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Wolf Notes   Volume  1,  Number  1,  January  2011    




Richard Pinnell     Seth  Cluett     Joseph  Clayton  Mills     Opening  the  Argument:  The  Critical  Theory  of  Kenneth  Gaburo   Larry  Polansky,  David  Dunn,  Chris  Mann  and  Warren  Burt.  Chaired  by  Nate   Wooley     Tim  Parkinson    

Published by Compost and Height Please do not reproduce content without prior permission from contributors.


wolf notes   Image: Patrick Farmer



By Sarah Hughes

Sometime   last   year   we   decided   it   would   be   interesting   to   try   and   expand   our   output   in   some   way,   that   we   should   try   to   do   something   that   is   entwined   in   the   output   of   the   downloads   and   releases   available   through  the  Compost  and  Height  website  and   that   encapsulates   the   whys   and   wherefores,   the   influence,   inspiration,   and   the   provenance   of   the   imagination   that   is   intrinsic  to  new  forms  of  creativity.         Following  a  long  interest  in  what  lies  behind   what   we   make   and   do,   and   particularly   the   parallel  practices  that  are  made  manifest,  we   decided   upon   this   publication   as   a   platform   for  contributors  to  offer  a  text  of  any  desired   form,  subject  and  length,  (with  the  exception   of   music   reviews,   simply   because   there   is   a   great   wealth   of   review   sites   and   magazines   that   we   could   add   little   to).   Available   as   a   PDF   download,   Wolf   Notes   hopes   to   contest   some   of   the   traditional   boundaries   between   discipline   and   output,   subsequently   questioning   at   what   point   one   feels   that   output   becomes   music,   art,   work   or   necessity.       The  manifestation  of  ideas  and  concerns  is  a   very   social   question,   and   the   dualism   between   one   person   who   hears   harmony   where   another   hears   dissonance   is   much   more   than   a   preference   in   musical   tastes,   it   poses   questions   of   ones   relation   to   their   surroundings,   or   how   one   relates   to   the   action   of   being   surrounded.   This   environmental   approach   to   sound   and   to   music   has   a   social   implication   much   wider   than  is  generally  considered.            

Richard Pinnell…………………………………5  -­‐  7   A  Place  to  Listen         Seth  Cluett……………………………………….8  -­‐  15   Tracing  Moving  Circles         Joseph  Clayton  Mills……………………….16  -­‐  24   Eighty-­‐eight  Keys         Opening  the  Argument…………………..25  –  37   The  Critical  Theory  of  Kenneth  Gaburo.   Larry  Polansky,  David  Dunn,  Chris  Mann  and   Warren  Burt.  Chaired  by  Nate  Wooley         Fantastical  Zoology……………………….38  –  39   The  Eggdogfish,  by  Tim  Parkinson  


Each mode   of   working   informs   the   next,   from  the  writer,  the  painter,  the  linguist,  the   ecologist,   the   retail   manager,   the   record   producer   or   the   composer   -­‐   the   consilience   in   the   cross   disciplinary   modes   of   working   intrigues  and  fascinates  in  equal  measure.   The   ‘something’   that   concerns   itself   throughout   all   of   this   is   elusive,   perhaps   inexpressible,   but   somehow   relates   to   re-­‐ searching  for  something  that  doesn’t  readily   present   itself,   something   that   can   only   be   alluded  to.         3  


A Place  to  Listen   By  Richard  Pinnell  


I have   spent   much   of   the   fourth   decade   of   my   life   wondering   about   how  I  listen,  both  to  music  and  to  life  in  general.  I  have,  over  the  years,   taught  myself  to  listen  with  an  increased  degree  of  attention,  focus  and   clarity,   and   have   taken   great   joy   from   the   results   this   process   has   brought   me.   I   make   no   claims   to   being   able   to   listen   any   better   than   anyone   else,   only   to   fulfill   my   own   need   to   experience   music   as   closely   as   I   can.   In   recent   years,   listening   to   music   has   become   an   intense,   thoroughly   joyful   experience,   a   subtle   balance   between   the   analytical   and  the  emotional,  but  it  takes  effort.  Just  putting  on  a  piece  of  music   while   doing   the   washing   up,   or   the   ironing,   or   while   sat   on   a   train   isn’t   going  to  be  enough  any  longer.  A  certain  state  of  mind  now  seems  to   be  needed  for  me  to  listen  in  the  manner  I  now  prefer.         For   me,   this   isn’t   just   about   limiting   distractions   or   improving   the   fidelity  of  the  sounds  I  hear.  It  is  as  if  I  need  to  achieve  a  certain  state   of   mind   to   be   able   to   fully   focus.   I   need   to   feel   relaxed,   but   at   the   same   time   fully   engaged.   Much   of   this   seems   to   be   linked   to   a   sensation   of   safety,  of  comfort.  I  tend  to  be  able  to  listen  to  live  concerts  in  a  more   concentrated   manner   if   I   know   the   venue   well,   if   maybe   I   know   the   people  behind  the  bar,  or  if  the  external  sounds  coming  into  the  space   are  familiar  to  me.  For  some  probably  very  irrational  reason  this  sense   of   belonging   subconsciously   allows   me   to   engage   with   the   music   more   easily,   give   it   the   attention   it   needs.   At   home   I   have   developed   ways   of   listening.   Sitting   in   a   certain   chair   with   a   drink   to   hand,   hot   or   cold,   somehow   puts   me   in   the   correct   frame   of   mind   to   listen,   as   if   this   particular   ritual   prepares   my   ears,   my   brain   for   what   is   to   follow.   Laying   on   the   bed   a   few   feet   away   doesn’t   just   feel   the   same.   Ridiculous,  I  know,  but  that’s  how  it  is.     Over  the  last  three  decades,  with  a  few  extended  breaks,  I  have  taken   regular  walks  along  an  old  disused  railway  line  that  leads  away  from   close   to   my   home   out   into   the   countryside.   The   line   once   linked   the   main   lines   that   run   through   the   town   of   Didcot   in   which   I   live,   with   Newbury  and  then  Southampton  on  the  coast.  The  line  was  closed  by   the  infamous  Dr  Richard  Beeching  in  the  late  sixties,  slowing  to  carry   just   a   small   amount   of   freight   traffic   in   its   final   years   before   being   completely  decommissioned  five  years  before  my  birth  in  1966.  I  think   that  on  first  discovering  the  line,  upon  moving  to  this  side  of  town  at   the   age   of   ten,   the   tracks   had   been   long   removed,   and   while   some  


remnants of   trackside   signal   boxes   still   stood,   providing   ample   den   opportunities  for  myself  and  my  brothers,  all  that  obviously  remained   was   about   a   mile   of   a   raised   up   section   of   the   line,   complete   with   bridges  over  roads  and  a  twenty  foot  drop  on  either  side.         It   was   in   my   late   teens   that   I   began   walking   along   the   line   by   myself   from   time   to   time,   almost   always   with   a   Walkman   of   one   kind   or   another   to   hand,   singing   dramatically   along   to   whatever   indie   rock   band   I   was   into   that   week,   stopping   abruptly   to   act   more   normally   if   someone  came  the  other  way  along  the  track.  A  few  years  later  I  began   to  walk  dogs  along  the  line,  and  did  this  for  the  best  part  of  a  decade   and  a  half,  almost  every  evening,  an  escape  from  the  pressures  of  my   working   day,   with   a   personal   CD   player,   and   later   an   iPod   as   my   companion.   It   reached   a   point   wherein   the   walk   was   not   possible   without  music.       The   disused   line   has   not   changed   all   that   much   over   the   last   three   decades.   Fences   have   come   and   gone,   partly   to   keep   off-­‐road   motorbikers   at   bay,   and   in   recent   years   a   rough   concrete   path   was   added,  much  to  my  disgust,  to  allow  this  section  of  the  line  to  become   part   of   the   National   Cycle   Route.   Slowly   the   landmarks   that   gave   away   the  line’s  previous  life,  the  signal  boxes,  the  fences  made  of  old  railway   sleepers   have   either   eroded   away   or   become   lost   under   layers   of   dense   undergrowth.   If   the   opportunities   to   make   dens   has   reduced   for   today’s  generation  of  kids  then  I  still  know  where  they  are,  buried  out   of   sight   but   not   out   of   mind.   I   can   almost   trace   my   development   as   a   listener   through   varying   styles   and   genres   of   music   by   following   the   changes   along   the   old   railway   line.   Different   times   in   my   life,   relationships,  jobs,  memories  all  have  their  place  along  the  line,  just  as   music   always   has.   I   remember   exactly   how   far   I   would   have   to   walk   along   the   track   before   turning   back   so   that   My   Bloody   Valentine’s   Isn’t   Anything  album  would  end  just  as  I  arrived  back  home.       The   old   railway   line   is,   perhaps   even   more   so   than   the   chair   I   have   come  accustomed  to  at  home,  one  place  that  allows  me  to  listen  to  the   best   of   my   abilities.   If   alone   while   walking,   I   am   instantly   able   to   achieve  the  state  of  concentration  required  to  completely  connect  with   music.   Whilst   generally   quite   serene,   walking   along   the   line   in   the   evening   isn’t   necessarily   a   completely   peaceful   experience.   The   busy   A34   road,   although   a   couple   of   miles   away,   can   be   heard   roaring   quietly.   Didcot   Power   Station   can   occasionally   be   heard,   as   can   the   overworked   railway   lines   on   the   other   side   of   town.   The   wind   is   particularly  bothersome,  raised  up  high  as  the  line  is,  there  is  next  to   no   shelter   from   even   the   slightest   breeze,   making   headphone   listening   a   little   difficult.   None   of   this   matters   though.   As   I   wrote   above,   it   is   not   the   fidelity   or   the   purity   of   the   music   that   matters,   it   is   something   in   my  state  of  mind  that  tells  me  its  OK  to  listen.  I  could  probably  make   my  way  home  from  the  farthest  point  of  the  railway  line  with  my  eyes   closed,   such   is   my   familiarity   with   it   after   so   many   years   walking   its  


length. Perhaps   then   it   is   this   feeling   of   being   at   home,   feeling   comfortable,  feeling  safe,  perhaps  even  feeling  closer  to  my  childhood   as   I   turn   forty   that   touches   something   in   my   subconscious.   Why   do   I   feel  the  need  for  this  security  before  I  can  really  engage  with  music?  I   can   just   listen   to   music   anywhere,   and   enjoy   it   a   great   deal,   but   that   sense  of  feeling  completely  connected  only  seems  to  come  when  I  am   in  my  own  personal  cocoon.         Today,   when   I   am   trying   to   write   a   review   of   a   piece   of   music   and   finding  it  hard  to  do,  I  will  normally  grab  my  iPod  and  wander  up  the   old   railway   line   to   refresh   my   thoughts   on   the   music   in   question,   often   in   bad   weather,   not   really   taking   any   notice   of   my   surroundings,   perhaps   just   rebooting   my   listening   ability.   In   recent   years   with   the   advent   of   technology   I   have   even   taken   to   writing   while   walking,   which   is   exactly   what   I’m   doing   right   now.   The   final   movement   of   Mahler’s   Ninth   Symphony   is   resounding   in   my   ears,   tingling   in   my   nerve   endings,   enrapturing   my   mind.   I   should   make   it   to   the   next   invisible  signal  box  before  it  comes  to  an  end.         Richard  Pinnell  is  the  author  of  The  Watchful  Ear  website  and  often  writes  for   The  Wire  magazine.  



Tracing Moving  Circles   By  Seth  Cluett  

Whether  the  mark  of  a  drawn  line,  the  chemical  imprint  of  light  on  paper,   or  the  gathering  of  sound  through  a  microphone,  the  mimetic  act  of  recording  -­‐  of   entering   traces   of   the   world  into   the   index   of   cultural   and   personal   memory   –   is   not   itself  memory,  but  a  catalyst  for  imagination.  Like  a  procession  of  raindrops  carving   away   at   a   roof   or   a   stream   impressing   itself   on   stone,   the   persistence   of   recorded   objects  seems  to  strive  towards  permanence,  both  claiming  and  eroding  space  and   etching  a  form  of  script  on  the  mind.      



3 drawings/three  recordings,  headphone  playback.  Commissioned  by  Re(Sound)  at  the  Hunt   Gallery,  Webster  University,  St.  Louis,  Missouri,  USA,  curated  by  Dana  Turkovic  and  Adam   Watkins]  



tracing moving   circles   is   a   series   of   works   that   addresses   the   idea   of   indexing   or   archiving   the   objects   created   by   sound   and   movement.   The   different   iterations   in   the   series   variously   treat   the   intersection   of   acting,   listening,   seeing,   and   thinking.     The   notion   of   tracing   an   object   in   motion   evoked   by   the   series’   title   expresses   the   futility   inherent   in   the   act   of   recording,   of   fixing   something   that   is   ephemeral   and   (potentially)   ineffable.       In   the   territory   between   original   action   and   recorded   artifact   is   an   object   that   exists   in   the   mind,   and   tracing  moving  circles   is   my   attempt   to  understand  the  nature  of  these  transitory  mental  objects.  


