Rumor 2001 (54:03)
Recorded late winter-early spring 2001 Chilmark
1 La Bas /Dubass /Pig /Sir Gamelan /Bish-Bosh /Peddlar /Bosco2
2 La Bas /Pig /Bish-Bosh /Copper Whistle 1 /Bosco2 /Paired /Dubass
3 Paired /Dubass /Croon /Peddlar /Bosco2
4 Bish-Bosh /Bosco2 /Lamellop /Harp /Dubass /Pig /Chant
5 Lamellop /Harp /E3W /Paired /La Bas /Sir Gamelan /Bosco2
6 Bish-Bosh /Peddlar /Croon /Paired /Lamellop /Bosco2
7 Paired /Pig /Lamellop /Bish-Bosh /Bosco2 /Dubass /Bosco3
8 Paired /Bish-Bosh /Lamellop /Bosco3 /La Bas
Played by: Alex Ferris
Initially I had planned on integrating the instruments I was building into some sort of conventional band, but making these recordings convinced me they should stand alone. I didn't want to limit the built instruments to just being a novel, essentially decorative, percussion section (a gimmick), I wanted them to have real functional roles in the music. When I got into it a bit, I realized that conventional instruments would just be superfluous, that they could only impoverish the autonomous soundworld I was beginning to explore and develop. Coming at pitch and timbre from a more organic perspective had changed the way I heard things. What I'd taken for granted before as good sound and intonation just seemed trite and commonplace all of a sudden. I was particularly intrigued by the way general tonalities tended to emerge from the ensemble by its own consensus and I felt the resulting harmonies were a truer reflection of life on earth than any defined system of temperament could be.
Put in sociopolitical terms, these ‘consensus tonalities’ are akin to the inclusive clamor of human expression (and opinion), while all the systematically tempered fields of tonality can’t avoid but being akin to the exclusionary, hierarchic, ‘messaging’ put forth by one or another of our various elites. (Viewed from this perspective, Just Intonation could be said to symbolize monotheism, Equal Temperament could be said to symbolize propertarian democracy, etc. –these being the dominant systems of thought in the westworld, in other regions of the earth different metaphors would apply.)
Almost all of western tonal thought has been concerned with what it calls ‘dissonance’ and a serviceable history of the evolution of ‘tonality’ could be parsed as a broadening acceptance of previously ‘unallowable’ dissonances. Having spent my musical life mostly within the context of western music (more often than not in the rebel’s camp), I had always thought of dissonances as individuated –identified by their degree of variance from the fixed consonant--, but in this situation the norm (the ‘consensus tonality’) couldn’t exist until after the entire tonal field had been generated, making both ‘consonance’ and ‘dissonance’ cumulative and non-specific, a general condition relating all the sounds present in a given piece. The stability of consonance (and by extension the valuation of dissonance) didn’t pre-exist in this music, but evolved autonomously from its sounds.
Moving away from the conventional instruments I’d generally played had dislocated me from the most basic assumptions underlying the theories those instruments had been designed and built to execute. Experimentation in music involving those instruments had always maintained a relationship (no matter how strained or hostile) to the norms of temperament (this was true for the alternative temperaments as well: just intonation; quartertones called for in Bartok; jazz musicians’ blue notes; Annie Gosfield’s detuned pianos; etc.). Considering this, it occurred to me that anything played on instruments constructed to accomplish the goals of the musical status quo would have to, by implication, end up validating it to some extent (even in instances of revolutionistic appropriation –such as Free Jazz and Punk, both of which were and continue to be foundational components of my aesthetics). In the traditions of western music, difference was deviance. That idea didn’t apply to what I found myself doing. Tonality wasn’t derived, it constructed itself out of accumulated differences.
John Cage (with his customary self-serving shallowness) said something to the effect that he hadn’t been interested in harmony (simultaneously advertising himself as a student of Schoenberg’s) because it said nothing about noise. His near contemporary, Thelonious Monk was asked, “What is music?” “It’s sound,” he (with his customary insight and depth) said, “it’s what happens to sound.” The harmonies I found myself (necessarily) working with were all about noise, the pieces of music I was making were documentations of what was happening to the sounds I’d learned to generate.
I was using an 8 track ADAT left over from feral logic. (with whom I had played in the mid 90’s) and it ate the tape and self-destructed while I was working on this. What remains is what I could salvage from the 2 track mixes I had made as I went along.
I price all of my music at $0.00, but Bandcamp only allows a limited number of free downloads per month. If you see a price it means that the free downloads have been used up for the month. If I set a price lower than the $7.00 default, there won’t be any free downloads ever. If there are more sales there end up being more free downloads. I’m not trying to get anybody to spend money (I loathe capitalism and the comercialzation of everything, especially the arts). I make music, not product. If you end up buying something, at least you have enabled 2 other people to get something for free (which is a good thing). Or check back until it’s free again. Please feel free to duplicate and pass along.