Transmission date January 28, 2007: KJ's diuretic post

Now nearing 5 months into the experiment. Chaos thoroughly invested throughout daily life. Quit my job at the university one month ago owing to egregious differences, have had my work repudiated because I am a divergent thinker. Having peculiar insights. Quasi-spiritual revelation about the enthusiasm and spontaneity, about the ghost child haunting me. Loss of social sincerity, but I’m still honestly nice to bus drivers.

Went down to the Sally Ann and picked up some more crap cassettes. Recorded a cell-phone conversation at the video store, a girl, thick with that current tone of nasal attitude reminiscent of Zappa’s daughter Moon Unit (or as I was to later surmise, this a variation on the Latinate Luna Una) doing spoon-gagged Cali valley girl, but now with a decidedly more mundane frequency, still put on for show, but less surprising and completely ubiquitous among the both the ripe and ripening fruits of this self-alienated city. Hers a monologue of self glorification for the less capable. She was getting back into modelling, a student who couldn’t think, was trying, but should be left alone (by her parents) and shouldn’t be left alone (by her X boyfriend) to have to date some guy she didn’t care for. A voice that, like alchemy, fuses base metals, fuses an attitude of complete indifference with constant pleas for self-affirmation and attention. One microstep away from blogging. (If I post this journal entry will I have committed the sin of blogging? Mental pledge not to post but as example, or requiste testimony. However, if we ran our musical method on all the globes blogs, spam, etc., we would come up with the equivalent in poetry!) The cell phone has brought this numbing verbal drivel and set it on a pedestal of class preoccupation. Nudging out the schizophrenic voices from public display with recitations of the terminally bored.

Day by day passes trying to keep a mental profile of reasonable task achievement. Random anxieties come in tidal flows, even the bus seems full of hallucinations. Trying to disappear, go incognito by listening to last album I cut up, #32, Wishbone Summons. Never used to get so much space as I do when listening to this music in public. They can’t hear it, but supersensory plasma storms make them take any other seat than the one next to me. Need to rework the order of tracks, perhaps cut a few from the tracklist. I was too precious, having had a few days to reflect I want to discard moments that lack compression. That is our whole point. We are working the poetics of sound, not the prosaic pulp fiction of mass productions’ titillatory prozac. This is Soma! Magical mushrooms of the aural realms. It’s not really artistic expression, but rather artistic compression, nth degree communications. Then we extract nutrients from the waste, the nuggets from the slew, at home on computers. It takes a trained ear, because moods, events of the day change how you hear it.

Sometimes I’m at a loss to begin because I like the raw uncut version and can’t hear where to start further refinement. Luckily, because it's based on cut-up, its pretty easy to make more cuts. Sometimes I can’t listen to it because I am too critical, and can’t hear the music at all. But I persevere, sometimes it takes a number of repeated listens to get it right, to hear the song form, from both of us clearly, to know what is a reflective flaw from an actual musical one, to trace the stroke of inert genius which arises from waste, like a lotus blooming in the fetid swamp. Glorious accidental voices leaping into hyper-relevance, like that moment when the bestial bottom end, so dry yet inhaling like a snoring Behemoth, has these short gaps of exhale, and a woman’s voice from one of the source tapes in an unknowable context says the word “beat” exactly during the rest between these rent lung sucking bass growls. Or that titular moment in “Stevie’s Solution” from the same session where the comic voice says “Hey Stevie-baby, is that you?” (feedback squeal) and the other basso voice replies “Why yes, and I brought some samples with me to try out, so let’s get to work!” Epitomizes hyper-relevant accident.

