Tuesday, June 23, 2009

In ambiguous battle at length with Adam Long

This is what Adam Long and I accomplished last night in his home studio in Midtown St. Louis as we resumed work on our poetry score to The Sydney Highrise Variations.


"In ambiguous battle at length"
(Richard Derrick, Les Murray)
Another Umbrella, Les Murray

This reflects one of the less commonly employed technics of scoring poems: using a pregnant phrase in the poem as the title of an instrumental interlude. Though this is not, quite, an instrumental. It also features the great Australian poet, Les Murray, making what he called "mouth music".

When I first described this project to Les, during an afternoon at The Met, he said he always associated certain sounds with this poem. When I later recorded him reading the poem in an apartment in Long Island City, he also came up with this unusual performance by scanning the poem and translating it into these growls and whistles.

The musical bed I chose for it is Richard Derrick playing guitar at home in San Pedro, California on 21 March 1987, recorded on the homely medium of cassette. It is part of his vast Another Umbrella Archive that he has donated for use by Poetry Scores.


Photo is of Adam at the home studio rig.

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