                                                                 Glass,  performance.     In   glass   (2006)   and   100   circles   for   the   head   (2010),   listening   and   action   become   vehicles   for   exploring   attention.     glass   is   a   performance   work   produced   as   an   unprocessed   studio   recording.   The   recording   documents   the   sound   of   circular   motions   made   by   moving   a   piece   of   glass   in   each   hand   against   two   pieces   of   glass   placed   flat   on   a   table.   The   performance   is   finished   when   it   is   no   longer   physically   possible   to   continue   the   action,   allowing   exhaustion   to   create   variations   in   an   otherwise   steady   simple   sound-­‐producing   motion.     Similarly,   100   circles   for   the   head,   a   wall-­‐mounted   set   of   drawings   and   an   accompanying   headphone-­‐based   sound   recording,   documents   the   acoustic   trace   of   drawing   100   circles   in   three   different   ways:   100   single   circles,   50   x   2   circles,   and   25   x   4   circles.     The   work   is   presented  over  headphones  alongside  the  drawings  from  which  the  recordings  are   made.    In  each  of  these  works,  the  limited  movement  required  by  drawing,  tracing,   moving,  or  marking  circles  attempts  to  focus  the  observation  of  sound  on  a  limited   set  of  actions.  While  these  actions  create  the  condition  for  listening  experienced  by   myself   as   a   performer,   the   relationship   between   the   action   and   the   sound   is   displaced   for   the   audience.     My   performative   listening   functions   as   both   an   act   of   reception  in  the  moment  as  well  as  a  conditioning  agent.  The  force  of  this  listening   has  a  causal  effect  on  my  physical  movements,  prompting  the  action  to  strengthen   or   falter   as   my   attention   shifts.   The   audience   sees   only   the   a   temporal   traces   of   physical  action  while  on  the  headphone  they  hear  the  shifts  in  minute  movements   unfold,  drawing  attention  not  to  causality  (because  the  gesture  appears  unchanged)   but  to  the  seeming  incompatibility  of  two  opposed  modalities:  seeing  and  hearing  in   a  gestalt  perceptual  scene  



Tracing moving   circles   (100   circles   for   the   mind),   paper,   charcoal,   endless   loop   tape,   pins,  

Commissioned by  Menu  for  Murmur  at  the  Chapman  Gallery,    curated  by  Ben  Gwilliam  and   Helmut  Lemke]  


tracing moving   circles   (100   circles   for   the   mind)   (2010)   is   an   instructional   score   for   gallery   preparation   and   exhibition   that   treats   the   relationship   between   action  and  recorded  trace  as  evidence  of  work.    A  single  preparator  receives  a  set  of   instructions   asking   that   they   use   a   three-­‐minute   endless   loop   cassette   with   a   dictaphone   to   record   the   sound   of   drawing   one   hundred   circles   on   one   hundred   small  pieces  of  paper  over  a  period  of  time  not  to  exceed  the  duration  of  the  tape.     The   tape   is   then   cut   into   one   hundred   equal   pieces   and   pinned   next   to   the   drawings   that  they  document  in  the  gallery,  alongside  the  instructions,  the  piece  of  charcoal   used   to   draw   the   circles,   and   the   empty   cassette   housing.     In   this   work,   for   the   audience  as  well  as  the  preparator,  listening  is  an  act  of  evocation,  an  unrecoverable   but  palpable  action  that  is  set  in  motion  by  the  artifacts  on  display.      






Tracing moving   circles   (neighborhood   memory),   US   Geological   Survey   Map,   endless   loop   tape,   pins,   Commissioned  by  Non-­‐Cochlear  Sound  at  Diapason  Gallery,  curated  by  Seth  Kim-­‐Cohen]    


tracing moving   circles   (neighborhood   memory)   (2010)   is   a   wall-­‐mounted   gallery  work  that  explores  the  complex  of  experiences  inherent  to  the  everyday  act   of   walking   as   a   form   of   recorded   information   as   it   is   translated   into   an   act   of   viewing.   In   this   work,   each   of   three   preparators   follow   instructions   asking   that   they   circle   a   block   in   the   neighborhood   of   the   gallery   thirty-­‐three   times.     With   a   dictaphone   recording   on   a   three-­‐minute   endless   loop   cassette,   they   are   instructed   to   listen   continuously,   while   making   recordings   at   regular   intervals   based   on   predetermined   cycles   of   counted   numbers.   When   they   are   finished   walking   (and   recording  their  walk),  they  are  instructed  to  listen  back  to  the  fragmented  recording   of   their   experience   and   then   unspool   the   cassette   and   wrap   the   tape   around   pins   pushed   into   a   map   on   the   corners   that   mark   the   block   where   they   walked.   The   map   and  tape-­‐marked  paths  are  then  exhibited  alongside  the  instructions  and  the  three   empty   cassette   tape   housings.   From   the   dialectic   of   an   irretrievable   action   (the   gallery  attendee  being  aware  that  the  work  caused  the  preparator  to  have  listened)   and   an   unplayable   recording   (the   tape   both   marking   the   path   and   itself   holding   a   form   of   listening),   memory   becomes   suspended   in   the   space   of   imagination,   intangible   but   imaginable   through   the   process   of   assemblage   undertaken   by   the   viewer/reader.   Between  listening  and  action,  the  tracing  moving  circles  pieces  try  to  etch  sound  on   the  imagination.  The  series  is  an  attempt  to  unravel  the  knots  that  bind  memory  to   the   self,   to   explore   ways   of   erasing,   neutralizing,   and   smoothing   out   the   striations   created  by  documentary  media  as  they  write  both  across  and  against  thought.  What   elements  might  be  held  on  to  –  included  in  the  archive  of  memory  –  and  what  might   be   written   by   someone   else’s   hand,   indexed   without   intention   and   before   understanding?         Seth   Cluett   is   an   artist,   performer,   and   composer,   he   has   published   articles   for   Leonardo   Music   Journal,   Bypass   Editions,   LeQuai,   306090,   Shifter,   and   Earshot,   and   is   a   regular   contributor   to   the   Intransitive   Magazine.   He   holds   degrees   in   electronic   art   and   music   composition  from  Rensselaer  Polytechnic  Institute  and  Princeton  University  respectively  and   is  on  the  faculty  of  Miami  University  of  Ohio  in  the  United  States.     Audio  files  can  be  found  via  the  compost  and  height  website:          



Eighty-­‐eight keys   By  Joseph  Clayton  Mills  

  1. 2. 3.






When attending  a  funeral,  one  must  always  wear  black.     A  black  suit  hangs  in  my  closet.     Therefore,  naturally,  I  should  simply  have  worn  this  solemn  black  suit,   which   was,   after   all,   an   excellent   suit—expertly   tailored   by   English   tailors,   who   are   the   world’s   supreme   tailors—and   made   of   the   finest   worsted  wool.     This  was  precisely  the  difficulty.  My  only  black  suit  was  tailored  from   the   finest   worsted   wool–a   fabric   that   is   known   for   its   quality,   its   durability,  and  its  remarkable  warmth–yet  the  funeral  of  my  wife  was   taking   place   in   the   so-­‐called   dog   days   of   August,   which   is   a   month   that   is   notorious   for   the   most   unforgiving,   relentless,   and   merciless   of   heats.     Was   it   possible   that   I   could   wear   my   seersucker   suit   instead?   My   seersucker   suit   is   made   of   cotton.   My   seersucker   suit   breathes.   My   seersucker   suit,   in   direct   contrast   to   my   black   wool   suit,   is   perfectly   designed  to  accommodate  the  August  heat.     Yet   this   seersucker   suit,   which   is   the   appropriate   attire   for   August— the  ideal  attire,  for  example,  for  a  picnic  on  the  lawn,  and  the  perfect   wardrobe  for  a  stroll  at  the  seashore—is  the  worst  possible  attire  for   attending   the   funeral   of   one’s   wife.   The   same   seersucker   suit   that,   at   the   picnic   or   at   the   seashore,   is   absolutely   ideal   becomes,   at   the   funeral  of  one’s  wife,  absolutely  ridiculous;  moreover,  it  makes  anyone   who  wears  it  ridiculous,  as  well.     I  am  far  from  caring  what  others  might  say,  and  I  care  still  less  about   what  they  might  think.  Nevertheless,  I  concede  that  the  grief  of  a  man   who   is   dressed   in   a   solemn   black   wool   suit   is   grief   to   be   taken   seriously,   whereas   the   grief   of   a   man   who   is   dressed   in   a   seersucker   suit  is  grief  that  is  meant  to  be  laughed  at.     It   is   absolutely   impossible   to   wear   a   seersucker   suit   to   the   funeral   of   one’s   wife,   because   it   is   absolutely   impossible   to   wear   anything   less   than  a  solemn  suit  of  black  worsted  wool  to  the  funeral  of  one’s  wife.  



10. 11.





It   is   equally   impossible   to   wear   a   solemn   suit   of   worsted   wool   and   stand   by   the   yawning   mouth   of   a   freshly   dug   grave   under   the   murderous  blaze  of  an  August  sun.       Therefore,  one  must  pose  oneself  the  question:  why  did  she  choose  to   kill  herself  in  the  month  of  August?     If   she   had   executed   herself,   for   example,   in   the   month   of   November,   when   the   bleak   umbra   of   the   leafless   tree   lengthens   towards   inhospitable  horizons,  I  could  have  understood  her  decision  quite  well.   If  she  had  assassinated  herself  in  the  month  of  January,  when  the  frigid   nights   are   interminable   and   the   sunlight   is   a   ghost,   it   would   have   been   right  and  proper.  If  she  had  killed  herself  in  the  month  of  March,  which   invariably   crushes   ones   feeble   hopes   for   an   early   spring   beneath   the   brutal,   suffocating   weight   of   a   late   snowfall,   I   would   have   been   unsurprised.     The  winters  in  this  awful  city  are  of  excruciating  length  and  diabolical   tenacity;  ergo,  people  massacre  themselves  in  droves  in  the  month  of   November,   they   slaughter   themselves   by   the   thousands   in   the   month   of   January,   and   no   one   escapes   unscathed   from   the   month   of   March   without   pondering   the   panacea   of   suicide.   However,   there   is   absolutely   no   reason   in   the   world   to   kill   oneself   in   the   month   of   August–unless,   that   is,   one   wishes   to   deliberately   inflict   upon   a   widowed,  grieving  husband  the  torture  of  wearing  his  black  wool  suit.     Thus,   one   must   draw   the   inescapable   conclusion   that   my   wife   knowingly  and  maliciously  finished  herself  off  in  the  month  of  August– that   she   purposely   selected   the   hottest   month   of   the   year   as   the   perfect  time  in  which  to  unveil  her  suicide  plot–because  she  was  well   aware   that   my   only   black   suit   was   made   of   worsted   wool   and   intended,  with  the  perfidious  cunning  that  was  her  hallmark,  to  inflict   this  black  wool  suit  torture  upon  me.       Given  the  choice  between  two  impossibilities,  I  was  forced  to  devise  a   compromise,   as   follows:   in   my   mind,   I   dressed   myself   in   my   seersucker   suit,   but   in   my   body   I   crawled   into   the   suit   of   solemn   black   wool.   In   my   mind,   I   dressed   for   the   weather,   and   in   my   body   I   dressed   for   the   occasion.   In   my   mind,   I   donned   my   ridiculous   seersucker   suit   and   withstood   the   mockery   of   the   crowd,   and   in   my   body   I   donned   my   black  wool  suit  and  suffered  her  black  wool  suit  revenge.     My  legs,  one  after  the  other,  went  into  my  solemn  black  wool  pants.  I   buttoned   up   my   starched   white   shirt   and   affixed   the   cufflinks   to   my   French   cuffs;   I   pulled   on   my   black   wool   jacket,   one   sleeve   after   the   next;   I   folded   my   pocket   square   and   slipped   it   into   place;   and   I   struggled  to  tie  my  somber  necktie  into  a  double  Windsor  knot,  which   is  the  only  knot  that  one  can  wear  to  the  funeral  of  one’s  wife,  the  only   knot   that   is   serious   enough,   dignified   enough,   and   profound   enough   to   befit   such   an   occasion—not   the   half   Windsor   knot,   not   the   four-­‐in-­‐





19. 20.





hand knot,  and  not  the  Shelby—the  double  Windsor,  the  necktie  knot   nonpareil.     Unsurprisingly,   my   attempt   to   tie   the   double   Windsor   knot   was   an   unmitigated   disaster.   It   had   always   been   my   wife   who   had   tied   the   double  Windsor  knot  for  me,  it  had  been  she  who  had  straightened  the   necktie   whenever   it   had   gone   askew,   it   had   been   she   who   had   tightened  it  when  it  was  loose  and  had  loosened  it  when  I  gasped  for   breath;  but  now  the  double  Windsor  knot  was  irredeemably  awry,  and   with   her   gone   I   was   absolutely   helpless   before   its   intricacies.   Left   to   my  own  devices,  I  found  that  this  double  Windsor  knot  proved  to  be  an   impossible  task.     Of   all   the   knots   that   one   is   called   upon   to   tie   in   one’s   life,   the   double   Windsor  knot  is  by  far  the  most  difficult  to  master;  of  all  the  obstacles   that  one  faces  in  life,  the  tying  of  a  double  Windsor  knot  is  perhaps  the   most   insurmountable   obstacle;   and   of   all   the   crimes   that   she   perpetrated   upon   me,   by   far   the   worst   was   to   abandon   me   to   confront   the  double  Windsor  knot  alone  and  unaided.     You   will   tell   me   that   a   man   should   know   how   to   tie   his   own   necktie.   You  would  be  absolutely  correct  to  do  so.  A  man  should  be  well  versed   in   the   art   of   tying   a   necktie.   The   ability   to   tie   one’s   own   necktie   is   fundamental  to  the  very  definition  of  what  it  means  to  be  a  man.     A  man  who  cannot  tie  his  own  necktie  is,  by  definition,  not  a  man  but  a   child.     Ultimately,  a  man  who  cannot  tie  his  own  necktie  is  helpless  before  the   onslaught   of   the   world,   against   which   a   double   Windsor   knot   is   the   best  and  only  defense.     The  world  is  perpetually  on  the  attack,  and  a  man  who  cannot  retreat   to  the  fortress  of  a  double  Windsor  knot  is  at  the  mercy  of  the  world,   which  has  no  mercy.     For   a   man   who   cannot   tie   his   own   double   Windsor   knot,   a   necktie   is   nothing   more   and   nothing   less   than   a   hangman’s   noose.   A   man   who   must   depend   on   others   for   the   tying   of   his   necktie   is   doomed   to   annihilation,  and  what  is  more,  he  should  be  doomed  to  annihilation.  A   creature   who   cannot   tie   his   own   necktie,   to   be   frank,   deserves   every   vicious  blow  that  the  world  inflicts.     An  inability  to  tie  my  double  Windsor  knot  is  therefore  no  excuse,  but   it   was   as   a   direct   and   immediate   consequence   of   my   inability   to   tie   my   double   Windsor   knot—despite   devoting   three-­‐quarters   of   an   hour   to   the  bitter  struggle—that  I  was  led  to  commit  one  of  the  most  egregious   faux  pas  that  one  can  commit  at  any  funeral,  much  less  the  funeral  of   one’s  wife,  which  is  the  unpardonable  sin  of  tardiness.     When   arriving   at   a   funeral,   one   does   not   want   to   keep   the   corpse   waiting.  


