Private Hearing / Public Address

On May 1st, I performed two pieces of music in the basement of Unnamable Books in Brooklyn, about a block from where Kelly and I lived in 2002. It was at an Boog City event, the d.a. levy-palooza #3, featuring Nostrovia! Press, Lark Books, and my friend Marthe’s Nous-Zot Press. Marthe invited me along to play music in between the different poem-readers. The event had been planned for the backyard, but setting up my gear in the basement, right next to the HCI section, seemed like a perfect fit.

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The work I performed was a combination of drones, field recordings, and synthesizer burbles and sequences I’ve been working on over the past few months. Most of the inspiration for the pieces came from the start-up chime that plays in my hearing aids each morning, something that no one else hears. I sampled that, and worked it into a composition with my microbrute synth, my Suzuki omnichord, a little transistor radio, my telecaster and ebow, a 20 year old Akai S20 sampler, a little Volca Beats drum machine, and lots of effects boxes I’ve collected over the years (including a Electro Harmonix Freeze pedal, that really shaped the sound on these). Here’s an image of the set up I dragged across New York State:

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Along with the hearing aid samples, I drew audio from my “True Confession: I Wore a Wire” project, my 2005 ambient album For Fora, a recording of a hospital recovery room, chopped audio from this video of Kelly and me in Iceland, and a few other places, like the non-playing parts of a recording of me on acoustic guitar and a recording of me typing poems and secrets.

I haven’t performed my own music out in front of people for a while; probably just DJ sets since about 2006, and definitely not without other musicians on stage for very long time. I think that really influenced what I put together, and how I prepared. Most generally, these pieces are about different ways of hearing, what we hear when we are alone, or think that we are, and all of the sounds that come in between the “content” of our lives. The melodic portions of both compositions were concerned with matching the notes in the bizarre and comforting hearing aid chime, and trying to replicate its dissonance (while still remaining listenable for a crowd of poets).

I ended up doing two 15 minute sets at the event, and my final rehearsals for those are posted below. “Private Hearing” was first, then “Public Address.”

I was pretty happy with the result; no one left the basement while I was playing, and it all reverberated off of the books and basement walls in a pretty satisfying way. One glitch was that someone put their purse down on a surge protector and knocked out the power to half of my gear before I started, but that was fairly easily resolved. Also, I think I did a better job closing out the second piece cleanly live than the rehearsal recording shows. People were really attentive to the field recordings and interested in the Omnichord. I’d like to be in a situation to play something like this much, much louder, but that will have to wait for another venue and audience.

I wrote about always booing “Hey Jude” in 58 tweets last week

“Redactions” in Heavy Feather Review 4.2

I mentioned a few months back that I had a poem-comic showing up in print soon, & on Tuesday, I got my contributor’s copy of the issue in which it appears in the mail. “Redactions,” a three-page comic I did about some things that all happened in around 2001 was printed in the latest issue of Heavy Feather review:

CMLDK6DUcAAt_75.jpg largeMaybe it’s the paper, or just the being-in-print, but I think it actually looks nicer than my original. It’s still jarring to see my own chicken-scratch handwriting reproduced in a journal; I hope it’s not too illegible.

Anyway, you can order the issue now. It’s loaded with great work by Meghan Privitello, Jane Lewty, Marco Maisto, and more, and features another *color* comic by Disa Wallander.

Can’t wait to get to work on another comic.

Fun fact: the subway scene from the comic took place when Kelly and I were on our way to see Les Misérables with her father.

Three Poems up at the Collapsar

I am very pleased to have three poems up at the Collapsar.

One of them, MANY PARTS FALL INTO BACKYARDS, mentions a video I once posted here (Former Bass Destroyed, 1/29/2009), of artist Christoph Draeger and friends reenacting the Who’s performance at the Monterrey Pop Festival at the Lyon Museum of Contemporary art in 2007.  He didn’t tell me he was going to smash it when I sold it to him, but I probably would have given him a discount if he had. Here it is again:

pillarunitThat poem also references the 1960 plane crash in my old neighborhood of Park Slope, Brooklyn, about which Christoph had created artwork in his series of jigsaw puzzles of disasters.

The contemporary NYT stories about the crash are horrifying, and the title of the poem comes from one of the slightly lighter headlines from that week: “S.I. HOMES SPARED BY FALLING DEBRIS: Parts of Airliner Land in Backyards — No One on Ground Is Injured MANY PARTS FALL INTO BACKYARDS Fuselage Hits 100 Yards From Woman Running With Her Infant. ” The crash occurred because two planes collided over Staten Island, but most of the United plane fell in Brooklyn.

The Times followed up on the story a few years back, and you can read a bit of that coverage here.

 

 

 

Oh, and I ran the NYC Marathon, finally.

Activity Details for ING NYC Marathon 2009

Kruger in my old hood

Barbara Kruger Covers Up the Lever House – ANIMAL.

This looks like a pretty amazing installation– Lever House, at 390 Park Ave, was just a few buildings away from where I first worked in NYC (which I came to refer to as “Dark Tower”). I often sat a cross this building and just stared at it over my food-cart lunch. If I were there now, I’d have something to read.

WordPress Adapted from: Esquire by Matthew Buchanan.