Author Archives: jessewgoin

making oneself a little bit more at home in the world

JG
It’s striking to me how present and vital the organic (and sentient) is in your musical world -both in the descriptive language around your process of composition and , to my ears, in the sounds themselves; e.g., Skogen means forest, bombax is a species of tree, you refer to the fragments of source material you integrate into your pieces as ‘pools’, you describe the framing of a piece as ‘environments’, etc.
Then there are the sounds themselves- of course it’s much more difficult to convey the organicity one hears in these environments, of their atmosphere- but it’s there nonetheless- so much so that I have come to regard your compositions as diaristic, field recordings, multiple views of familiar landscapes-but more on that later…
Some of the specific qualities in the pooled sounds-their instability, fragility, transience- suggests an organicity and sentience in their net effect, whatever the compositional strategies you employ – and some of the sounds are sentient in a mimetic way-I hear forest creatures!

MG
Yes, I think that’s a very good observation and a pertinent remark. When I first was in the process of envisioning the music in the early 2000s (after going through a very thorough crisis where I more or less stopped playing the saxophone and more or less quit playing jazz and free jazz) I realized that I had this desire for the music to be more of an environment, a place or a terrain rather than primarily being an object, an architecture or a means of individual or collective expression. I also felt something of a frustration with what I perceived as a dichotomy and separation of compositional and improvisational practices, and that there should be so many possible gradations of the spectrum between freedom and fixation that perhaps weren’t being explored. So gradually I started to envision a musical environment in which the musicians were allowed and encouraged to move freely in accordance with their own judgment and individual dispositions while at the same time being governed by the same overarching principles or perhaps rather just simply being part of the same creation or environment, a creation or environment which was in more or less constant flux, change or transformation while at the same time always being the same. To provide a potential which could be realized in more or less an innumerable number of ways while still being coherent and retaining a clear identity.

JG
Yes, and as a happy accident you were moving through that process of exploring new intersections of freedom and fixation precisely when Simon Reynell (Another Timbre label head) found his personal interests and tastes shifting to  a similarly imagined territory; your inaugural release on Another Timbre, Ist Gefallen.. was published in 2012- Reynell has said in a couple of interviews that that was the year he began to commit more of his focus for the Another Timbre catalog to the open score possibilities. not too place too fine a point on this but how fortunate is the timing and confluence between the pools you were entering into as a composer and Reynell’s curatorial interests as one of a very few publishers of experimental music? 

MG
Yes, crossing paths with Simon at that time definitely was of great importance to me. His initial response to (and continuing interest) in my music was (and still is) very encouraging and initially came at quite a crucial point in my musical life. For a number of years, during the period when I first started experimenting and developing my music after more or less having quit playing jazz and free improvised music, I had had this feeling of increasingly becoming more and more isolated and that my new work seemed to fall in between categories, that there didn’t seem to be too many obvious or existing contexts, platforms or communities for the music that I had in mind. So on the one hand starting Skogen and reaching out to and inviting sympathetic musicians like Angharad and Toshi that already were part of an international community of experimental musicians, and on the other hand establishing contact with Simon both proved very valuable in breaking this feeling of isolation that I had. And in a larger perspective I think Simon’s work with Another Timbre has been very important in making these different kinds of music more visible and in creating a sense of community and belonging to listeners and practitioners alike. And in initiating and encouraging new projects he has been an invaluable catalytic force as well, of course.
And as regards the idea or perspective of sentience in the context of music I have often felt and thought that sound and musical materials are very delicate matters that one must be very careful with. There is of course this indeed very well-known quote of Feldman’s where he, when asked by Stockhausen what his secret is, answers that he doesn’t push sounds around. And for me that very much goes for people as well, neither do I like to push people around nor do I myself like to be pushed around. So I guess my music perhaps to at least some extent may be considered as some sort of response to the delicacy of sound and music as well as people.