25. Of course,   it   would   be   equally   impermissible   to   show   one’s   eager   anticipation  of  the  internment  by  arriving  too  early.     26. When   arriving   at   a   funeral,   one   should   always   be   precisely   on   time,   which  is  to  say  neither  a  moment  too  early  nor  a  moment  too  late.     27. Alas,   in   this   world   everything   is   always   done   too   early   or   too   late.   Sometimes  the  one,  and  sometimes  the  other,  but  nothing  is  ever  done   at  the  right  time.     28. Only   in   music,   and   only   when   the   music   is   played   properly—and   in   this  world  the  music  is  never  played  properly.     29. If  a  tune  is  supposed  to  be  played  in  4/4  time,  we  play  it  like  a  waltz.  If   the  band  plays  a  waltz,  we  dance  a  polka.  If  the  tempo  is  correct,  our   instruments   are   out   of   tune.   If   by   some   miracle   our   instruments   are   in   tune,  the  composition  is  guaranteed  to  be  tasteless  and  kitsch.     30. If   the   tempo   is   correct,   and   the   instruments   are   in   tune,   and   the   composition   is   the   work   of   a   Beethoven   or   a   Bach,   then   you   can   be   absolutely  certain  that  the  audience  is  tone-­‐deaf.     31. In   this   world,   in   short,   a   musical   disaster   is   guaranteed,   no   matter   what.     32. My  wife  loved  music  more  than  anything  else  in  life,  but  she  was  never   one   for   punctuality.   She   always   lagged   behind   the   beat.   The   truth   is   that  my  wife  always  needed  a  conductor  to  wave  the  baton.  With  her,   everything  was  played  at  the  wrong  tempo  and  slightly  out  of  tune.  My   wife  lived  a  life  that  could  best  be  described  as  a  study  in  syncopation   and  atonality.  With  her,  every  action  was  the  right  action,  but  taken  at   the  wrong  time.  Every  precaution  was  taken,  but  only  once  the  damage   was  done.     33. Even   her   suicide   project   was   undertaken   too   late   to   accomplish   any   good.     34. There   is   little   that   is   quite   so   pathetic   as   to   commit   suicide   at   an   advanced  age.  If  one  murders  oneself  at  twenty,  when  one  is  still  in  the   first   so-­‐called   bloom   of   youth,   there   is   an   inevitable   consensus   as   to   the   tragedy.   The   loss   of   a   young   life   full   of   promise—no   matter   how   unpromising  that  life  might  have  been—is  universally  bemoaned.     35. In   contrast,   when   one   kills   oneself   at   her   age,   there   are   certain   individuals   who   can   only   shrug   their   shoulders,   roll   their   eyes,   and   wonder   what   could   possibly   have   taken   her   so   long.     After   all,   it   had   been  clear  for  years  that  her  life  was  a  hopelessly  botched  job.     36. To   live   too   long   under   circumstances   such   as   hers   was   certainly   an   embarrassment  to  all  concerned.    


37. When one  sees  an  old  man  or  an  old  woman,  one  should  always  raise  a   suspicious  eyebrow,  because  in  a  world  like  this  one  there  is  nothing   quite  so  suspect  as  survival.  To  live  too  long  in  a  world  like  this  one  is   always  a  dubious  accomplishment.  One  does  not  reach  a  ripe  old  age  in   this  world  without  covering  oneself  in  infamy  of  one  kind  or  another.       38. When   I   arrived   at   the   funeral—gasping,   panting,   strangled   by   my   badly   knotted   hangman’s   noose   of   a   necktie,   sweating   like   a   pig,   and   egregiously   late—I   was   shocked   to   see   the   disastrous   turnout.   It   is   true  that  she  was  less  than  popular,  and  I  was  not  surprised  to  see  that   her  friends  were  not  here,  because  her  friends  did  not  exist.  But  where   were  her  enemies?  I  would  have  thought  that  there  would  be  scores  of   them   assembled   to   gloat   over   her   now   that   she   was   defenseless.   I   would  have  thought  that  every  seat  would  be  full.     39. And   where   were   the   curious?   The   curious   are   always   in   a   hurry   to   gather   around   a   corpse,   especially   the   corpse   of   a   suicide.   The   place   should  have  been  infested  with  them.  I  would  have  thought  that  they   would  all  have  come  in  a  swarm  to  pick  over  her  bones.     40. Instead,   I   arrived   to   discover   only   a   handful   of   wretched   specimens   from   her   middle-­‐class   monstrosity   of   a   family,   obese   and   dull-­‐witted,   shedding  their  counterfeit  tears,  gathered  for  no  other  reason  than  to   gawk  and  to  gossip.  Now  that  she  was  dead  the  tongues  of  her  family   would  not  stop  wagging.  They  had  always  suspected  and  now  they  had   proof  that  my  wife  was  a  madwoman.     41. Of  course,  they  could  never  understand  that  she  was  also  an  idealist.  It   was   impossible   for   their   mediocre   middle-­‐class   mediocrity   minds   to   comprehend  that,  if  she  could  not  bear  them  the  way  that  they  were,  it   was  simply  because  she  saw  all  too  clearly  the  way  that  they  could  be.     42. She   suffered   from   a   malady   endemic   among   idealists:   she   loved   humanity   and   hated   human   beings,   and   her   misfortune   was   that   she   was  always  confronted  with  human  beings  and  never  confronted  with   humanity.     43. Her   family   loathed   her   and   she   loathed   them   in   return,   because   neither  she  nor  they  could  stand  to  see  how  far  short  of  her  ideals  they   fell.     44. My  wife  belonged  to  her  middle-­‐class  monstrosity  of  a  family  in  name   only;   in   reality,   she   was   descended   from   a   long   line   of   idealists   and   lunatics,  her  true  lineage  was  that  of  an  idealist  and  a  lunatic,  and  she   was  the  heiress  to  all  of  their  idealism  and  their  lunacy.     45. Whether  she  was  an  idealist  first  and  went  mad,  or  was  a  madwoman   first   and   then   developed   ideals,   is   impossible   to   say   and   makes   no   difference,   because   all   idealists   are   insane   and   the   insane   are   always   idealists.   Inside   their   skulls,   each   of   them   carries   a   burden   that   no   one   else  can  carry:  a  world  that  no  one  else  can  understand.    


46. No one  approved  of  our  marriage.  Her  mother  was  dead  set  against  it   and   referred   to   me   as   “matrimonial   arsenic.”   Her   father   called   our   marriage   a   catastrophe   in   the   making,   and   he   described   her   decision   as   “Hinderburg-­‐esque.”   In   the   end,   they   were   both   proved   right,   of   course,  but  she  would  not  listen.  I  had  given  her  lilacs  and  played  the   piano,  I  had  rhapsodized  about  Beethoven  and  Bach,  I  had  dropped  the   names   “Voltaire”   and   “Rousseau”   into   conversation—after   that,   there   was  nothing  that  her  parents  could  do  to  dissuade  her.     47. Still,   I   can   take   little   credit   for   our   marriage.   My   wife   deserves   the   credit  and  the  blame.  She  was  the  one  who  plotted  our  marriage.  She   was  the  chief  conspirator,  and  I  was  only  her  accomplice,  although  in   the  end  it  was  I  who  was  left  to  face  the  music  alone.     48. My   wife   thought   that   she   was   plotting   an   escape.   She   thought   that   a   husband   would   be   a   way   out   of   her   father-­‐trap   and   her   family-­‐trap,   but  she  found  herself  instead  in  a  husband-­‐trap.    

49. She thought   that   she   was   digging   an   escape   tunnel   in   the   form   of   a   marriage,  but  to  her  disgust  she  discovered  that  she  was  only  digging  a   pit.     50. In   the   end,   she   diligently   burrowed   through   her   marriage   just   as   she   had   burrowed   through   her   family;   and   when   her   marriage   tunnel   collapsed,   she   dug   her   way   through   philosophy,   novels,   and   symphonies.  

51. She  thought  that  with  every  page  that  she  turned  and  every  note  that   she  struck  on  the  piano  that  she  was  burrowing  a  little  farther  under   the   barbed   wire.   For   her,   every   page   and   every   note   was   an   escape   tunnel,  but  every  tunnel  collapsed,  one  right  after  the  next.    

52. My wife   lived   under   the   life-­‐long   impression   that   she   was   digging   an   escape   tunnel,   but   in   the   end   she   discovered,   naturally,   that   she   was   only  digging  a  grave,  and  a  horribly  shallow  one  at  that.    

53. Despite the   long   years   of   dreadful   effort,   in   the   end,   the   hole   was   barely  deep  enough  to  cover  the  stench.     54. Nonetheless,   on   our   wedding   day,   she   was   radiant   with   hope   and   happiness.   She   glided   down   the   aisle   with   terrifying   grace,   and   the   arc   of  her  impossibly  long  pale  throat  was  like  the  throat  of  a  swan.  I  had   never   seen   her   so   beautiful,   and   I   suspected   then   that   I   would   never   see  her  so  beautiful  again   55. Her   beauty   began   to   fade   at   once,   and   her   hope   and   her   happiness,   too—but  by  then  it  was  too  late.     56. In  my  defense,  I  made  a  valiant  attempt  to  make  her  happy,  but  I  had   taken   on   an   impossible   task.   My   wife   built   a   wall,   brick   by   brick,   between   herself   and   her   happiness.   She   put   a   guard   tower   on   top   of   the  wall,  and  she  issued  the  order  “shoot  to  kill.”  


57. The truth   is   that   my   wife   always   lived   in   a   bunker.   She   resided   in   a   bomb-­‐proof   bunker   inside   her   skull.   For   my   wife,   the   Russians   were   always   at   the   city   gates   and   the   bombs   were   perpetually   falling.   My   wife’s   mind   was   always   a   bomb-­‐shelter   mind,   and   her   mentality   was   always  a  bunker-­‐mentality.  She  was  always  fighting  a  desperate,  last-­‐ ditch  defense  against  the  world—moreover,  a  hopeless  defense.     58. I  ask  myself:  when  did  things  get  so  bad?  When  did  things  become  so   utterly  unbearable?  And  the  answer  is  that  things  have  always  been  so   bad,  things  have  always  been  unbearable.  Who  knows  why  one  day  it   becomes  too  much?     59. Every  day  she  would  wake  up  with  the  hands  of  the  world  around  her   throat.   Every   morning,   the   grip   would   be   a   little   tighter.   Every   morning,   it   was   a   little   harder   to   breathe.   One   morning,   she   was   strangled,  and  that  was  that.     60. The  miserable  way  that  they  treat  the  body  in  these  places,  I  thought,   dressing   them   up   like   dolls,   powdering   their   faces,   parading   them   about.     61. A   funeral   is   nothing   but   one   long   travesty,   I   thought,   one   protracted   insult  to  the  dead.     62. They  say  that  a  funeral  is  to  honor  the  dead,  I  thought,  and  then  they   proceed  to  molest  the  corpse  and  to  treat  the  corpse  like  a  puppet  or  a   rag  doll.     63. The   body   should   be   treated   with   respect   and   instead   they   treat   it   with   nothing  but  disrespect,  I  thought.     64. Of   course,   the   way   they   treat   the   body   is   nothing   compared   to   the   way   they  treat  the  soul.  Every  humiliation  they  visit  on  the  body  is  visited   on   the   soul   a   hundred-­‐fold.   For   every   insult   that   they   deliver   to   the   body,  they  deliver  a  hundred  insults  to  the  soul.     65. Every   tasteless   indignity   inflicted   on   the   body   of   the   dead,   of   which   there  is  no  shortage,  is  replicated  one  hundred  times  over  on  the  soul   of   the   dead,   I   thought,   and   as   if   on   cue   the   dour-­‐eyed   preacher,   who   had  been  circling  the  corpse  like  a  vulture,  perched  at  last  at  the  pulpit   and  commenced  to  dispensing  his  platitudes  and  panaceas.     66. The   drivel   that   came   out   of   the   mouth   of   that   hired   lackey,   that   mercenary   mourner   who   was   unmistakably   interested   only   in   collecting   his   fee   and   snatching   up   his   thirty   pieces   of   silver,   was   beyond   description,   and   I   was   compelled   to   sit   and   listen   patiently,   sweltering  in  my  black  wool  suit,  while  he  hurled  insult  after  insult  at   her  in  the  guise  of  showering  her  with  praise.     67. It  was  then  that  I  noticed  the  smile  on  her  face.    


