Un Coeur Simple (for heartbeat and 13 instruments) (19:18)
March 7,9 2006 Railyard 2 Santa Fe
Basuka, kyzyl kum, bosco 3, steel reeds, steel flute, too sly for 1, basicable, ‘sprong, trinidad and tobago, bustelo, springer, pig, kalimbent
Played by: Alex Ferris
I read a story about the medical work of Milford Graves, the legendary free jazz drummer. He had been monitoring the irregular heartbeats of patients referred to him by cardiologists and taught them to hear their own cardiac rhythms. He got them to drum themselves into better health, achieving better results than drugs and other interfering strategies had accomplished.
I loved this idea. It connected music directly to the human body and individual health to the practice of drumming, the contemplation of rhythm. To me it represented in microcosm a re-assertion of individual sovereignty, a demonstration of people re-assuming responsibility for the health of their own bodies after having ceded that responsibility to doctors. This was a concept that had interested me for several years. A decade earlier, I had a written a song (Kant by way of Foucault) for feral logic. (which we’d never ended up playing) that had as its chorus:
If you eat it cuz a doctor tells you to
If you know it cuz a teacher says its true
If you believe it cuz a preacher yells at you
Body, mind, and soul, you got nothing belongs to you
Dawn Edelman, who had recently become an Anarchestra regular, was studying to be an acupuncturist and clarified some of the concepts of traditional Chinese medicine to me. One of these was that we participate in our health as opposed to the western idea that we can impose health upon ourselves. I read The Web that has No Weaver (a good introduction to the ideas of acupuncture) and was relating its ideas to those put forth by Deleuze and Guattari in a thousand plateaus, particularly the concept of immanence, that things happen in things rather than to things. These ideas both expressed the relationship I wanted to have with music and felt I had been developing since the beginning of Anarchestra.
I recorded my heartbeat with a prenatal listener and used that for a drum track. I tried to play inside of that sound, rather than “along with it” or “on top of it”. I like the resulting passivity and melancholia. One of the constant alienations I feel with the ‘experimental music’ community at large is the general tendency of emotional avoidance embodied in its works. Recording my heartbeat had required great stillness (the tiniest motions had drowned out the sound of my heart) and I believe this stillness appropriately persists into the music.
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.