JG
As I have been listening to your music I have been revisiting the journal writings of the Swiss poet and photographer Gustave Roudt, specifically Air of Solitude – bear with me in providing some context for this linkage- in 2014 Jurg Frey was our house guest for a week during
the preparations and rehearsals for the Wandelweiser festival I presented in St. Paul; one night he  talked enthusiastically about his regard for the writings of Roud, elaborating a little on the poet’s creative process and how that process resonated for Jurg as a composer. This sent me searching for Roud’s journals and poetry available in English translation- about which there is relatively little-much less commentary in English-  the salient aspects about Roud that I find in listening to your work of the past decade: Roud lived in one place, a family farm in Carrouge, from 11 years old to his death at age 79. He developed a regular practice of walking through the countryside with a journal, noting any and all variations in the landscapes-fluctuations in weather, the attendant seasonal changes, the fluctuations in his moods, perspective, et al. After many years of this practice, Roud wrote that at times these intimately familiar landscapes appeared as “elsewhere”, utterly changed by his close observation of them. In a journal entry about his melding with these landscapes he wrote, “…it enslaves us gently, in the manner of a symphony.” For decades Roud would lift passages from earlier journals and poems and enfold them into newer texts; this process creates, to my way of reading, work of both constant flux and a clear identity.
So it is with your compositions of the past decade: I set myself to listening through your eight releases in the eight years you’ve been published by AT, attuned to this idea of your folding and enfolding cells, fragments and canons in a lineage of pieces- clearly there are memories and materials that establish your “clear identity”, a “clearly articulated environment”, as you referred to it in an interview with Reynell. This genetic material has specific characteristics- threads of melancholia, dissolution, the claims of memory, pools of intervallic relationships with headwaters as divergent as Dowland and the American songbook. It seems as if, to some extent, you revisit and reframe familiar materials, which become elements of a new environment created by each newly rejoined or reconfigured ensemble. Maybe the familiar pools of melody and intervals are made “elsewhere” by the inclusion of improvisers like Toshi Nakamura.
Henri-Frederic Amiel, a contemporary of Roud, said “Every landscape is a state of the spirit.” This all plays into why I told you I hear your compositions as a new sort of field recording.

MG
Yes, I haven’t read Roud myself but Jürg has told me a little bit about his life and work and from your description of Roud’s methods it sounds as if there might be some similarities, perhaps not as closely related or analogous to Roud’s procedures as Jürg’s own compositional practice as I have understood it but still related somehow. Even if I don’t keep (and use) a journal or a sketchbook in the same way as Roud did or Jürg does, I guess there definitely still are these specific, recurring topics and patterns in my music that you so perceptively point out. Perhaps one could say that the individual pieces are different outcomes of more or less the same (or slowly evolving) gene pool, the same way that different takes of the same piece are outcomes of more or less the same conditions. And I guess that’s very much how what we call style generally works, both in terms of individual style as well as in the sense of broader musical historical trends or perspectives: once certain conditions are established individual traits tend to even out a bit, at least when seen from a certain distance. But I think it’s important to, if not to (re)invent the wheel, so at least to try to cultivate and treasure the sensibility and ability of experiencing something unknown arising from the seemingly well known. To me these are among the most joyful and thrilling musical experiences one could have, and the collective intelligence and sensibility of the musicians are indeed one of the most important prerequisites to actually make them happen.

JG
To date-May 2020- you’ve released eight ensemble pieces on AT, with five different group configurations -the core unit of Skogen is expanded and elevated by various guest musicians from the realms of baroque music, noise and improvisation. Your intuitive aim- “something unknown arising  from the seemingly known”- is realized within a collective of musical relationships extending back 15 years, as well as many completely new encounters.
This sort of experiment- layering and enfolding known and unknown musicians from disparate musical practices into scores with fixed and fragile, notated and malleable elements- has seldom been attempted in quite this manner. The risks are daunting- the risks of pastiche, of a diminution of the respective strengths of players confronting new intersections of style and substance- I think we’re in accord on the idea that it is these very risks of failure that create something new, music against reproduction, as Phillip Larkin observed, “like something almost being said.”
In past interviews you’ve always cited the gifts and sensibilities of the ensemble members in realizing your pieces-I want to ask you to expand a little more on the collective experience, one you refer to as contingent, fragile and resting entirely on trust. How, from your perspective, does the ensemble work?

