Monday, June 1, 2009

Church organ, psycho chant, hall of mirrors kills meditation

As I was saying here right recently, St. Louis composer and musician Frank Heyer balked at a collage piece, "In ambiguous battle at length," I made by splicing together one of his fretless guitar pieces and what the poet Les Murray calls his "mouth music" translation of his own poem The Sydney Highrise Variations.

Frank, being a nice guy, was willing to register his dissastisfaction yet authorize the piece, not wanting to have wasted my time - and not knowing that I would enjoy the assignment of finding a different piece of music that would work just as well.

In that there post, I suggested using "Frozen Moment" by Poetry Scores' go-to outsider musicians Another Umbrella, those mad improvisers from Los Angeles County. But, the more I thought about it, the more I thought I should be looking only at pieces very near Les' "mouth music" in length - and, at 8:29, "Frozen Moment" was nearly twice as long as Les' vocal improvisation.

After all, I have twenty-nine discs of Another Umbrella's adventurous music to choose from, plus another one hundred discs or more of other archival source recordings at my disposal. I could narrow my selections down to pieces at or near 4:30 in length and still, no doubt, have a lot to choose from.

So, I went back to my Another Umbrella gigbook, and I made three picks based on my notes and track length. After close listening, a clear winner emerged:
Free mp3s

"Uncertain A/F" (5:09)
(Richard Derrick)
Another Umbrella

Richard Derrick * guitar
Recorded at home, 21 March 1987
Medium: cassette

My listening notes to this piece may be of interest. They come in sets, the first written in Matt Fuller's hand from a car jam when I was driving - I assume, in Los Angeles:
tape hiss, space station meditation, church organ, psycho chant, hall of mirrors kills meditation.
That all still sounds right, as does this, in my hand, from a subsequent solo listening session:

space station meditation, pygmy chant effect, hall of mirrors, schizo.
I have not yet superimposed this piece onto Les' mouth music, though here is that supremely odd excursion, for reference:

"Mouth music"
(Les Murray)
Les Murray

And for my own future reference, I will post up the other two Another Umbrella pieces that are the right length for Les' "mouth music," but not quite the right mood.

"Sync 3" (4:42)
Another Umbrella

Crane * keyboards
First two keyboards recorded at Crane's (Palos Verdes), June 1986
Synced at Art Asylum (San Pedro), 16 July 1986
Third keyboard recorded at Art Asylum, 16 July 1986
Mixed at home by Richard Derrick, 24 September 2007

"Keyboards" (4:31)
Another Umbrella

Crane * keyboards
Recorded at Crane's (Palos Verdes), October 1987
For use at KSPC, 9 October 1987 show
Medium: four-track cassette

My listening notes to both of these tracks by Crane make mention of the St. Louis rapper Toyy. I'll have to get together with my girl and listen to these and other Another Umbrella tracks. I know I made her a CDr of some options more than a year ago. Love to hear her sing and rap over beats constructed from this stuff.


The image is of Crane and Richard Derrick enjoying a repast on the Poetry Scores tab at Redondo Beach last year.

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