68. It was   then   that   I   noticed   that   they   had   decorated   her   face   with   a   smile.     69. It  was  then  that  I  noticed  that,  in  the  most  unnatural  manner,  they  had   adorned   her   face   with   a   completely   implausible   and   unacceptable   smile.     70. In  life,  she  had  never  worn  a  smile,  but  had  invariably  worn  a  frown.     71. Since  the  day  of  our  wedding,  her  expression  had  been,  without  fail,  an   expression  of  disappointment.     72. Since  the  day  of  our  wedding,  she  had  never  smiled;  at  most,  she  had   smirked,   and   occasionally   she   had   sneered,   but   I   could   say   with   absolute   certainty   that,   since   the   day   of   our   wedding,   I   had   never   seen   her  smile.     73. Never  a  smile  and  always  a  frown,  but  as  soon  as  she  was  safely  dead   they  did  not  hesitate  to  disfigure  her.     74. Admittedly,   a   smile   on   a   corpse   is   nothing   so   terribly   unusual—the   funeral   parlors   are   filled   with   cadavers   that,   to   all   appearances,   are   blissfully   happy;   the   cemeteries   are   stuffed   with   grinning   skulls;   and   if   you   turn   to   the   obituaries,   you   will   be   greeted   with   nothing   but   grainy   black   and   white   photographs   of   the   dead   smiling   their   interminable   insipid  smiles—but  a  smile  on  this  corpse,  of  all  corpses,  is  impossible.     75. If   they   had   buried   her   with   a   smirk   on   her   face,   or   with   her   lips   arranged  into  a  derisive  sneer,  I  could  have  borne  it,  but  her  lips  were   twisted  into  an  unmistakable  smile.     76. At   first,   I   deluded   myself   with   hope;   I   tried   to   placate   myself.   I   thought   to  myself  that  it  could  be  a  smirk  in  lieu  of  a  smile.  It  is  quite  possibly  a   smirk,   I   thought   at   first,   or   perhaps   a   sneer,   because   that   would   be   conceivable,   that   would   be   understandable,   but   a   smile   would   be   inconceivable  and  beyond  the  bounds  of  understanding,  and  so  I  could   not  conceive  it  and  could  not  understand  it.     77. In  that  awful  light,  in  that  grim,  pallid,  stained-­‐glass  light,  it  was  at  first   quite   difficult   to   tell   whether   it   was   a   smile.   From   a   certain   angle,   it   could  perhaps  be  mistaken  for  a  smirk  by  one  unacquainted  with  the   nuances   of   her   expression.   Fron   another   angle,   it   gave   the   distinct   impression,   to   the   hasty   observer,   of   being   a   sneer.   But   when   I   approached   more   closely,   when   I   examined   what   is   perhaps   best   described  as  the  scene  of  the  crime  with  complete  objectivity,  when  I   subjected   the   arrangement   of   her   lips   to   properly   scientific   scrutiny,   it   was  absolutely  clear  to  me  that  it  was  nothing  other  than  a  smile.     78. The   inescapable   conclusion   was   that   it   was   no   smirk,   no   grimace,   no   sneer,   because   I   know   a   smirk   when   I   see   one,   I   am   a   connoisseur   of   the  sneer  and  an  expert  in  the  grimace,  and  it  was  none  of  these.    


79. It was   utterly   certain,   as   horrific   as   the   possibility   was   to   contemplate,   that   they   had   inflicted   a   smile   upon   her   corpse   and   that   this   smile   had   left  her  mutilated  beyond  belief.     80. It  was  as  plain  as  day  that  she,  who  had  never  grinned  like  an  idiot  in   life,   had   been   compelled   to   grin   like   an   idiot   in   death   and   that   those   who  had,  in  life,  subjected  her  to  every  indignity  had  not  hesitated  to   visit   upon   her   another   indignity,   a   last   indignity,   a   parting   indignity   after  a  lifetime  of  ceaseless,  unrelenting  indignity.     81.  Even   if   the   corpse   has   never   been   treated   with   dignity   in   life,   the   corpse  should  be  treated  with  dignity  in  death.     82. She  should  not  be  forced  to  grin  like  an  idiot  through  eternity.     83. Perhaps   it   is   true   that   I   am   out   of   my   mind   with   grief,   but   I   have   the   right  to  grieve.     84. Everything   is   over;   everything   is   lost.   I   know   exactly   what   I   am   saying.   I  am  speaking  the  truth.  The  only  the  time  anyone  says  anything  that  is   not  a  lie  is  when  they  are  broken.     85. If  I  could  have  saved  anyone  from  this  miserable  world,  this  world  that   is  so  much  like  a  burning  house,  so  much  like  a  sinking  ship,  so  much   like  a  cancer  and  a  scaffold  and  a  nightmare  and  a  grave,  it  would  have   been  her.     86. I   do   not   understand   how   it   came   to   this.   I   am   not   surprised   that   it   came  to  this,  but  I  do  not  understand  it,  I  cannot  understand  it,  and  I   refuse  to  understand  it.     87. Therefore,   in   front   of   the   assembled   mourners—which   is   to   say   in   front   of   the   preacher   and   her   middle-­‐class   monstrosity   of   a   family,   which  is  to  say  in  front  of  no  one,  because  neither  he  nor  they  were  a   mourners  in  the  true  sense  of  the  word,  in  the  only  sense  of  the  word   that   matters—I   leapt   to   my   feet,   I   staggered   to   the   catafalque,   I   reached  into  the  casket,  and  I  wiped  the  smile  from  her  face.     88. I   arranged   her   lips—which   would   surely   be   the   last   lips   that   I   would   ever  kiss,  and  just  as  surely  be  the  last  to  ever  kiss  my  own—into  an   unforgiving  frown.        


Joseph Clayton   Mills  is  an  artist,  writer,  and  musician  who  lives  and  works  in   Chicago.  He  is  member  of  the  band  Haptic,  and  has  material  released  on  labels   including   FSS,   Entr'acte,   and   Bloodlust!.   He   is   the   author   of   the   short   story   collection  Zyxt.  


Opening the  Argument              The  Critical  Theory  of  Kenneth  Gaburo                                                                                              Larry  Polansky,  David  Dunn,  Warren  Burt,  Chris  Mann.                                  Chair:  Nate  Wooley         Introduction       The  following  discussion  took  place  at  Brooklyn's  Issue  Project  Room  on  June  22nd,  2010.    The  occasion  was   the  first  "critical  theory"  presentation  of  the  "Darmstadt"  series  which  takes  place  throughout  the  year  and   is  curated  by  Nick  Hallett  and  Zach  Layton.    The  event  itself,  and  the  subsequent  recording  and  transcription   are   brought   to   you   by   Compost   and   Height   and   Nate   Wooley   with   tremendous   help   from   Issue   Project   Room,  New  World  Records,  Pogus  Recordings,  and  the  four  participants.     The  composer  under  discussion  for  the  first  of  these  public  presentations  was  the  theorist,  composer,  multi-­‐ disciplinary  thinker,  progenitor  of  compositional  linguistics,  revolutionary  publisher,  and  teacher,  Kenneth   Gaburo.     An   underappreciated   artist   throughout   the   world,   let   alone   in   his   native   country,   Gaburo   was   born   in   1923   in   Somerville,   New   Jersey.     He   studied   with   Goffredo   Petrassi   in   Rome   on   a   Fulbright   Scholarship   in   1954,  and  after  finishing  his  studies  at  University  of  Illinois,  Champaign-­‐Urbana,  he  stayed  on  to  teach  and   work   in   one   of   the   first   dedicated   electronic   studios   in   the   country   under   the   direction   of   Lejaren   Hiller.    During  this  time  his  peers  included  James  Tenney  and  Sal  Martirano.     Growing   from   a   concern   for   music-­‐as-­‐language   and   language-­‐as-­‐music   Gaburo   started   formal   studies   in   linguistics  in  1959,  formulating  the  term  Compositional  Linguistics.   In  1965  he  founded  the  New  Music  Choral  Ensemble  (NMCE)  one  of  the  first  choirs  in  the  U.S.  to  perform   avant-­‐garde   music   for   voice.   This   group   performed   over   100   new   works   in   the   decade   of   its   existence,   from   the   choral   music   of   Schoenberg,   Nono,   Oliveros,   Kagel,   and   Messiaen,   to   the   theatre   works   of   Beckett   and   Albee.  Improvisation  was  combined  with  electronics,  body  and  verbal  linguistics,  computers,  dance,  mime,   film,  slides,  and  tape.     From  1967  to  1975,  Gaburo  taught  at  the  University  of  California  at  San  Diego  where  he  founded  NMCE  IV,   which  included  not  only  a  singer  and  speaker,  but  also  a  mime  and  sound-­‐movement  instrumentalist.       In  1974  Gaburo  founded  Lingua  Press  Publishers,  dedicated  to  putting  forth  unique  artist-­‐produced  works   in  all  media  having  to  do  with  language  and  music.  Many  of  the  publications  have  been  exhibited  in  book  art   shows  throughout  the  world.  Gaburo  lived  in  the  Anzo-­‐Borrego  desert  writing  and  teaching  from  1980  until   1983.  In  1980  he  was  artistic  director  for  the  first  "authentic"  production  of  Harry  Partch's  The  Bewitched   for   the   Berlin   Festival   (recorded   on   Enclosure   Five:   Harry   Partch,   innova   405).   His   understanding   of   Partch's   concept   of   corporeality   has   deep   connections   with   his   own   concern   for   physicality   and   how   it   informs   compositions.   His   1982   tape   work,   RE-­‐RUN,   for   instance,   was   generated   after   a   20-­‐hour   sensory   deprivation  exercise.   He   became   Director   of   the   Experimental   Music   Studio   at   the   University   of   Iowa   in   1983.   The   studio   put   intensive   focus   on   composition,   technology,   psycho-­‐acoustic   perception,   performance,   and   the   affirmation   of   the   uniqueness   of   the   individual   to   create   his/her   own   language   reality.   At   the   studio   he   founded   the   Seminar   for   Cognitive   Studies,   a   forum   for   discussion   of   the   creative   process.   His   concern   for   the   investigation   of   music   as   legitimate   research,   and   composition   as   the   creation   of   intrinsic   appropriate   language,  led  to  a  series  of  readings  in  compositional  linguistics  for  solo  performer.  


Antiphony VIII:   Revolution,   for   percussion   (Steve   Schick)   and   tape,   Antiphony   IX:   A   Dot   for   orchestra,   children,   and   tape,   and   Antiphony   X:   Winded,   for   organ   (Gary   Verkade)   and   tape,   continued   his   series   of   works   for   live   instruments   and   tape   as   well   as   the   use   of   graphic   notations   and   random   processes   to   generate  small  and  large  scale  events.  Gaburo's  archive  is  housed  at  the  University  of  Illinois  Music  Library   and   Lingua   Press   is   represented   by   Frog   Peak   Music.   [see   for   more   information,   and   thank   you   to   this   site   for   their  bio  of  Gaburo,  heavily  cribbed  above.   The   concept   of   the   "critical   theory"   presentations   was   not   only   to   explore   the   work   of   revolutionary   and   underexplored   theorists   and   artists,   but   also   to   gain   insights   into   the   work   of   artists   who   have   been   influenced   by   them.     In   this   case,   our   group   of   presenters   included   four   revolutionary   theorists   and   composers   in   their   own   right,   all   of   whom   had   been   affected   directly   by   their   relationship   to   Gaburo,   either   as  peers,  students  or  fellow  faculty  members.       Larry  Polansky  (   Larry   Polansky   has   worked   extensively   in   composition,   computer   music,   software   development,   theory,   performance  and  American  musics.  He  was  on  the  faculty  of  Mills  College  in  Oakland,  CA,  and  directed  the   Center  for  Contemporary  Music  there.  He  is  the  author  of  a  number  of  books  and  articles,  has  several  solo   CDs  released,  is  an  editor  for  a  number  of  major  theoretical  and  computer  music  journals,  and  is  the  founder   and   director   of   Frog   Peak   Music   (A   Composers'   Collective),   an   organization   dedicated   to   publishing   speculative   theory   and   experimental   music.   He   currently   teaches   in   the   graduate   program   in   electro-­‐ acoustic  music,  and  courses  in  computer  music,  theory  and  composition  on  the  undergraduate  level.   David  Dunn  (   David  Dunn  is  best  introduced  by  Gaburo  himself:   David   Dunn   is   at   once   an   ecologist,   a   philosopher,   a   member   of   the   'new   science',   a   performer,   an   integrator   of   human  values  with  technological  ones,  and  an  artist.   Although   I   feel   I   can   speak   knowingly   of   him,   it   is   nevertheless   impossible   to   get   a   "fix"   on   him;   (trying   to   do   so   only  serves  to  show  the  elusive,  -­‐-­‐-­‐sometimes  contradictory-­‐-­‐-­‐,  and  yet,  precise  nature  of  his  work,  and  persona).   But   simply   said:   David   is   a   composer;   -­‐-­‐-­‐to   be   sure   a   composer   of   'music',   and   the   'musical'.   But   more   significantly,  David  is  a  composer  as  in  'making',  'searching',  `exploring',  'finding',  'synthesizing',  'questioning'.   Yes,   endless   questioning.   He   strives,   (as   certain   others   do),   to   not   box   things   in;   to   not   assume   that   so-­‐called   "areas",   "disciplines",   (e.g.,   as   between   music   and   linguistics),   can   be   bounded   as-­‐if   they   signify   mutually-­‐ exclusive  domains.   Contrarily,   his   works,   thinkings,   makings,   et   alia,   exhibit   diverse   formations   of   'wholeness',   and   beauty,   thereby   penetrating  certain  current  theories  of  complexity.  Above  all,  (at  least  in  the  cognitive  domain,  -­‐-­‐-­‐but  also  quite   perceivable  elsewhere-­‐-­‐-­‐)  his  work,  (his  life?),  has  to  do  with  the  implicit  connectedness  of  matter.   Warren  Burt  (   Warren  Burt  was  born  October  10,  1949  in  Baltimore,  Maryland.  He  grew  up  in  Waterford,  New  York   where   he   studied   accordion   and   flute.   He   decided   on   music   as   a   career   because   it   looked   like   an   easy   major   in   University.  He  went  to  the  State  University  of  New  York  at  Albany,  (his  composition  teachers  were  William   Thomas  McKinley  and  Joel  Chadabe),  where  he  became  fascinated  by  problems  of  composition/organization   and   decided   to   get   serious   about   music   as   long   as   he   could   laugh   at   himself.   He   went   to   the   University   of   California   at   San   Diego   for   graduate   work,   (his   composition   teachers   were   Robert   Erickson   and   Kenneth   Gaburo;  Pauline  Oliveros  was  also  a  source  of  inspiration).  While  at  UCSD  he  became  a  fellow  in  the  Center   for  Music  Experiment  being  in  charge  of  the  Analog  Electronic  Music  and  Video  Synthesis  facilities.  He  also   became  associated  with  Serge  Tcherepnin  at  this  time  and  participated  in  the  design  and  construction  of  the   first  and  subsequent  generations  of  Serge  Modular  Music  Systems.  Also  while  in  San  Diego  he  was  a  founder  