MG
Well, when it comes to how the ensembles work and what makes the music work, I must say it’s always something somewhat mysterious about how things (sometimes quite suddenly) fall into place, particularly when working with new ensembles. That’s something which very much escapes or transcends notation (at least in my particular case) and which very much is the result of just playing together, of getting acquainted with the materials and the specific dynamics of the actual ensemble, of cultivating a common practice where everyone gets familiar with the materials and find their own individual and particular ways of navigating them while at the same time getting attuned to the musical environment in its totality. And yes, I guess there is always a risk of failure and an element of danger to this almost ritualistic process of almost trying to conjure up or invoke the music. At the same time I must say that I feel quite confident in how it works: how the nature of the materials and the intelligence and the sensibility of the performers provide a rather dependable potential for the music to arise from.

JG
Let Pass My Weary Guiltless Ghost extends the lineage of your scored environments; for the third time you’ve assembled a tentet for a recording. The collective sound is without clutter, with long passages of pointillism, whispers, undergrowth rustling, at once low-volume and highly dynamic. I am pleased you acknowledged the “somewhat mysterious” element of your composition. To single out just a few facets of the collective sound, I have to say how aware I am on this one of the brilliant colors of Ko Ishikawa’s sho and the subversive play of Toshi Nakamura. I’m not using subversive as a pejorative- Nakamura frequently adds sand and grit to an environment that is otherwise as lucid and brilliant as a mirror. Also, I hear the spirit of gamelan threading through your prior works and this one-this is seldom remarked on in the reviews I’ve seen.
Of course the ensemble in toto sounds fantastic; to your ears, are there aspects of Let My Weary Ghost… that are distinctive from you earlier releases on Another Timbre?

MG
Well, as you also pointed out I guess I also consider the new recording very much an outgrowth or continuation of our previous work. And I was of course very happy to be able to include Toshi, Ko, Angharad, Rhodri and Simon in the ensemble this time, they are all wonderful musicians and contribute greatly to the music in the ways that you describe.
t’s also interesting that you notice something of a gamelan influence in my work. Even though I have never tried to use or relate to particular techniques or forms associated with Gamelan I have for many years had a very strong affection to Javanese Gamelan music in particular and have listened to it quite extensively on and off for a couple of decades or so. For a long time I have also had a fondness for Gagaku, another wonderful orchestral tradition which has inspired me greatly, even if I don’t have too much technical knowledge about it. But even if my knowledge about these traditions is very limited I do think they have been very influential to me anyhow, along with many other forms of music from different ages and geographical areas. I guess that my own work in certain respects perhaps may be considered something of an attempt to to synthesize all these different experiences and affections that have become part of you, to try to resolve or integrate sometimes seemingly opposing tendencies into a coherent form, into some sort of oneness.

JG
It’s been a pleasure to talk a little about your work after listening to it for a number of years; I want to leave off for now with a remark you made in your guest lecture at the New England Conservatory of Music last year-it seems apposite to these strange times; you said, “No grand theories on my part…(but) a simple desire to get to know this music a little bit better, of perhaps making oneself a little bit more at home in the world
.”

 

MG
And thanks for taking your time listening to the music and coming up with such interesting perspectives, it’s really been a pleasure on my part as well. Hope to see and hear from you soon again!

