Pocket phonecalls/backing singers/what's left out and what's left behind

Today I went to Auto Italia South East to see Terre Thaemlitz: Interstices. I was just checking their  website and it describes and element of his/her practice:

Thaemlitz’s other main compositional technique is ‘systolic composition’. Just as a systole in prosody means the shortening of a naturally long syllable, systolic composition is the process of abridging sound sources by removing primary passages in order to create new compositions. The passages most commonly deleted are vocals, figuratively silencing the dominant discourse within popular music in order to hear the interstitial sounds at their periphery.

‘Systole’ also refers to the rhythmic contraction of the heart pumping blood out of the chambers – an ostracism of essence. This removal of the music’s voice, heart, or lifeblood is neither silence nor death. New melodies and phrases arise. Often the remnants of a singer’s breathing can be heard in the remaining passages, suggesting emotional, physical and/or sexual exasperation, and occasionally resulting in the whispering of new words.

Which also reminded me that I was recently was in the car, listening to this programme:


It's about how the simple process of cutting and splicing has changed the way people view the world. The one quote I went away with was from a filmmaker saying 'what we've all got to think about when we read a report or watch a film is what's been left on the cutting room floor' (just to paraphrase, or add another layer of editing).


Wednesday evening

Earlier in the week I listened to this:


'..They had been given free reign by the Arch Diocese of Glasgow to release this incredible piece of architecture, this machine, this incredible floating object...and unbelievably at the head of two gorges that run together off the Firth of Clyde...Andy and Isi created this absolute dream. Which was this building which was in fact far beyond Brutalism. They wrapped a 20th century form around an old 19th century baronial house. Elements of it float off into space..other elements have great chains coming down and reflect the great weight of the design, the industrial design of the Clyde ship building. Other elements reflect the huge curved walls of a baronial Scottish Castle keep. They were playing with forms and how this comes together to make this remarkable object is something that has driven me to want to save it.

...We're going to keep it partially as a ruin. And then we're going to basically bring back the Chapel. It's quite interesting: we talk about failure or success of the building. It was a tough building to live in. They talk about young seminarians wrapped in three blankets, wind whistling in through the windows..incredibly tough but at the same time people remember mass there and light used to come down, in from the south through the ziggurat roof light and down through floating glulam beams and spread geometric shadows across the floor as people took mass. And people remember that as a magical thing. '

Whilst looking at this:


'She did not see the ingenious collar-and-rod construction of the trusses. She saw only a dumpy little structure with a pitched roof like a common outhouse.

'You may approach,' she said drily. 'It is not sacred. It is merely,' she said, imitating Mr Flood's pinched nasal tones, 'a "proty-type" .'

But Oscar did not see as Lucinda imagined. As the dust danced in the luminous tunnel of the western sun, he saw not a dumpy little structure, not a common outhouse either, but light, ice, spectra. He saw glass as those who love it perceive it. He understood that it was the gross material most nearly like the soul, or spirit (or how he would wish the soul or spirit to be), that it was free of imperfection, of dust, rust, that it was an avenue for glory.

He did not see an outhouse. He saw a tiny church with dust dancing round it like microscopic angels. It was as clean and pure and free from vanity. It was at once so beautiful and yet so ...decent. The light shone through its transparent, unadorned skin and cast colours on the distempered office walls as glorious as the stained glass window of a cathedral.

Peter Carey, Oscar and Lucinda p. 376

Version: Ken Lee

I love this:

It is a video of a song- contest competitor performing her version of a Mariah Carey song. She has fabricated a language based on her own experience of the song, heedless of accepted protocol of English useage. She has made up her own words which do not even reference common parlance. Yet she has so convinvcingly created her own universe and believes in it with such confidence it is a worthy alternative version.

Version: Non-epiphanies

From Kurt Vonnegut's Bluebeard (in my copy p.151):

'After the war, When I told Terry Kitchen something about my three hours of ideal lovemaking with Marilee, and how contentedly adrift in the cosmos they made me fee, he said this: 'You were experiencing a non-epiphany.'

'A what?' I said.

'A concept of my own invention,' he said. This was back when he was still a talker instead of a painter, long before I bought him the spray rig. As far as that goes, I was nothing but a talker and a painter's groupie. I was still going to become a businessman.

'The trouble with God isn't that He so seldom makes Himself known to us.' he went on. 'The trouble with God is exactly the opposite: He's holding you and me and everybody else by the scruff of the neck practically constantly.'

He said he had just come from an afternoon at the Metropolitan Museum of Modern Art, where so many of the paintings were about God's giving instructions, to Adam and Eve and the Virgin Mary, and various saints in agony and so on. 'These moments are very rare, if you can believe the painters - but who was ever nitwit enough to believe a painter?' he said, and he ordered another double Scotch, I'm sure, for which I would pay. 'Such moments are often called "epiphanies" and I'm here to tell you they are as common as houseflies,' he said.

'I see,' I said. I think Pollock was there listening to all this, although he and Kitchen and I were not yet known as the 'Three Musketeers.' He was a real painter, so he hardly talked at all. After Terry Kitchen became a real painter, he, too, hardly talked at all.

' "Contentedly adrift in the cosmos," were you?' Kitchen said to me. 'That is a perfect description of a non- epiphany, that rarest of moments, when God Almighty lets go of the scruff of your neck and lets you be human for little while. How long did the feeling last?'

'Oh - maybe half an hour,' I said.

And he leaned back in his chair and said with deep satisfaction: 'And there you are.'


I listened to this year's Reith Lectures whilst getting ready to go to the studio last week. Professor Stephen Hawking was presenting his second lecture expounding Black Holes.

I thought I heard Professor Stephen Hawking saying that Black Holes could theoretically be found anywhere- in a TV set, or in a leather-bound volume of Shakespeare's plays, for example. I was swept up in the idea of these hidden portals to alternative universes sequestered in ubiquitous objects.

That wasn't quite the case:

"We would still expect the universe to be deterministic in the sense that if we knew the quantum state of the universe at one time the laws of science should enable us to predict it an any other time. If information were in lost Black Holes we wouldn't be able to predict the future. Because the Black Hole could emit any collection of particles. It could emit a working television set or a leather-bound volume of the Complete Works of Shakespeare. Though the chance of such exotic emissions is very low. "

So it was more that the leather-bound volume of Shakespeare's Complete Works might come out of a Black Hole than it might contain one. I think I preferred my version.