Saturday, January 15, 2011

The crow blows down the gap in the wind

The image is borrowed from the Flickr of Jay J. Wilkie and belongs to him, not us.

The first time I played in a rock band at a public space, there was Tim McAvin, grinning under a superb sombrero. Somehow or another he has been there ever since; my next attack of insomnia, I'll figure out a Tim McAvin discography in connection to the evolution of bands and projects that is Poetry Scores.

Here lately, I reached out to the creative and reliable people I could think of, asking for source recordings to score a poem by the great K. Curtis Lyle. Tim, as usual, came through for me. I was expecting a recording sitting around on the shelf, something unused or insufficiently used, that we could reposition and retitle. But Tim is one of these protean creations, the good stuff just pours out of him; what he craves is a good excuse to shut it off or make some productive use of it. Because like the typical protean character, he was not born to be the secretary or executive manager of his own creativity.

So, Tim banged something out for us that afternoon. "Here's a little Western whatnot. Done this afternoon. Mix rough, have all files," Tim scrawled, in the email message that transported the sound file. He cooked up "a little Western whatnot," because the score we are working on has as its final destination a silent Western movie. Poetry Scores starts with a long poem, in this instance a new sequence of pre-existing K. Curtis Lyle poems and fragments we agreed to provisionally retitle O sadness over rage O rage over sadness, the beautiful title of one of the constituent poems.

Curtis was my go-to guy for a poem to score with the end result being a silent Western. First of all, he is from the west, from Los Angeles, and he has a wide, Western, sweeping perspective on things. There are big skies and dangerous mountains in Curtis' perspective, and windswept deserts, where poisonous snakes and scorpions live and die. Curtis' blood, too, is a medley of the American West -- of Indian and African and surely European, of gun slinger and arrow whistler -- and Curtis has deeply lived many of the spiritual crises and catharses associated with the literature and experience of the West in lucid and brilliant poems I have been reading and turning over in my mouth for twenty years.

So here is Tim's "little Western whatnot". Not sure where it will fit into the score, or if it will fit. The poet and I are coproducing the poetry score; and since I like everything I am posting up and I am posting up way more than we can use in a one-hour movie, Curtis is in essence getting the first cut. But I have provisionally titled this scrap of music by Tim with a scrap of poetry by Curtis from near where I think this piece might fit in.

Sound Files

"The crow blows down the gap in the wind"
(Tim McAvin)
Tim McAvin


Tim McAvin now is the songwriter and frontman for the brilliant post-punk rock band Karate Bikini.



Frontier fiddle concerto by Barbara Harbach for silent Western
Six Chirps Smith fiddle tunes for a silent Western score
"Alcohol and Used Father Peyote" with Mike Burgett
From car jam to lost rock bands to Black Indian Cowboy poem
Barbara Harbach string quintet for Black Indian Cowboy score
Spaghetti Western music for O sadness over rage O rage over sadness


The image is borrowed from the Flickr of Jay J. Wilkie and belongs to him, not us.

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