 

Granberg/Skogen disocography on Another Timbre
Granberg/Skogen’s two performances on Morgan Evans-Weiler’s Strategies/Tactics, on the fine Suppedaneum imprint

Nature Denatured And Found Again

Gravity Wave 016-020
Antoine Beuger (flute)
Jürg Frey (clarinet)
Marcus Kaiser (cello)
Radu Malfatti (trombone)
André Möller (electric guitar)
Kathryn Gleasman Pisaro (oboe/english horn)
Michael Pisaro (composition, field recording, sine tones, noise, mixing, mastering)

≈ A Still Breathing World

P1170212

The artist and social activist Joachim Eckl grew up in the 60s near the Great Muhl river in Northern Austria. Eckl has been entrained to the great river, a tributary that wends and flows into the Danube, for decades; his great-grandfather constructed the first hydroelectric power plant on the Great Muhl, which is in operation to this day.
Following the completion of academic studies in psychology, Eckl entered into a decades-long artistic practice of installation projects tied to a variety of rivers, including the Great Muhl, and what Eckl calls social engineering, a concept with a strong affinity to Joseph Beuys’ notion of social sculpture. Eckl, like Beuys before him, expands the idea of art and the artist via direct action into the public, social, quotidian realms of everyday life. Eckl’s actions in the social sphere have included engaging hundreds of his fellow citizens in an encampment in dry river beds of the Muhl river, resulting in the power company improving the flow and course of the great river.

Eckl has observed that through the practice of spending time in nature with active and intensely focused senses, we discover what Michael Pisaro describes as “the infinite density of small events that make up a situation”. Eckl found, for example, that as he became intimate and familiar with the Great Muhl, it became differentiated from all the other rivers he spent time with. The extraordinary nature writer Robert Macfarlane hints at this intimacy when he writes “We lack-we need- a term for those places where one experiences a transition from a known landscape…into another world. They exist even in familiar landscapes.” I would offer a slight amendment to Macfarlane’s sentence-particularly in familiar landscapes.

In 2007 some of the Wandelweiser composers, Michael Pisaro among them, were invited by Eckl to visit Neufelden, Austria, the site of Eckl’s four-floor converted warehouse venue for exhibitions and performances. Following that visit- which turned out to be an auspicious encounter- Pisaro dedicated his 2008 Ascending Series 2.1 to Eckl, and returned to the idea of further, deeper collaborations. Their meeting had a resonance and a pull that neither could foresee would unfold over the ensuing decade.

Returning to Eckl’s natural boyhood milieu repeatedly between 2011-2015, Pisaro made field recordings along the Grosse Mühl River, during what the composer came to call  the flussaufwärts project, collaboratively created by Joachim Eckl, Marcus Kaiser and Pisaro.  The recordings of the river, as it flows down from Neufelden to the Danube, were subsequently woven together with in situ performances by Antoine Beuger, Jürg Frey, Marcus Kaiser, Radu Malfatti, André Möller, and Kathryn Pisaro: eight years in the making, Nature Denatured and Found Again, a four hour assemblage of the infinite density of small events, is an immense achievement.

The span and scope of the composition are its most obviously impressive aspects-the recording of the project, with its considerable travel requirements, was sustained for five years, a remarkable fidelity by the composer to contingencies of place and personnel; the assemblage and mastering by Pisaro required another two years, undertaken, as will be made clear, in a situation in which, Pisaro writes in the liner notes, “it is easy to feel despair.”
“My bulwark against depression is an attempt to hear another world in the midst of the one that is sounding an alarm. Consider this an amplification of an almost inaudible, but still breathing world.”

