Sunday, March 8, 2009

"We must fly in potent circles"

Last week Grammy nomination man Adam Long and I got a good rough of a tricky piece in The Sydney Highrise Variations score.

The fragment of the text in question, to be framed under the title “We must fly in potent circles”:

Directly under the flightpath, and tuned to listening,
we hear the cockpit traffis, the black box channel
that can't be switched off: Darwinians and Lawrentians
are wrestling for the controls,
We must take her into Space! We must fly in potent circles!
Les Murray's biographer and preeminent critic Peter F. Alexander, of the University of New South Wales in Sydney, nails this stanza in the essay he wrote just for us:

As he stands on Gladesville Bridge by his paralyzed car, he seems to hear the struggle for the soul of the twentieth century going on in ideological conflict around him. Those who wish to move towards more rapid evolution struggle with those who try to take us back into ourselves: ‘Darwinians and Lawrentians/are wrestling for the controls,/We must take her into space!/ We must fly in potent circles!’
I paired the text with an improvisation from the early 1980s: Middle Sleep making it up as they go along in a house on Lookout Mountain in Laurel Canyon. Les' reading - recorded years before I ever heard Middle Sleep from their bassist, Richard Derrick - fits the pace of the track. It just needed to be chopped and screwed a bit.

Free mp3

"We must fly in potent circles"
(Middle Sleep, Les Murray)
Middle Sleep with Les Murray


The illustration, which I think fits the feel of the track and its title, is Improvisation for Albert Ayler (The Sea) #2 by St. Louis artist Tony Renner.

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