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101 Words – 043

The last in this little Ultima trilogy:

A fine interview with Matmos’ Drew Daniel covering our changing relations to television (and opera), as well as Cage, nature, and the slices out of the whole that occur when using microphones or creating art.

In talking about Robert Ashley’s unique use of language:

The cadence and delivery of speech already has musicality in it, and becomes a fascinating, capacious and beautiful phenomenon when you can sharpen it and deliver it with the right kind of intensity.

I’ve been attempting something similar with my speech melody stuff. Ashley seems to achieve it so effortlessly.

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101 Words – 042

messiaen

I wasn’t in Oslo for the Matmos/Ashley performance, but looking through the festival booklet a photograph of Messiaen notating birdsong under the foliage of a large tree did catch my eye. A beautiful photograph that conveys something of the act of listening, I made an oil painting of it while taking art classes many years ago. Looking at it again reminded me that Messiaen, in answer to my question of there being an equivalent to sketching in music, took some steps in this direction – even though those notations, incorporated into large works, were never really presented as small standalone pieces.

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101 Words – 041

Sometime in 2001, still living in The Hague, I went over to visit composer friend Claudio Baroni in his one room apartment, where he introduced me to Matmos’ A Chance to Cut is a Chance to Cure. Shortly after that I participated in a composer/choreographer workshop, building a piece (with the woman later to become my wife) largely inspired by that CD: Sounds and “the human body.” I think it was also Claudio that introduced me to Robert Ashley – The Backyard which became part of Perfect Lives, his television opera, another favourite. Matmos just performed it at Ultima in Norway.

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