Monday, February 8, 2010

Vibrational Movement Around & Through Walls

I usually listen to the musical track a good two or three times in the course of creating a post. I have listened to this piece in full three times now. Each time I have found it terrifying. I am sorry to have left this for last because there is a whole ‘nother story going on during Scot’s last days of walking the planet. There aren’t enough joyful words on the planet to describe all that.

There was this internal world that Scot lived in that none of us could know or understand—we only got glimpses. Coming to it now, this music scarily fits. The discomfort. The unpleasantness. The wanting it to end.

But enough of that. What I want to write about now is some of the underlying themes of this piece as I remember them, now looking back. While Composer-in-Residence, Scot did many pieces that were gentle, magnificent and pleasant to listen to. This piece was not one of those.

Remember now, this place had only just recently come to be a home to artist-in-residences and a terrific place for patrons to party. It had been a house of war. There was a darkness there. Memories were buried in the splinters of the place.

The hillsides were dotted with bunkers and artillery installations. Up until just recently, it had been a private, guarded space. The landscape has been sculpted for its purposes. The real landscape couldn’t help but make its impact, salt upon metal pipes, corrosion, waves and tides pulling and pushing, depositing and washing away.

Scot and I spent the ‘Harmonic Convergence’ there. Remember that? It was billed as sort of a preparation for achieving the proper planetary tuning to help the planet traverse the 2012 cataclysm. If I ever saw an alien close up it was that day. The headland was crawling with them all in their white flowey gowns and laurel leaf crowns. I’m going out on a limb here, but the place did have a special vibe. If I was an alien, that’s where I would land.

Anyway, this music has all of these themes. There is also a lot of reversing going on, a sort of undoing. Getting stuff ready to guide back to its own dark place. There are 14 segments. Yesterday, February 7, 2010 we heard parts 1-7. Today we will hear parts 8-14.

Part I comes on strong with the reverse loops. In this piece so much is coming from the past. Certainly the base, the barrack, the latrine, but also the thick heavy steel frame and doors that had recently been installed as possible the first performance toilet. An early scraping motif is established.

In Part II, we begin to hear something like a whisper, as if there is something here that wants telling, but it afraid and distant. In Part III we are introduced to some swishing that for me works as both the ocean—the natural world crashing along just outside the door, but also life with no shadow—no shadow because it lives in the dark.

In Part IV another motif is introduced, metal as it sways. Right around the time Scot was doing this piece, a sound performance artist working at the Center had hooked up a mike on the Golden Gate Bridge. This feed combined the natural sounds of gulls and wave, but also an unbelievable amount of groaning coming straight from the tresses of the bridge. Scot went in search of the resonance within those doors.

Part V brings in a buzz, almost insect in nature and tone, but not. Part VI brings us another almost animal-like sound—whale song—transmitted for long distance. But the whale song becomes metallic—definitely not warm blooded—a radar echo. Comfort comes in Part VII. Echoes of waves and distant foghorns resonate from the metal.

Part VIII, a landing of sorts. The natural world is reconnoitered. In Part IX secrets are whispered. Played back. Sent back. By Part X, the backwards circles have gotten huge. A vortex emerges. In Part XI imagine a backwards slingshot, bits breaking off and flying loose. The sound files up all the space available. In Part XII, XIII & XIV we are still with the sound, the secrets, the discomfort, but the sound has been released. Sucked through a straw where it has become checked into the library of cosmic resonances. The work ends abruptly, so watch out.

Today’s artwork done in 2006. More sepia. More surrealism.

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