I hear the same dynamics in our playing…how to describe it, I’m thinking of that term “immelmanning” from Malcolm Lowry’s Under the Volcano, (means to glide in a swooping fashion, like swallows or dolphins). There are two modes of performance we get into, one when it is ecstatic, unbound, not in beats but waves, and waves within waves, gliding through audio turbulence on a star-guided sonic migration, and another when our performance is subsumed, lost in derivative cultural pretentions which flood in from the multiple sources we pour into the mix simultaneously. That’s also a basis for how I end up cutting up tabs of these raw psychoactive soundscapes. Lately Don has been cutting up these albums faster than I have, 2 or 3 times faster. I put the last one down to the fact that I’d used too much of the Jacob samples, so that they were on too many tunes and it was bothering me, so I cut them out, or at least minimized them to the best of my ability, but sometimes what Don was doing was too good to lose so I had to get fancy with how I was treating the tracks. I love the fact that I’m using an open source software (Audacity) to do it, but it does tend to limit some of my capacity to really work the post-production end except for cutting up the already compositionally cut up pieces. Perhaps it is a good thing, it forces change to happen at the stage of composition rather than waiting for decomposition to do its magic. In fact, it makes decomposition the modus operandi throughout.

We’ve started to really prepare for the pieces beforehand, changing effect parameters, tapes and sources, tunings, instruments for each song so that we don’t get repetitive. This makes it more interesting, but increases the amount of time every tune takes. And we’ve gone back to making shorter compositions, sometimes playing for only a minute or two before changing up the instrumentation again. Again, this is probably because we started cutting up smaller chunks in post-production beginning early January, and in proper feedback fashion, that input starts to affect our output and compositional strategies for the following week or three. And then of course there’s the album covers and titles. What a great opportunity to work up the visual dimension of this experiment, to extol the poetic journey which is not only in embedded in our attitude to the sounds we are totalizing and compressing, but also, or especially, prevalent in titling the tracks and albums. Sometimes both Don and I use lines from our improvised lyrics or from one of the source tapes, but both us, as poets, do a lot more by just letting language play be our guide. I usually finish editing a piece, give it a couple passes on the headphones, then take a moment for inspiration to come before it gets titled and exported in the proper format. Sometimes I have to wait quite a while for the name to come. Naming seems to me to be as important for musical entities as for human beings. The name “Wishbone Summons” plopped itself down like Bulgakov’s fat black cat in my head. I didn’t invite it by playing with concepts or word sounds as I sometimes do, it just silently spoke itself to me. I liked it and decided to nominate it for album title. Started imagining how to make a visual representation of such a suggestive poetic phrase.

I like the fact that the cover art also shows a kinetic dialogue taking place between us, both Don and I have been exploring different graphic styles and then one another starts to show hints of the same themes or compositional strategies in subsequent cover designs. For Wishbone, I put hints of the cabalists’ tree of life on the cover, and a turkey target. The wishbone breaks upon the line connecting Keter and Chokhmah, with Chokhmah’s sephirah on the top of my head (the background image taken from a video still shot by BCTV of me performing guerrilla poetry on a bus 15 years ago, but obscured beyond recognition, chosen because the dominant lines of the image when squinted at looked like a wishbone). So it crowns me with wisdom, and runs the pillar of mercy down my spine, which is also the winner’s portion of the wishbone (i.e. the wish fulfillment is merciful, but not mild, yet neither winner nor loser gain wisdom or the ein sof, the divine light of Keter above it all, all the games, all the garbage, all the passengers on the bus of life). The turkey target begets the wishbone, the final summons, the bird is dead but its remains hold charms for the hunters. So I'll go with the eight remaining sephirah, doubled to equal sixteen tracks, and get rid of three (there's 19 right now). So I’ll probably also reorganize this album along similar lines before putting it online and sharing it around.

This disc already seems distant in time, being now a week old, recorded almost a dozen daze ago. Start of a new week. I’ll have a new installment and intervention in the experiment to work with in a couple days. Had fun last time, Don’s new disc from that session probably ready by now, glad it was his turn because again I liked the raw, a savage session at the universal landfill of audio waste, a good old trash compacting of sonic putrescence it was. Perhaps we’ll strike some more mind gold this week. Keeps me from sinking into despair, or worse, the common boredom. At least it’s not predictable…