member, (with   Ronald   Al   Robboy   and   David   Dunn),   of   Fatty   Acid,   an   incompetent   performance   group.   In   1975  he  left  the  USA  and  moved  to  Australia,  taking  a  job  teaching  freshman  theory  and  building  a  hybrid   sound-­‐video  studio  at  La  Trobe  University  in  Melbourne.  He  is  one  of  the  founding  members,  (with  Ronald   Nagorcka)  of  the  Plastic  Platypus,  (an  experimental  music  performance  group),  and  one  of  the  founders  of   the   Clifton   Hill   Community   Music   Center,   (a   community-­‐music-­‐resource-­‐centre).   He   has   written   probably   far  too  many  works  for  instruments,  electronics,  voice,  video,  theater,  prose,  poetry,  et  cetera.  However,  he   is  still  laughing.   ed.   note:   see   also   Burt's   Reflections   on   Kenneth   Gaburo   for   this   event   (­‐ thoughts-­‐about-­‐kenneth-­‐ga/)   Chris  Mann  (   Composer   working   in   Compositional   Linguistics,   his   work   is   mainly   to   do   with   the   technology   and   philosophy  of  speech.  Performer  (voice),  since  1989  with  Machine  for  Making  Sense  and  most  recently  Chris   Mann   and   the   Impediments.   1999   Artist   in   Residence,   Harvestworks   and   RPI.   His   commissions   include:   Astra   Choir,   John   Cage,   Composers   Forum,   Paris   Autumn   Festival,   Australian   Biennale,   Radio   France,   Ars   Electronica,   Radio   Telefis   Eirann,   Australian   Broadcasting   Corporation,   National   Public   Radio,   Revue   Telematique   d'Art   Contemporain,   Dance   Works,   Dance   Exchange,   Lingua,   Art   et   Lectures,   Abraxas,   Foundation   for   Contemporary   Performance   Arts,   la   revue   parlée,   V2,   Australian   Network   for   Art   and   Technology,   Goethe   Institut,   Shire   of   Healesville,   Anzart,   Christian   Television   Association,   Commission   for   the  Future,  International  Synergy,  ABC  Staff  Union,  Australia  Council,  Perth  Institute  for  Contemporary  Art,   Festival   de   la   Batie,   Sprach   Ton   Art,   Brisbane   Biennial,   BBC,   Taklos   Festival,   ORF,   Urban   Aboriginal,   American  Society  for  Cybernetics,  bobeobi,  Adelaide  Festival,  Experimenta,  Interpretations.   As   mentioned   above,   all   four   of   these   artists   had   direct   contact   with   Gaburo   at   one   point   or   another   in   their   life.     My  experience  with  Gaburo's  work  comes  only  out  of  second  hand  knowledge  of  the  few  recordings  of   his  music  that  has  seen  the  light  of  day  in  recent  reissues  by  Pogus  Recordings  and  New  World  Records.    My   work   as   an   improvising   trumpet   player   radically   changed   upon   hearing   Gaburo's   "Mouthpiece:   Sextet   for   Solo  Trumpet"  on  the  New  World  Records  reissue  of  the  original  CRI  recording.    The  physicality  and  visceral   quality   of   the   piece   (and   performance)   made   available   to   me   a   completely   different   set   of   parameters   by   which   I   could   approach   solo   trumpet   improvising   as   well   as   my   own   composition.     Given   my   proclivity   to   obsession,   I   quickly   owned   every   recording   I   could   of   Gaburo's   music   and   thanks   to   Larry   Polansky's   generosity  received  much  of  the  Lingua  Press  writings  and  scores.     Ultimately,  when  Zach  Layton  asked  me   to  put  the  evening  together  I  was  excited  at  the  prospect  of  putting  my  research,  such  as  it  was,  to  some  sort   of  use.     The  evening  included  a  series  of  questions  about  the  relationships  between  our  guests  and  Gaburo   and  how  their  time  together  had  affected  their  work.     The  answers  to  these  questions  came  in  the  form  of   personal  reminiscences  that  offered  less  of  a  portrait  of  Gaburo's  theoretical  thought  as  it  did  a  picture  of   the   man   and   how   his   thinking   shaped   what   he   did   and   how   he   did   it.     It   should   be   mentioned   that   this   discussion  also  featured  two  video  performances  of  Gaburo's  work,  one  by  Warren  Burt  made  specifically   for  the  IPR  event  and  one  of  Gaburo's  own  pieces,  which  had  not  been  screened  in  25  years.     The  evening   also   included   a   vocal   quartet   version   of   Gaburo's   mid-­‐50s   Ave   Maria,   headed   by   Megan   Schubert.   The   evening  ended  with  the  performance  of  a  new  piece  by  Chris  Mann.   Special   thanks   go   to   Chris,   Larry,   Warren,   and   David   for   being   participants,   Issue   Project   Room,   New   World   Records,   Pogus   Recordings,   and   Frog   Peak   Publishing   for   helping   make   the   evening   possible   in   their   own   special  way,  and  to  Compost  and  Height  for  putting  in  the  work  to  transcribe  a  very  long  evening  of  talk  to   make  available  on  their  website.   -­‐Nate  Wooley  November  2010  



Opening the  Argument:  The  Critical  Theory  of  Kenneth  Gaburo       Nate   Wooley:  The  whole  point  of  this  evening  is  to  use  a  composer’s  body  of  work  as  a  spring   board   to   have   a   conversation   about   how   other   composers   think   about   their   own   compositions   and  so,  while  these  questions  come  out  of  perceptions  I've  had  of  Kenneth  Gaburo's  work,  we're   going  to  use  them  as  a  starting  point  for  each  of  the  members  of  the  panel  to  talk  about  their  own   overriding   aesthetic   and   technical   concerns.   That   being   said,   the   first   question   is   purely   musicological  and  historical:       I   would   like   just   a   brief   history   of   how   each   of   you   came   to   know   Kenneth   Gaburo,   what   the   relationship  was  with  him  personally,  what  your  relationship  to  his  music  still  is,  and  how  he's   affected  how  you  think  as  an  artist.       Chris   Mann:  My  introduction  was  via  Maledetto.  I  listened  to  Maledetto  and  two  days  later  was   on   a   plane   from   Melbourne   to   San   Diego.   I   just   wanted   to   go   and   have   an   argument   with   Gaburo,   because   I   thought   that   he   was   wrong.   I   thought   it   was   very   interesting   but   he   was   wrong,   so   that’s  how  it  started.       David   Dunn:   I   guess   my   history   with   Kenneth   goes   back   to   when   I   was   aged   17   in   San   Diego   where  I  heard  a  live  performance  of  Maledetto  at  the  University  of  California.  I  was  interested  in   very   different   things   musically,   it   was   at   a   point   when   I   had   started   to   work   with   Harry   Partch   and   my   interests   were   along   those   lines,   but   I   was   also   at   the   same   time   interested   in   electro-­‐ acoustic   music.   Maledetto   really   tweaked   me   in   a   negative   way   that   I   didn't   understand   at   the   time  and  it  took  me  a  very  long  time  to  come  to  it,  to  understand  what  was  going  on.  As  a  young   student…I   was   at   that   point   enrolling   in   college…   I   didn't   really   have   any   interest   in   doing   any   traditional   music   training   at   an   academic   level   but   one   thing   led   to   another,   and   through   a   sequence  of  events  I  ended  up  meeting  Kenneth,  who  tried  to  arrange  for  me  to  enroll  very  late  in   the   semester   at   the   University   of   California   in   San   Diego   as   a   music   student,   an   undergraduate   student,  and  I  think  I  lasted  three  days.  He  went  way  out  of  his  way  to  do  this  and  pulled  all  sorts   of  strings  and  he  was  really  pissed,  and  that's  how  our  relationship  started.       A   few   years   later   we   actually   became   friends   and   I   would   come   and   visit   him   in   La   Jolla   up   in   the   hills   and   we   would   just   hang   out   and   talk.     Eventually   that   led   to   my   wanting   to   actually   study   with  him  but  it  was  not  within  an  academic  context,  it  was  as  a  private  student.  It  was  at  a  time   when  he  had  started  Lingua  Press  and  he  was  directing  the  production  of   The  Bewitched.  I  was  in   the   Partch   ensemble   at   that   time,   so   during   the   first   year   that   I   studied   with   him….   between   rehearsals,  assisting  him  with  Lingua  Press  and  studying  with  him,  we  were  together  probably  30   to  40  hours  per  week.       To   give   you   an   idea   of   the   intensity   of   that,   when   I   studied   with   him   privately   he   had   an   apartment  in  downtown  San  Diego  that  he  was  renting  that  was  also  an  industrial  space  with  all   the   materials   for   Lingua   Press.   He   had   a   small   space,   slightly   larger   than   a   closet.   That   was   the   teaching   room,   and   all   the   walls   were   painted   black.   There   was   a   card   table   and   an   unshaded   light  bulb,  so  it  was  very  much  like  Gestapo  interrogation  technique,  and  that's  where  the  lessons   would   occur.   I   don't   think   we   had   a   lesson   within   two   years   that   was   less   than   two   and   a   half   hours,   and   usually   they   were   somewhere   between   five   and   six   hours   long,   with   him   chain-­‐ smoking  unfiltered  Pall  Malls  so  that,  by  the  end  of  the  lesson,  I  often  wouldn't  be  able  to  see  his   face.  I  could  just  hear  his  voice  talking  at  me  incessantly  during  that  time.    


Warren Burt:  Actually  it's  funny  how  Chris  and  David  had  their  first  contact  with  Maledetto.  The   first  time  I  saw  his  work  was  at  SUNY  Albany  where  I  was  an  undergraduate  in  1971.  He  brought   the  New  Music  Choral  Ensemble  III  through  and  did  a  programme  which  was  Lingua  I:  Poems  and   Other  Theatres   and   then   Maledetto.   At   the   time,   I   was   struggling   with   an   electro-­‐acoustic   piece   where   I   was   recording   18   of   my   friends   reading   pornography   and   I   was   chopping   that   up   with   various  electronic  processes.  When  I  saw  Maledetto  I  realized  that  here  was  a  kindred  spirit.  Here   is   the   guy   I   had   to   study   with,   and   I   went   to   University   of   California   in   San   Diego   (UCSD),   and   UCSD   had   an   office   which   Kenneth   had   painted   totally   black.   I   had   lessons   with   him   for   about   three  and  a  half  years  which  consisted  of,  as  David  says,  him  continually  chain-­‐smoking.       After  I  left  UCSD  in  1975  [for  Australia],  I  would  come  back  to  the  US  and  visit  him  wherever  he   was,  so   I   kept   contact  with  him  and  worked   on  various  projects   with   him,   including  a  postcard   piece  in  1980  and  a  correspondence  that  we  kept  up  until  just  before  he  died.       Larry   Polansky:    I  was  Kenneth’s  colleague  at  Mills  College  in  Oakland,  California.  He  taught  at   Mills  for  about  six  months  or  a  year  while  I  was  there  in  the  mid-­‐1980's.  In  fact,  I  think  I  met  both   Chris   and   David   through   Kenneth.   I   think   the   interesting   thing   here   tonight   is   that   we   are   a   generation  of  composers  who  in  some  way  are  influenced  differently  by  composers  of  Kenneth's   generation.  The   interconnections   are   interesting   in   as   much   as   all   four   of   us   have   collaborated   in   every  conceivable  way  you  can  imagine  both  in  terms  of  life,  music,  and  publishing,  and  yet  there   is  not  one  of  us  whose  work  resembles  the  others’  in  the  slightest  way.     I   think   the   same   may   be   said   for   my   relationship   to   Kenneth.   At   a   young   age   I   was   much   influenced  by  beautiful  pieces  like  [Gaburo’s  tape  pieces]  Lemon  Drops  and  For  Harry,  and  when  I   first  heard  Maledetto  I  was  blown  away.  I  won’t  be  as  eloquent  as  Chris  is  about  my  reaction  to  it,   but  it  was  also  somewhat  ambivalent.  My  relationship  to  Kenneth's  music  continued  to  be  very   powerfully   so.   Ambivalent   in   a   way   that   bespeaks   a   tremendous   respect   for   the   amount   of   thought   and   degree   of   sincerity,   the   integrity   and   personal   commitment   that   goes   into   a   work   that   I   don't   always,   or   even   often,   agree   with   or   would   do   myself.   I   continue   to   think  Maledetto   is   maybe  the  best  piece  of  music  I've  ever  heard  that,  in  an  odd  way,  I  don't  really  like,  but  I  have  an   enormous  fascination  with  and  respect  for  it.     But  to  put  this  ambivalence  in  context,  I  want  to  strongly  point  out  in  relation  to  what  I’ve  said,   that   Kenneth   was   a   very   close   friend   and   a   brilliant   colleague.   I   did   lots   of   things   over   the   course   of  my  life  with  him,  and  had  a  very  great  affection  and  admiration  for  him.  It’s  not  well  known,   but  he  was  one  of  the  principle  editors  for  the  book  I  wrote  on  James  Tenney,  and  he  did  that  just   to  be  nice  to  me  when  I  was  a  young  writer.  I  think  it’s  fair  to  say  that  without  Lingua  there  would   be  no  Frog  Peak  [Press],  because  in  Kenneth  I  had  the  model  of  a  composer  with  the  cajones  to  do   something   like   that,   to   screw   up   one’s   life   badly   enough,   and   in   his   vision   to   continue   that   tradition  of  composers  seeing  publishing  not  as  clearly  delineated  from  their  work  but  rather  as   an  extension  of  their  art,  of  their  ethics,  of  their   aesthetics,  of  their  composition.  Publishing  and   availability   are   a   part   of   that   and   also   a   way   of   being   in   the   world.   I   think   the   thing   I   saw   most   in   Kenneth  was  that  he  believed  very  sincerely  in  taking  seriously  and  creatively  his  way  of  being  in   the  world.     I   also   want   to   say   that   my   generation   is   now   the   older   generation.   There   needs   to   be   a   next   generation  of  people  saying,  "What's  wrong  with  Frog  Peak?"  There's  plenty  wrong  with  it,  just  as   I  thought  that  there  were  things  about  Lingua  that  I  wanted  to  do  very  differently.  I  think  that's  a   very   important   generational   continuity   that   everybody   on   this   panel   shares.   David   and   Chris   have   also   been   very   important   in   the   erasing   of   distinction   between   publishing   and   creation,   and   trying  to  make  a  fool  of  that  distinction,  and  that's  an  important  connection  for  me.     NW:   Along   the   lines   of   pushing   something   or   erasing   distinctions,   one   of   the   things   that   has   been  