≡ A Different Realm

IMG_0930

Nature Denatured was released earlier this year; while I was living with this music a while, the composer Fergus Kelly recommended to me the British writer Robert Macfarlane – I was unfamiliar with Macfarlane, whose books take up, in beautiful prose, the matter of place, nature and language. His practice as a writer, like Eckl and Pisaro, has been to wander and wend along paths and rivers throughout the wild territories in England and Ireland, observing with keen attention and an openness to being transformed by the experience. “You pass…the river’s bank-and in doing so you arrive at a different realm, in which you are differently minded because differently bodied.” I was struck by differently bodied, as it linked in my mind to a passing reference by Pisaro in his notes for Nature Denatured to Deleuze’s term ‘becoming-imperceptible’; “I understand this as a partial vaporizing of our body-oriented selves”, Pisaro writes, “in a way that our mind-directed senses can fit into spaces and expanses where our body could not go.” Differently bodied. Becoming-imperceptible. Entering another world.
It is my surmise- one long informed by Dogen, whose writings serve as the headwaters of the Soto Zen lineage- that there exists a way of being in the world that values sustained and loving attention to what is; a habit that, contra mysticism and it silly claims, enables us to perceive both what is beautiful and what is hideously awry in our world. In musical terms what Pisaro calls “a discrete hearing of the continuum”-becoming –imperceptible is a process enabling the listener to enter into the river, the birdsong, the city, the incoherent and disparate realms we’re surrounded with; it is how, to my way of listening, Pisaro and his fellow musicians situated themselves along the Great Muhl. It is a significant cooking of the seeds found in Cage’s 4’33”, which Pisaro reminds us was originally entitled Silent Prayer.

≠ To Become Imperceptible Oneself

IMG_4492

Nature Denatured includes a 24-page book that outlines with considerable detail the structure of the five year project and the five individual pieces that comprise the work. I am interested here in a different process- composer Pisaro’s way of situating himself in the sound world of the locations recorded (the Muhl’s watercourse way), the remarkable playing of his cohorts, and his own subtle choices, in the assemblage of the piece between 2016-2018, of filtered noise and sine tones.
The latter elements are prefigured in Pisaro’s earler works- the sprawling Transparent City (2007), July Mountain (2010), and Continuum Unbound (2014).
Continuum Unbound shares several affinities with Nature Denatured; long-form duration, multiple musicians responding to the wild locations recorded by Pisaro (and, in Continuum Unbound,  also by Greg Stuart), and-strikingly- the composer’s attunement to how place can be perceived as various, incoherent, chaotic, containing “an infinite density of small details” that are shaped and reshaped into a different sound realm entirely.
Pisaro worked on completing Continuum Unbound in 2014-interestingly, he refers to that year as the “silent year” where Nature Denatured is concerned, as it is the one year between 2011-2015 in which it wasn’t possible for him to make the trip to Austria.

The process of becoming-imperceptible can be heard in Pisaro’s location recording-based compositions going back at least 15 years (Transparent City’s recordings date to 2004); Nature Denatured is an assemblage of dynamic elements- aesthetic, social, operating both in and out of linear time- with the composer becoming, as much as possible within specific circumstances and contingencies, nearly nothing, enabling the listener to process and assemble the resulting work in their own mind, in their own time. The composer, the musicians, the wildlife milieu in totality, the listener to this strange, generative music- all can enter into the process; “…to become imperceptible oneself…but this precisely is a becoming only for one who knows how to be nothing” (Deleuze).

The conditioned, contingent and increasingly imperiled worlds documented and en-chanted (Macfarlane’s term) by Pisaro brought this listener to a whole other realm of consideration-the continuum of hope and despair that we move along, faced with the increasingly dire conflagration of a still breathing world.

 There Is Another World

180811-mendocino-complex-fire-al-1634_07b57e830c4c319e4d326b07e1f53483.fit-760w

In Nature Denatured’s liner notes Pisaro writes that he has been guided through some of his thinking and feelings about the destruction of habitats and life by Arundhati Roy’s guarded optimism for the planet; he cites this text from 2002, in which Roy sounds a contingent but nonetheless sanguine note: “Another world is not only possible, she’s on her way. Maybe many of us won’t be here to greet her, but on a quiet day, if I listen carefully, I can hear her breathing.”
Another world.
Contingent and sanguinary, like poet John Ashbury’s “a haven of serenity and unreachable”, in his poem A Wave. Conflagration and natural disaster, byproducts of late capitalism, situate us all on the continuum along Beuys’ utopian aspirations, Eckl’s social engineering, Pisaro’s attempt to hear another world in the one sounding alarms of increasing urgency, and abject surrender and capitulation.
“There is another world but it is in this one”-Paul Éluard’s  koan points to the possibility of repair within the bleak landscapes of disaster capitalism.

