwork which popularized itself by cellphone and Youtube videos—what a riot, that is. From what I can gather, this style has taken a saturation of pop and hip hop music inevitably found throughout the South Side of Chicago (and, like, everywhere else) and set it out to dry—no, wrung it tight in strong hands, forced dry in seconds—letting any remaining dampness bake and sizzle in the sun. The crustiness of the scorched pop and hip hop rag begins to disintegrate, and each particle is used to decorate urban monuments of fractured, perpetually crumbling mainstream relics. To this decorating, Kuedo contributes using long, wide brushstrokes of syrupy, oil-based paint.

Holy Other – With U (Tri Angle)

Hieroglyphic Being – Primitif Nous Sommes (Music From Mathematics)

Hype Williams – One Nation (Hippos In Tanks)

Andy Stott – Passed Me By (Modern Love)

Mark Fell – Manitutshu (Editions Mego)

Mark Fell and Peter Rehberg – Kubu / Zikir (Editions Mego)

Various – Jess & Crabbe Present Bazzerk – African Digital Dance (Mental Groove Records)

Luc Ferrari (perf. Musiques Nouvelles / Scottish Flute Trio / Li Ping Ting) – Madame De Shanghai/Après Presque Rien/Visage 2 (Mode)

Morton Feldman (perf. Deutsches Symphonie-Orchester Berlin) – Orchestra (Mode)

John Cage (perf. Percussion Group Cincinnati) – The Works for Percussion 1 (Mode)

Miloš Karadaglic – Mediterráneo (Deutsche Grammophon)
Aside from the dumb title, uninspired cover art, generic design (another fine example of a mainstream classical label’s visual aesthetic disintegrating sometime after the early to mid-’90s), this collection of classical guitar pieces was immensely enjoyable and, from what I can tell, supremely played. Just divine, as some folks would say. I could be wrong ! But I don’t care. My lack of knowledge regarding classical guitar, its history, or any of these compositions except for Albéniz’s “Asturias” gives me the liberty of enjoying this album based exclusively on personal reasons and its aesthetically pleasing aural contours. “Asturias” is a nocturnal piece for me, as it became a regular midnight companion on many Winter nights of 2011—an emotionally tumultuous time—during which I found myself listening to classical music and Chicago’s WFMT FM constantly (on which “Asturias” is played every midnight); and through the candle-lit reflections of my plants and picture frames in the blackness of my bedroom window its sound became diffuse.

There were so many releases from labels like Another TimbreConsumer WasteEntr’acteErstwhileEdition WandelweiserEngraved Glass and many more, that I did not get a chance to explore. Also Eliane Radigue’s Transamorem – TransmortemI would love to hear that at some stage.

Still amazed at how much innovative, “brand new”, challenging, entertaining, and even “accessible” music exists in so many areas of the musical spectrum, yet the everyday person still does not know any of it exists. Somehow they’re content thinking that the mainstream music industry is still capable of producing quality products for consumption, or they’re too apathetic/indifferent to seek out anything better. With a few glistening exceptions —if everything was as chromatic and visceral as some of the Beyoncé and Nicki Minaj singles, there wouldn’t be as much of a problem —I can’t see how the mainstream music industry is satisfying anyone’s needs.