most interesting   for   me   as   I’ve   gone   through   the   four   recordings   of   Gaburo’s   work   I   could   get   my   hands   on   before   this   evening   and   through   looking   at   some   of   the   scores   and   some   of   the   writings   was  this  idea  of  pushing  a  singular  idea  to  the  absolute  limits,  to  its  boundaries…  or  erasing  the   boundaries   but   always   in   a   way   that   the   idea   seems   to   keep   its   identity.   The   thing   that   I   get   it   most   from   is   the   formal   elements.   The   way   Gaburo   structures   a   piece   always   feels   as   if   he’s   pushing  a  specific  structure  out,  but  you  always  have  a  premonition  that  you  know  what’s  at  the   end   of   the   piece,   and   some   of   the   pieces   I've   heard   of   each   of   yours   has   a   similar   attention   to   structure   and   form,   without   those   elements   being   static.     I   wondered   if   you   could   talk   about   how   you   deal   with   structuring   your   musical   materials,   and   if   Gaburo's   work   had   an   effect   on   you   in   that  way  or  if  it's  something  that  was  coming  out  of  a  different  part  of  your  musical  learning.       DD:   One   of   the   things   that   Kenneth   was   deeply   interested   in   was   to   reject   the   notion   of   style,   the   idea   that   composers   will   often   strive   to   a   kind   of   identifiable   quality   that   is   audible   in   terms   of   this  notion  of  style.  Kenneth's  idea  was  that  this  was  superfluous  in  the  sense  that  each  of  us  is  so   deeply  organized  as  individuals,  and  as  organisms  that,  to  some  extent,  none  of  that  needs  to  be   overt  or  intentional;  anything  that  we  touch  as  individuals  will  carry  a  quality  of  the  uniqueness   of  who  we  are.       Kenneth   was   very   interested   in   the   notion   of   self-­‐expression   but   in   a   corporeal   sense,   in   the   sense  of  something  that  is  conveyed  through  the  presence  of  the  body  and  the  individual.  For  me,   these   notions   of   structure   and   the   idea   that   each   composition   should   itself   address   some   subject,   some  aspect  of  exploration  in  a  process,  is  one  of  the  most  essential  aspects  of  Kenneth's  work,   along  with  the  idea  of  intrinsicness,  and  that  compositional  decisions  have  a  logic  based  upon  the   observation  of  each  prior  step  that’s  made,  were  very  influential  on  me.       One   of   the   things   he   used   as   a   major   technique   in   teaching   composition   was   what   he   called   a   Scatter,  and  the  idea  of  a  Scatter  actually  comes  out  of  both  his  embrace  and  rejection  of  1950s   serialism.   He  was  interested  in  the  idea  of  a  set  of  pitches  having  the  possibility  of  an  arbitrary   quality,   so   instead   of   using   a   tone   row   he   would   actually   write   out   as   fast   as   he   could   a   set   of   pitches   almost   with   the   intent   of   subverting   a   sense   of   relationship;   doing   this   almost   like   automatic  writing.  Then  he  would  observe  the  intrinsic  properties  of  the  pitches  and,  from  that,   all  the  compositional  decisions  would  ensue.  You  get  the  various  stages  of  transformation  out  of   that.  There's  a  large  body  of  his  work  from  the  late  1950s  into  the  1960s  that  is  concerned  with   this   notion   that   precedes   his   obsession   with   language.   He   wrote   a   lot   of   instrumental   music,   a   string   quartet,   a   series   called   Ideas  and   Transformations  for   bowed   string   duets,   and   Line  Studies.   These   are   some   of   the   pieces   that   are   based   upon   this   technique   of   looking   at   these   intrinsic   qualities   and   a   consecutive   logic   ensues   from   that.   Even   as   he   went   into   the   language   work   he   still   maintained   this   idea   that   we   address   a   subject   in   the   world   always   as   if   it   were,   in   some   sense,  a  sort  of  found  object  and  then  we  observe  the  intrinsic  relationship  that  we  have  with  that   and   let   compositional   decisions   manifest   out   of   that   logic.   So   this   idea   for   me   has   had   a   very   strong   influence;   trying   to   make   a   piece   that   somehow   doesn't   repeat   itself,   that   addresses   something  in  a  unique  way  and  isn't  repetitive  or  trying  to  create  a  coherency  out  of  this  aspect  of   style,  but  rather  out  of  the  properties  of  the  composition  itself.  The  agenda  for  him  was  always  to   proceed  towards  definition  rather  than  from  definition.     WB:   I   would   like   to   second   a   lot   of   what   David   said.     For   example,   I   remember   a   composition   lesson  where  I  showed  Kenneth  a  piece  of  mine  and  said,  “Well  it’s  based  on  the  Fibonacci  series,   but  you  can’t  really  hear  that”,  and  he  immediately  replied,  "What  do  you  mean?  Does  it  sound   like  Mozart?"  and,  well  of  course  not,  and  he  said,  “Well  then  it  sounds  like  the  material  you  put   into  it”,  and  that  was  a  very  profound  lesson  for  me.  The  intrinsic  character  of  materials  you’re   using  would,  no  matter  what  you  did,  flow  right  out  into  the  surface  of  the  piece  and  inform  what  


it sounded  like.       Also,   I   remember   in   his   compositional   linguistics   seminars   he   did   a   exercise   where   he   had   us   write  a  poem  consciously  with  lots  and  lots  of  structure  in  it  and  then  also  bring  in  a  poem  we   wrote   intuitively   and   then   he   would,   in   a   very   smart   ass   way,   show   us   that   there   was   more   structure   in   the   intuitive   poem   than   in   the   poem   we   had   carefully   structured.   He   said   that   structure  is  everywhere  and  you  don't  need  to  be  afraid  of  it.       I  also  remember  one  time  mentioning  the  word  common  practice  in  terms  of  nineteenth  century   music   with   him.   He   didn't   actually   acknowledge   the   idea   of   common   practice.   He   said   in   the   thirty-­‐two   Beethoven   piano   sonatas   there   were   thirty-­‐two   different   approaches   to   tonality.   I’ve   never  analysed  the  Beethoven  sonatas  to  look  for  that  but  it  makes  a  lot  of  sense  to  me  that  his   notion  of  uniqueness  would  extend  even  to  contradicting  musicological  commonplaces.       One  thing  he  did  with  processes  for  himself,  the  sensory  deprivation  processes  and  so  on,  was  his   wanting   to   subvert   his   own   “lick”   As   someone   who   came   out   of   a   jazz   piano   tradition,   that   whole   idea  of  developing  “licks”  was  a  very  powerful  one  for  him  and  so  he  actually  wanted  to  develop   ways   to   get   beyond   that.   So   all   those   sorts   of   things   really   went   into   my   own   music   and   influenced  the  way  I  do  it.     NW:   Can   you   explain   a   little   bit   of   the   sensory   deprivation   techniques.   I’ve   read   a   little   bit   of   it   in   reference  to  the  idea  that  David  brought  up  of  Gaburo’s  Scatters,  but  perhaps  you  can  go  into  a   little  more  detail  about  what  some  of  those  techniques  were  and  what  the  musical  outcome  was.       WB:   Yes,   I’ll   give   you   two,   one   was   Antiphony  IX,   his   big   orchestra   piece.   I   don't   know   how   the   electronic   part   was   made   but   the   instrumental   part   was   made   by   him   sitting   at   his   drawing   table   with   very   large   sheets   of   paper.   The   lights   were   out   and   it   was   total   blackness   and   after   hours   and  hours  of  sitting  there  he’d  take  a  pen  and  just  begin  with  "prick"  “prick"  "prick"  "prick"  …  and   he  just  kept  doing  this  maniacally  until  he  felt  he'd  actually  covered  the  paper  totally  with  dots.   He   then   turned   on   the   lights   and   looked   at   the   twelve   pages   and   put   them   up   on   his   wall.   Gradually,   over   a   year’s   time,   he   looked   at   them   and   saw   that   certain   of   the   dots   were   sort   of   coagulating  like  the  constellations  were  in  the  sky  and  he  would  surround  those  with  a  particular   colour  pencil.    At  the  end  of  the  year  he  took  them  down  and  did  a  little  more  work  with  the  idea,   drawing  graphs  with  pitch  down  one  side  with  the  rhythm  along  the  bottom,  but  the  basic  idea   was  that  the  circled  sets  of  dots  became  actual  gestures  for  the  orchestra  to  play.       Another  one  was  how  he  did  RE-­‐RUN,  his  electronic  piece,  which  is  an  accompaniment  for  Luke   Blankenburg’s   choreography,   where   he   sat   in   the   studio   with   a   Buchla   digital   synthesizer   that   was   actually   damaged   and   he   sat   in   the   studio   with   this   machine   and   gazed   at   it   for   hours   and   hours   and   hours.     Only   after   he   was   right   on   the   point   of   exhaustion   did   he   begin   in   recording   some  sound  by  just  doing  a  particular  gesture  which  was  moving  his  finger  in-­‐out-­‐in-­‐out  with  the   keyboard.    Apparently  he  recorded  it  without  listening  to  the  output  and  rewound  and  made  four   tracks  working  without  listening  to  the  output  and  then  he  went  home  and  went  to  sleep  and  a   day  or  two  later  he  came  back  to  the  studio  and  listened  to  it  and  was  amazed  at  how  well  the   four  tracks  related  to  each  other.  That  tape,  pretty  much  unaltered  became  the  piece  RE-­‐RUN.         CM:  I'd  been  in  London  a  couple  of  years  earlier  working  with   Roy  Hart   which  is  how  I  got  into   extended  vocal  stuff,  and  after  I’d  been  with  Kenneth  for  a  couple  of  days  he  sent  me  off  to  go  and   see   [Herbert]   Brün.   Kenneth   for   me   was   always   this   half   way   house   between   Roy   Hart   and   Herbert  Brün.     My  problem  with  Kenneth  was  the  heroism  of  the  physical  gesture  and  the  domestication  of  the  


physical gesture  and  the  individual  point  of  view.  Where  I  think  about  Cage  as  being  loyal  not  to   the   sound   but   particularly,   pedantically,   loyal   to   the   score,   I   think   Kenneth   is   particularly,   pedantically  loyal  to  his  body  and  to  where  he  is,  which  I  find  incredibly  useful  as  a  place  to  begin   to   make   an   intervention   but   then   my   question   then   comes   with   Brün,   which,   to   complete   what   my  definition  of  compositional  linguistics  is:     language  is  the  mechanisms  whereby  you  understand  what  I’m  thinking  better  than  i  do….     …(where  "I"  is  defined  by  those  changes  for  which  "I"  is  required)     That's   my   disagreement   with   Kenneth.   This   is   what   I   get   from   Brün,   for   me   that   was   a   useful   leverage.  Kenneth  and  Herbert  are  both  really  interested  in  the  advent  of  the  composer  and  I’m   more  interested  in  a  community  of  listeners  and  what  the  politics  of  listening  might  be.       Kenneth  was  great  to  argue  with,   incredibly   useful   and  precise  in   a   whole   series  of   very   messy   ways  and  that  is  what  I  miss.  There's  this  beautiful  loyalty  in  conversation  and  there's  loyalty  to   the   conversation.   He   didn't   need   to   be   loyal   to   his   point   of   view,   he   could   be   loyal   to   the   conversation   which   I   find   incredibly   effective.   But   the   consistency,   which   is   the   one   I   have   the   problem  with  is,  as  I  understand  it,  a  slightly  heroic  position  to  take.  Romantic.  He's  too  romantic,   too  catholic.  The  Catholics  make  really  good  enemies.     LP:   Chris   always   says   things   better   than   I   think   I   can   say   them   myself   but   I   like   that   notion   of   loyalty  to  the  conversation.  Throughout  tonight’s  conversation  I’m  remembering  that    five  years   ago  Chris  and  I  were  on  a    similar  kind  of  event    for  Herbert  Brün,  not  far  from  here  somewhere   in  Brooklyn.    We  were  sitting  on  a  panel  and  I  found  myself  thinking  very  heavily  about  the  word   hagiography   and   how   the   attempt   to   remember   someone   and   tell   anecdotes   about   them   and   explaining  how  and  why  they  were  so  wonderful  can  so  quickly  turn  into  a  kind  of  calcification   and  be  completely  antithetical  to  what  that  person  was  doing.       I  like  to  think  that  there  is  something  about  some  of  the  composers  who  we've  mentioned  here   tonight,   people   like   Sal   Martirano   and   James   Tenney,   people   who   were   committed,   perhaps   because   they   were   out   of   the   mainstream   of   New   York   music   politics.   Their   version   of   success   was   very   different   than   other   people’s,   and   so   they   were   loyal   to   the   conversation.     They   were   completely   open   to   almost   every   idea   you   could   think   of   without   sacrificing   the   consistency   of   their  own  ideas.  They  were  dogmatic  in  their  pursuit  of  the  interest  of  their  own  music  without   being   dogmatic   that   others   pursue   it,   and   in   a   way   it’s   a   funny   thing   to   be   speaking   here   about   what   Kenneth   did.   For   example,   I’ll   add   an   element   to   the   sensory   deprivation   thing   that   Warren   mentioned;  getting  a  huge  bottle  of  cheap  red  wine  getting  poundingly  drunk  and  then  doing  that   same   pen   process   in   the   dark.   That’s   all   very   fun,   and   interesting,   and   in   the   context   of   the   life   that  Kenneth  had  it’s  a  very  interesting  thing  to  do  but  it’s  not  something  that  you  all  want  to  go   and   do   as   a   school   of   music   or   as   a   continuing   of   a   tradition.   It   comes   out   of   a   much   larger   openness,  and  maybe   an  openness  that  is  bespoken  by  being  in  places  like  Illinois  and  San  Diego   rather   than   having   to   fight   for   a   historical   or   stylistic   longevity   which   he   never   did   or   could   have   done  in  any  way.    In  fact  he  did  the  opposite,  he  founded  a  press  whose  express  purpose  was  to   argue   with   the   members   of   that   press.   He   would   hassle   Lingua   composers   mercilessly   about   things   he   had   no   business   hassling   composers   with   and,   of   course,   they   loved   it   because   what   do   we   all   want?     We   all   want   someone   to   listen   to   us   and  take   us   seriously,   to   argue   with   us,   to   care   enough  to  say  that  shouldn't  be  a  C  sharp  that  should  be  a  C  natural,  for  no  reason  other  than  to   engage   the   conversation.   I   think   that’s   maybe   the   best   thing   I   can   say   about   the   relation   with   Kenneth   to   my   work   and   as   a   colleague.   That’s   what   he   did   with   his   students;   he   argued   with   them  purely  for  the  sake  of  arguing,  it  didn't  matter  what  he  was  arguing  about,  it  didn't  matter   whether  he  liked  or  in  fact  didn't  like  what  they  did.  I  don't  think  that  was  even  a  consideration.  