The Great Muhl river, to return to where we started, has suffered measurable setbacks in the past decade; one aspect of Pisaro’s incredible journey in revisiting the upper Austrian area over eight or so years is the opportunity afforded him to listen anew to a place and its living, breathing nature across time.

In the two years in which Pisaro assembled and mastered Nature Denatured, the deadliest, costliest wildfires in California history destroyed habitat, homes and lives – the summer of 2018 was particularly devastating. Pisaro resides in the Santa Clarita area of Los Angeles County, where wildfires are increasingly near, frequent and consequential. Of course the complex interface between the management of urban and natural areas in the composer’s part of the world are only one part of the disaster scenario. While voices from every quarter, contaminated with the hubris and venal greed of their various political agendas debate the matter, the world is on fire.
Pisaro completed Nature Denatured in relatively close personal proximity to a landscape engulfed in flames. I have no doubt this informed his final editing and completion of this generous work.

There are likely some readers who visit this site expecting a description of the sounds of the music under discussion; an overview of my writing about music should offer a course correction where that’s concerned. I have never seen it as my undertaking to describe to you what you might hear entering this world.
I can offer this: the four hour sound-world of Nature Denatured owns an immense power, the realization of an immense imagination. Nature Denatured offers music of great scope and infinite density; all of the musicians involved contribute their sounds with a single-pointed and improbably subtle care and clarity. There are sections of fragile tonality, clouds of noise organic and electric, the delight of drawing the listener into teasing out the draw of horsehair from the whir of cicadas and the thrum of low brass. There is a section foregrounding Katherine Pisaro’s double reed melodic inventions that drops into the flow of things a ridiculously beautiful refuge for the listener. There are canons and river-sourced chord changes and a world of other sounds you’ll only find in Pisaro’s world, the imagination of a composer issuing forth what Eckl calls “the river in the human being”.

○ Epilogue: So This Is The World

6 station 2

“What does the world
Mean to you if you can’t trust it
To go on shining when you’re
Not there?”

Artists are not consulted by the powers of empire for solutions to the disasters of empire; neither is Dogen nor you nor I. This makes Nature Denatured, with its small collection of artists intent on making another world within this one, an essential act, at least to my fatigued ears. There are authentic hints and pointers to how to care for the world as it is in Pisaro’s notion of becoming-imperceptible and Eckl’s life-long commitment to acting as if art and ordinary life are seamless and Antoine Beuger’s repeated infusion into the digital streams of social media the clarion call of John Holloway’s video address “Now is the moment to learn hope”, and in Mary Oliver’s lines above and below, from her poem “October”:
“So this is the world.
I’m not in it.
It is beautiful.”

We need another world, and it is in this one.

___________________________________________________________________________________________

Afterword: for Michael Pisaro

We are living in a dark age. And we are not going to see the end of it, nor are our children, nor probably our children’s children. And our job, every single one of us, is to cherish whatever in the human heritage we love and to feed it and keep it going and pass it on, because the Dark Age isn’t going to go on forever, and when it stops those people are gonna need the pieces we pass on. They’re not going to be able to build a new world without us passing on whatever we can – ideas, arts, knowledge, skills, or just plain old fragile love, how we treat people, how we help people: that’s something to be passed on…and all of this passing things on, in all its forms, may not cure the world now – curing the world now may not be a human possibility – but it keeps the great things alive. And we have to do this because who are we to decide that it is hopeless?
If you wanted to volunteer for fascinating, dangerous, necessary work, this would be a great job to volunteer for – trying to be a wide-awake human during a Dark Age and keeping alive what you think is beautiful and important.