He wanted  to  get  them  talking  about  it.     CM:  He  wasn't  interested  in  being  right     LP:    He  didn't  know  what  he  was  talking  about  half  the  time,  he  didn't  care.     CM:  and  what’s  really  important,  he  didn't  need  to  be  right,     LP:   What   I   think   he   sensed   was   that   there   was   a   real   critical   lacuna   in   the   seriousness   about   which   people   talk   about   work,   art   and   music.     Much   of   it   had   a   kind   of   agenda   that   he   didn’t   care   about,  and  this  is  where  I  think  he  is  dealing  with  ethics.    He  didn't  care  about  the  things  that  you   are  supposed  to  care  about  as  a  composer,  he  didn't  care  about  success,  well  he  did…he  bitched   about  this  stuff  all  the  time…  but  really  what  he  wanted  to  do  was  take  music  as  seriously  as  a   human  can  take  it  in  whatever  way  you  could  do  that.  And  a  piece  like  C  is…    is  an  inexplicable   exercise  in  trying  to  figure  out  what  kind  of  probing  you  could  do  to  the  compositional  process   that  would  have  no  verifiable  or  recognisable  results.  He  was  very  interested  in  things  like  that,   and  interested  that  we  all  take  this  seriously.       I   think   that   while   we   have   to   be   careful   of   a   certain   kind   of   a   hagiography   with   Kenneth,   the   kind   of   hagiography   we   should   indulge   in   is   the   one   that   propagates   the   next   generation   by   keeping   the   argument   open.     He   was   a   fraught   guy,   like   we're   all   fraught,   with   a   crazy   background   that   seeps   into   all   his   pieces   like   all   of   our   crazy   backgrounds.   But   he   was   the   real   deal,   he   wasn't   playing  any  games  other  than  the  game  of  continuing  the  world  of  ideas.       Audience:   There   was   a   lot   of   mention   of   the   work  Maledetto.   Could   someone   tell   us   a   little   more   about  this  work  and  why  it  made  such  an  impression  on  all  of  you?       WB:  One  of  the  things  for  me  about  Maledetto  is  its  combination  of  structuring  and  energy.  There   was   a   review   of   it   where   the   critic   said   sophomoric  sexual   innuendo   ruined   the   piece   and   I   think   there   is   no   sophomoric  sexual   innuendo   in   the   piece…I   think   it’s   just   plain   dirty!   I   think   Kenneth   was   actually   celebrating   the   joy   of   being   just   plain   dirty   and   sniggering   at   it.     It   was   like,   “Right…I’m  going  to  do  a  snigger  piece  that’s  going  to  be  the  ultimate  structurally  solid  snigger”,   and  so  the  overarching  form  of  the  piece  is  about  screws  and  screwing.  That’s  the  whole  pun  of   the  sophomoric   sexual  innuendo,  if  you  will,  but  the  whole  piece  is  structured  so  that  the  main   forming   of   the   first   part   of   the   piece   is   sssssssss   and   then   he   did   a   section   based   on   the   hard   c   sound   (ka).   Then   there's   a   section   with   rrrrrrrrr   and   then   there   is   finally   a   section   of   eeewwwww   so   over   the   35   minutes   of   the   piece   you   have   a   gigantic   articulation   of   sssscrrrreeeeewwwww   where  each  of  the  individual  little  sections  comes  out  of  some  other  bit  of  material.  It  is  incredibly   rich  and  when  performed  by  people  with  energy  it's  just  stunning  the  way  that  comes  across.       About  two  thirds  of  the  way  through  Maledetto  is  the  first  time  everyone  is  singing  in  the  piece   and   the   choir   busts   into   some   "uuuuuuuu".   Seven   voices   suddenly   hitting   that,   microtonally   detuning  with  each  other,  gradually  spiraling  down  in  a  screw  like  fashion  until  they're  very  low   at  the  end.  For  me  that  was  just  electrifying,  the  hair  went  up  on  the  back  of  my  neck.    To  give  you   some   context,   this   piece   was   made   during   a   time   when   composers   were   trying   everything   they   could   to   subvert   that   golden   mean   structural   peak   idea   with   serialism,   chance   operations,   etc.,   so   this  was  his  sort  of  take  on  the  whole  non-­‐directional  thing,  saying  “OK,  how  directional  can  we   make  it?”.       The  amount  of  material  that  went  into  the  texts  used  in  Maledetto,  and  one  should  mention  his   wife   at   the   time   Virginia   Hommel   Gaburo,   who   also   did   a   lot   of   research   for   the   piece,   is  


staggering. They   just   mined   everything   they   could   from   the   historical   record   about   the   history   of   the  screw…like  screws  at  one  time  were  used  for  pressing  perfume  so  that  led  to  a  whole  aside  on   the  history  of  perfume  and  it  just  went  on  and  on  like  that  with  many  little  details.       He  was  also,  at  this  point,  interested  in  Schenkerian  analysis,  which  is  something  he  abandoned   later.  I  was  lucky  enough  to  study  with  him  just  before  he  abandoned  the  idea  and   Maledetto  is,  if   nothing   else,   a   PhD   dissertation   in   how   you   can   use   Schenkerian   analytical   techniques   to   structure   a   piece   of   verbal   theatre.   That   sort   of   structuring   is   absolutely   used   in   the   making   of   Maledetto.       CM:  Could  i  just  remind  the  non-­‐engineers  in  the  audience  that  the  angle  of  the  thread  on  a  screw   is  called,  of  course,  the  pitch.     DD:   I’ll   just   add   that   the   title   page   of   the   score   actually   says   Maledetto:   For   Seven   Virtuoso   Speaking  Voices,  and  that's  an  important  feature.     Audience:   Can   any   of   you   speak   at   all   about   the   importance   of   the   west   coast   at   that   time   period   as  a  setting  for  this  work  or  as  an  inspiration  that  is  integral  to  what  we’re  talking  about  tonight?   What  community  was  Gaburo  a  part  of,  and  where  were  his  ideas  coming  from?  I’m  trying  to  get   a  sense  of  a  social  history.     LP:   He   wasn't   on   the   west   coast   for   that   long.   He   was   mostly   in   Illinois   and   later   in   Iowa.   I   do   think   that   the   period   in   Illinois   in   the   1960's   is   where   pretty   much   everything   has   its   germination.   Certainly   the   work   with   Norm   Marder   and   people   like   that   in   Illinois   which   spawned  the  New  Music  Choral  Ensemble  was  the  progenitor  of  the  groups  in  San  Diego,  and  I   think   that   the   interaction   between   [Lejaren]   Hiller   and   Herbert   [Brün]   and   Kenneth   and   Sal   Martirano,  and  people  like  Jim  Beauchamp,  who  made  the  harmonic  tone  generator,  made  Illinois   an  extremely  fertile  place  for  Kenneth.       DD:   I   think   one   of   the   really   interesting   things   about   Kenneth   is   that   you   can   see   three   really   major   periods   of   his   creative   work   and   all   three   of   those   periods   of   course   belong   to   major   shifts   in   his   political   views.   Just   as   his   compositions   embraced   different   materials,   different   ideas   outside  of  music  influenced  him  and  his  politics.       When   I   first   knew   him,   it   was   a   few   years   after   he   came   to   San   Diego,   he   was   not   quite   an   archconservative   but   he   was   very   mid-­‐western   in   his   political   views.   It   wasn't   a   simplistic   conservative   Republican   kind   of   view…   it   was   more   of   a   Thoreau-­‐style   Libertarianism   that   he   was  embracing.  The  Sixties  definitely  changed  him  and  the  political  climate  of  the  west  coast  very   much  changed  him.    I  think  that  did  have  some  influence  upon  Maledetto.  Some  of  it  was  a  direct   response   to   the   free   speech   movement   at   Berkeley,   the   presence   of   Angela   Davis,   [Herbert]   Marcuse  and  the  radical  politics,  the  anti-­‐war  movement.  There  were  things  he  had  antagonistic   relationships  to.  It  wasn't  so  much  that  he  embraced  those  things.    He  argued  with  them  in  a  way   that  it  transformed  his  own  political  views.    Toward  the  end  of  his  life,  before  he  left  San  Diego   and   moved   to   Iowa,   he   went   through   some   really   serious   changes   which   was   a   shift   from   a   definite   philosophical   obsession   with   the   structuralism   of   the   Twentieth   Century   to   a   really   interesting   embrace   of   archaic   philosophical   ideas   and   post-­‐modern   philosophical   ideas   and   other  things  that  he  was  also  arguing  with  and  trying  to  make  sense  of.       When   he   moved   to   Iowa   and   started   to   become   sick…he   had   lung   cancer,   not   surprisingly…he   kept   it   secret   for   a   long   time.   At   the   end   of   his   life   we   had   regular   phone   conversations   and   he   never   let   on   that   any   of   this   was   happening   until   I   began   to   sense   that   something   was   really  


wrong, at  which  point  I  hopped  on  the  train  to  Iowa  to  find  out.  He  had  alienated  himself  from  the   local  community,  and  had  retired  from  the  university.  Part  of  this  was  very  antagonistic.  Kenneth   always   said   he   had   a   very   antagonistic   relationship   with   the   world.   But   the   shift   that   became   really   interesting   in   his   life   was   his   viewpoint,   his   relationships   towards   women,   his   own   view   of   self   and   self-­‐identity.   He   always   had   a   kind   of   physical   antagonism   with   this   intent   to   argue.   It   was  not  so  much  about  being  right,  as  it  was  a  kind  of  violence,  a  turbulence  that  he  had  in  his   personality   and   in   his   being.   He   began   to   really   question   that   and   think   about   himself   as   a   source   of   violence   in   the   world,   and   that   caused   a   shift   in   his   thinking.     The   texts   he   began   to   write   became  extremely  political  and  concerned  with  ecological  issues  and  nuclear  concerns.       It  really  shifted  a  lot,  even  in  terms  of  his  personality.  I  visited  him  in  the  last  few  years  several   times   and,   instead   of   being   the   kind   of   machismo   Kenneth   that   I   knew,   around   the   house   he   started  wearing  scarves  wrapped  around  his  head.  It  was  like  he  was  experimenting  with  some   kind  of  more  neutral  gender  sense  of  things  that  was  very  bizarre  for  someone  who  had  known   him  for  so  many  years  and  identified  him  as  this  kind  of  New  Jersey  kid  of  Sicilian  parents,  first   generation  Italian  American.  It  was  a  major  shift  and  the  work  shifted  along  with  that.  So  he  did   reflect   these   things,   he   did   reflect   aspects   of   his   changing   environment.   That’s   the   long   answer   to   the  notion  of  the  west  coast  but  I  think  it  was  to  some  extent  germane.  Larry  is,  to  some  extent,   right   that   the   intellectual   seeds   to   most   of   his   work   were   focused   around   his   interest   in   linguistics,   which   was   very   much   part   of   his   being   in   Illinois.   San   Diego   was   really   important   too,   for   the   same   reasons   that   have   been   said.   It   was   this   extraordinary,   strong   set   of   personalities,   everybody   there   was   a   tremendous   creative   force   in   their   own   right   and   it   was   a   hot   bed,   but   Illinois  was  critical.       LP:  Also,  in  San  Diego  at  the  time  Kenneth  was  there,  there  was  this  kind  of  critical  mass  of  super   virtuosic  performers  like  Ed  Harkins  and  Phil  Larson  and  that  enabled  Kenneth  to  do  some  things   that  he  may  not  have  been  able  to  do  in  Illinois.     CM:  Whereas  Illinois  was  anti  virtuosic,     LP:   Yes.   In   the   eighties   I   saw   a   few   pieces   that   surprised   me   in   the   way   that   you   talked   of   that   were   intensely   personal,   almost   like   memoirs   that   interrogated   the   basic   fabric   of   his   sexuality   and  his  gender;  very  disturbing  but  very  interesting  pieces.         I   am   ruminating   on   the   fact   that   there   are   four   middle   aged   men   sitting   up   here,   and   also   I   remember  at  Mills  that  most  of  the  graduate  students  that  clustered  around  Kenneth  were  men,   that   there   was   a   kind   of   predilection   for   the   mode   of   argument,   an   intensity   and   a   vitality   that   encouraged  men,  but  I  know  that  there  were  also  some  women  composers  of  our  generation  who   were  close  to  Kenneth  but  I  do  wonder  about  that  extreme  and  maybe  David  knows  more  about  it   than  I  do,  about  that  tendency…     DD:  I  don't  know  if  I  want  to  go  into  it.  He  had  a  problematic  relationship  with  women.    That  was   very  much  a  part  of  his  generation,  and  you  could  see  it  also  in  his  colleagues  in  Illinois  and  in  San   Diego.  The  first  marriage  he  had,  which  I  don't  really  want  to  go  into  because  I  don't  know  that   much   of   the   details,   was   very   difficult   and   ended   in   a   divorce   not   only   from   his   first   wife   but   also   from   the   Catholic   Church.   An   important   feature   of   his   work   was   his   deep   concern   with   Catholicism  that  actually  lasted  his  entire  life  and  was,  again,  a  kind  of  antagonistic  relationship.       CM:   But   this   is   the   issue   of   politics.   When   he   did   Testimony,   which   I   always   consider   to   be   incredibly   Catholic,   my   argument   with   him   was   that   he   was   obviously   an   unreconstituted   Catholic  because  it  was  Catholic  through  and  through.      


Testimony is   a   video   piece   where   someone   off   camera   asks   someone,   “In   the   event   of   a   nuclear   war   we   know   for   a   fact   that   (whatever,   something   like)   68%   of   the   population   have   been   declared  expendable  and  so  how  do  you  feel  about  having  been  declared  expendable  or  excess  to   the  requirements  of  the  society  to  which  you  thought  that  you  belonged?”,  and  it  has  this  really   strong   issue   of   confession,   and   its   superficially   political.   It’s   political   by   subject   matter   but   the   form   is   a   form   of   politics   which   I   have   real   trouble   with.     So   when   we   talk   about   the   political,   and   that  he  changes  or  develops  politically,    I  don't  know  that  I  observe  that.     LP:  or  in  Antiphony   VIII,  which  is  the  percussion  piece,  I  have  the  same  problem.  It  is  an  overtly   political   piece   whose   form   seems   to   be   counter   to   the   idea   of   cooperation,   argument   and   discussion   and   also   with   these   kinds   of   personal   pieces   that   he   did   which   were   confessional.   Crazy,   wonderful,   interesting   confessionals   but   still   it   was   a   guy   up   there   on   stage   worrying.   I   have   the   same   relationship   to   these   pieces   that   I   first   had   when   I   heard   Maledetto:   I   like   the   content  and  I  like  the  technique  performed,  but  I  question  it  quite  a  bit.     NW:  I'd  like  to  get  Warren  back  involved,  I'm  not  exactly  sure  what  the  question  has  transformed   into   now,   but   the   original   question   was   how   did   the   people   and   the   places   and   the   time,   the   experiences  around  Gaburo,  how  do  you  feel  it  affected  his  musical  output?     WB:  In  terms  of  people  that  he  met  I  think,  looking  back  at  the  work,  the  period  of  the  sixties  in   Illinois   was   absolutely   crucial   and   although   he   changed   when   he   went   to   California,   the   period   in   Illinois   was   the   basis   that   he   changed   from.   I   think   he   was   a   person   who,   despite   his   being   intensely   professional   and   individualistic,   continually   absorbed   abilities   and   aspects   of   personalities  of  the  people  that  were  around  him.       The   two   times   I   visited   Iowa   during   Kenneth's   last   years,   I   noticed   that   he   was   getting   a   lot   more   confrontational.  He  was  also  in  a  lot  of  physical  pain,  and  I  wonder  how  much  of  his  nastiness  in   that   period   actually   resulted   from   the   fact   that   he   was   always   in   pain.   Certainly   one   of   his   last   tape   pieces   Mouthpiece  #2   where   he's   describing   a   dysfunctional   family   in   a   restaurant   that   he   went   to   frequently   is   informed   so   much   by   that   idea   of   emotional   and   physical   pain.   In   Kenneth's   very  last  days  he  said  to  Philip  Blackburn  he  always  wanted  to  do  a  piece  that  involved  pain  and   he  never  really  had  the  guts  to  do  it,  but  now  that  he  knew  that  he  was  dying  all  he  had  to  do  was   stop   the   morphine   and   he   could   experience   the   most   incredibly   awful   pain   and   could   Philip   please   record   him   when   he   had   that   pain   and   then   do   something   with   the   recording.   So,   this   was   the   ultimate   sort   of   example   of   a   body   as   a   generator   of   material,   material   he   knew   he   would   never   be   able   to   use.   I   don't   know   if   that   answers   the   question   but   those   are   just   things   that   I   think  are  involved  with  his  work  in  relation  to  a  sense  of  his  place  and  time.       Audience:  I'm  trying  to  historically  locate  Gaburo's  work  a  little  more  closely  in  terms  of  some   conceptual   art   that   was   going   on   throughout   the   Fifties,   Sixties   and   Seventies   and   thinking   about   the  materiality  of  the  body.  I  wonder  if  there  is  any  direct  correspondence  between  Gaburo  and   other  artists  or  if  it  was  just  the  spirit  of  the  times?     CM:  Regarding  influences,  I  think  one  of  [Gaburo’s]  design  flaws  was  that  he  was  born  and  played   opposite  Luciano  Berio.  I  think  Berio  was  really  important  for  him  and  Berio  was  successful  in  a   way  in  that  Kenneth  was  not  and  they  mapped  quite  similar  territories.  And  the  other  reference   which  I  would  have  said  which  is  also  not  American,  is  Beckett.     DD:   Yes,   Beckett   was   a   direct   influence   on   him.   In   fact,   Kenneth   did   produce   and   direct   a   version   of   one   of   Beckett’s   plays.     I   would   say   that   Kenneth   was   actually   much   more   influenced   by   experimental   theatre   of   his   period   than   he   was   by   conceptual   work   or   what   came   to   be  


performance art   related   work.   The   first   assignment   I   had   studying   with   him   was   to   read   three   books,   one   of   which   was   Benjamin   Whorf's   Language,   Thought,   and   Reality,   Levi   Strauss'   The   Savage   Mind   and   [Jerzy]   Grotowski’s   Towards   a   Poor   Theatre.   Those   kinds   of   ideas   that   were   going   on   in   Grotowski   and  the   Living  Theatre,   activities   that   have   largely   been   eclipsed   and   have,   as  a  tradition,  been  carried  on  more  by  the  conceptual  performance  related  community,  were  a   big  influence  on  Kenneth.       The  other  thing  that  he  was  influenced  by  was  the  text  sound  tradition  that  emanates  from  [Kurt]   Schwitters.  He  even  collaborated  with  Henri  Chopin  on  a  piece  so  those  kinds  of  influences  were   very   much   part   of   what   he   paid   attention   to,   not   so   much   the   visual   art   related   world   as   this   aspect  of  theatre.       LP:   Another   composer   that   keeps   coming   to   my   mind   is   Sal   Martirano,   who   exists   in   a   similar   kind  of  world  right  now  but  I  bet  nobody  in  this  room  knows  his  music  very  well.  A  piece  like   L’s.   G.A.   is   such   an   important   piece   for   whatever   you   think   of   it.   It   had   to   have   had   an   impact   on   Kenneth.   They   were   good   friends,   they   were   both   Italian   jazz   pianists   who   came   from   very   traditional   music   backgrounds,   they   had   very   similar   personalities   and   they   went   in   very   different   but   equally   important   directions.   I   think   that's   just   another   part   of   being   in   Illinois   where   a   certain   kind   of   musical   theatre   was   going   on   and   it   was   very   interesting   stuff   with   Kenneth's  work.     WB:  I  remember  when  I  encountered  Kenneth's  work  I  also  encountered  David  [Dunn]’s  for  the   first  time.  David  showed  me  books  of  environmental  sculptures  like  Robert  Smithson  and  Michael   Heizer  and  that  really  took  my  mind  to  a  whole  other  area  of  interest.  It  was  at  this  period  that  I   also   noticed   that   Kenneth's   work   was,   if   you   wish,   getting   much   more   refined.   For   example,   compare   any   of   the   instrumental   pieces   with   their   incredible   counterpoint   with   the   mono-­‐ maniacal  monophony  of  Minim-­‐Tellig.  I  noticed  those  connections  between  the  conceptual  artist   and  performance  artist  and  what  Kenneth  was  doing,  but  I  think  those  ideas  were  in  the  air  and   we   all   were   aware   of   them.   However,   I   do   think   what   people   are   saying   is   essentially   correct.   Kenneth  came  to  those  ideas  more  out  of  an  experimental  theatre  tradition.  Don't  forget  that,  at   that  point,  the  performance  art  world  was  still  being  formed  and  what  we  call  performance  art   really   didn't   get   what   we   might   call   theorised   and   criticalised   until   the   mid-­‐Seventies   by   which   time  Kenneth  had  done  so  much  of  that  work.  So,  in  fact,  I  would  put  it  down  more  to  zeitgeist.     He  was  one  of  many  people  who  were  developing  ideas  in  that  direction.  




Fantastical Zoology     The  Eggdogfish  by  Tim  Parkinson         A   creature   created   by   brain   waves   emitted   by   humans   during   moments   of   inattention,   especially   during   a   conversation.   Consequently,  it  has  never  been  seen  or  heard,  leaving  only  perhaps  a   suggestion   of   its   existence   in   the   form   of   a   vague   sensation   that   something  might  have  happened.     Does  it  see?  Unknown     Does  it  hear?  Yes,  it  can  hear  human  speech  and  only  appears  during   these  times.     Does   it   move?   It   is   believed   to   move,   bouncing   around   in   front   of   people   when   they're   not   paying   attention,   pulling   faces,   being   silly,   waving  arms  around.     Does  it  communicate?  Yes,  purely  for  its  own  ears  and  amusement,  as   it  can  only  exist  when  no-­‐one  else  knows  it's  there,  so  it  talks  a  lot  of   nonsense   and   gibberish,   making   itself   laugh.   Hence   its   name   -­‐   Eggdogfish,   sounding   like   a   random   selection   of   words   -­‐     an   onomatopoeic   name.   It   is   not   thought   that   the   creature   resembles   either  an  egg,  dog  or  fish,  or  combination  of  all  three.       Does  it  speak?  See  above.     Does   it   make   sense   of   meaning?   Possibly   not,   as   it   does   not   exist   when   meaningful   speech   or   sense   is   being   spoken.   However,   as   it   momentarily   lives   in   a   zone   of   unreceived   communication,   non-­‐ listening,   non-­‐acknowledgement   between   humans,   then   a   sense   of   meaning   would   be   lethal   to   the   Eggdogfish.   Very   often   the   creatures   are   born   around   telephones,   or   where   more   than   one   person   is   involved  in  an  act  of  communication.  Some  of  these  creatures  are  said   to   maintain   their   existence   by   hopping   between   multiple   zones   of   inattention  in  a  crowded  room  or  on  busy  streets  or  even  in  meetings   in  offices  or  local  government.  Since  the  proliferation  of  mobile  phones   amongst   humans,   the   Eggdogfish   population   has   multiplied   in   proportion.  Call-­‐centers  are  reputed  to  be  thriving  areas.     Do   they   eat?   They   feed   off   inattention,   distraction,   natural   unwitting   disregard,  obliviousness,  and,  to  a  small  degree,  daydreams  and  absent   mindedness.    


Do they  touch?  Unlikely     Do  they  taste/smell?  They  must  be  able  to  discern  the  purity  of  certain   types  of  inattention  via  some  sensation.     Do  they  sense  time?  Yes,  although  the  eggdogfish  may  only  live  a  few   moments,   time   passes   slower   for   them   compared   with   humans.   Its   never  been  recorded  how  much,  but  perhaps  a  few  seconds  to  humans   may   equal   a   lifetime   for   the   eggdogfish.   It   is   also   speculated   that   the   creature   may   not   die   when   their   habitat   is   removed,   but   may   in   fact   simply   sleep   in   an   invisible   or   immaterial   state.   Consequently,   it   has   never  been  able  to  estimate  the  age  of  one  of  these  creatures,  although,   the   longer   it   lives   and   feeds,   the   more   excited   and   hysterical   it   can   often   become,   resorting   to   more   and   more   preposterous   action   and   behaviour.   There   may   even   be   some   incredible   habitational   constructions   created   by   several   eggdogfish   in   areas   that   have   remained  unnoticed  for  days  or  weeks.       Do  they  sense  colour?  Unlikely,  although  they  may  be  of  a  colour  never   before  detected.     Do  they  detect  sound?  See  all  above.           Tim  Parkinson  lives  in  London,  writes  music,  puts  on  concerts  including  “Music   We’d   Like   to   Hear”   since   2005   with   John   Lely   and   Markus   Trunk,   plays   ‘any   sound   producing   means’   with   James   Saunders   as   “Parkinson   Saunders”   since   2003,   music   performed   from   LA   to   Tokyo,  Bergen   to   Christchurch,   championed   by  especially  Apartment  House  and  Incidental  Music  and  the  excellent  associated   soloists  therein,  now  has  2  Cds  out  on  Edition  Wandelweiser,  an  interview  (from   2003)   in  The   Ashgate   Research   Companion   to   Experimental   Music,   a   website   at   Born   7th   July   1973,   at   school   11   years,   at   university  for  3,  studied  briefly  with  Kevin  Volans  in  his  house  in  Dublin,  went  to   Ostrava  2001  met  Christian  Wolff  and  Alvin  Lucier,  aside  of  which  never  sought   any  further  education  except  life  and  self.  

Fantastical  Zoology  began  as  a  research  project  around  biodiversity  and   imagination  –  more  creatures  will  appear  in  future  issues  of  Wolf  Notes  –  Sarah   Hughes  




Wolf Notes Issue 1  

published by Compost and Height

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