Michael Ventura

Sources:
Michael Pisaro quotes sourced from the booklet included with the Nature Denatured And Found Again box set
Robert Macfarlane The Old Ways: A Journey on Foot 2012
and Landmarks 2015
Gilles Deleuze / Felix Guatarri  A Thousand Plateaus: Capitalism and Schizophrenia 1980
Arundhati Roy An Ordinary Person’s Guide To Empire 2004
Paul Éluard Répétitions, 1922
Mary Oliver October from New & Selected Poems, Vol. 1 2005
Michael Ventura (with James Hillman), We’ve Had 100 Years of Psychotherapy and The World’s Getting Worse 1993

Photos: (credits found here: http://www.flussaufwaertstreiben.net/fotos/index.html)
≈ Marcus Kaiser
≡ Antoine Beuger + Michael Pisaro
≠ Michael Pisaro
Northern California wildfire aftermath detail / Summer 2018
○ Joachim Eckl

 

 

 

dragonflies draw flame

 

Ernesto Rodrigues / Giulherme Rodrigues / Eva-Maria Houben
the haecceity of things  (Creative Sources)

…myself it
speaks and spells,
Crying what I do is me-for that
I came.
Gerard Manley Hopkins, As Kingfishers Catch Fire, Dragonflies Draw Flame

This is music in which you’re cast into an open sea- orientation and hand-holds come gradually, and then only to the alert and intuitive. This is music that doesn’t contrive to mystify, but presents the secret, singular nature of its sounds; in this way, the music is so transparent, so self-enacting, as to initially seem slight, even unsubstantial. Enter and re-enter the environment of the piece and you regain and retool your senses and begin to perceive what’s on offer. The basic ground of the work owns an affinity with the spirit of some of the Wandelweiser composers- Manfred Werder chiefly-and in fact was co-composed by one of the collective’s preeminent members, Eva-Marie Houben.
The Rodrigues’, père et fils, in collaboration with Ms. Houben, create environments to be inhabited; we, the listeners, are the creatures who feel quickened or startled or seduced. We’re invited to grasp the sounds, their flavor, their affect, their micro-pulses and heartbeats, their small power.

Rodrigues and Houben’s sound world doesn’t simply invite the listener’s participation and loosed imagination, it necessitates it. Its intermittent gusts of airy organ tones, fragile, scraped strings, micro-harmonies and waxing and waning cricket songs come to us in billows and soft choirs of pure sentience.

The 13th century philosopher Duns Scotus posited the idea of the haecceity of all things, a word meaning, simply, thisness. Haecceity insists everything owns an essence of its own that makes it what it is. The poet Hopkins embraced Scotus’ principle in his lines of verse; his word was inscape. Inscapes are the true nature of a thing, always dynamic, never static, always moving in and out of relation to the thisness of others. Such as we hear in the music of Houben and Rodrigues.

The haecceity of the sounds exist for the listener to assemble, connect, puzzle over. The haecceity of things offers no meaning-rather, it speaks and spells, cries and dissipates. Thisness in sound, the startlingly clear this, not-that quality, was expressed beautifully by composer Jürg Frey in a recent interview: “I treat my pitches and music carefully, with respect, and let them have their say. I have the idea they talk to me.”

Face it, we are dulled and deadened by the world’s relentless, intrusive noise. In psychic self-defense we filter and blinker our senses, making the approach to this music a gradual, layered one.
Dragonflies, wings in the sun, draw flame. Ernesto, Giulherme and Eva-Maria play.  A music that restores the listener’s attunement to the haecceity of things is an act of generosity.
_________________________________________________________________________________________

Liner notes for the December release of the haecceity of things on Creative Sources
Calligraphy: nyo (suchness, things-as-they-are)

_________________________________________________________________________________________

It is an old dream of mine that the nature of sounds is discovered and that they are not used in order to express something else.
–Hans Otte