Friday, January 4, 2008

I’ve been getting some interesting feedback from my Stockhausen/Ike Turner piece (the previous post). I sent it out in individual emails to (as Chris McIntyre would say) “my peeps.” Three of my favorite composers answered back right away. Jay Cloidt said he was going to forward it to a zillion people. John King thanked me for the “mash-up,” which got me wondering if there is a difference between “mash-up” and “plunderphonics.” David Behrman said it brought back memories of his first driving experience, in his mother’s 1952 Olds 88 with a Rocket engine.

Then there’s my brother, who asked if the title means I believe in heaven. I was actually referring to the Ives’ piece “General Booth Enters Into Heaven,” which, admittedly, is a pretty obscure reference. But, no, I don’t believe in heaven, except as a metaphor for whatever happens after we leave our corporeal existence. My initial idea was to create a piece representing the post-corporeal spirits of KS & IT as they gradually lost their individual identity and merged together to become part of what my Gurdjieff inspired bodywork teacher used to call “the field.” I don’t mean to get metaphysical on y’all, but that sort of process (body returns to the earth, spirit returns to the ether) does make the most sense to me. It does not, however, lend itself to representation in a 3 minute New Year’s greeting. So I kept the two musician’s identity intact, and found some very interesting nexuses. I made no changes to the pitch or tempo of either piece, yet there are some places where they really do compliment each other. I can only imagine that the young Karlheinz could very well have been influenced by the Ike Turner piece. “Rocket 88,” from 1951, is thought to be the “first” rock and roll song, so it might well have sparked KS’s 1952 ears as he made his first piece in the new “tape music” medium. Is that common and reoccurring Eb, and the equally common and reoccurring 160 bpm triplet really a coincidence? Hmmmm….

My Toronto friend Andrew Timar observed that my piece obviously placed “Etude” within the structure of “Rocket 88” and wondered, referencing Jim Tenney, what it would sound like the other way; with the pop song placed within the structure of the Stockhausen. A very interesting idea. It is of course always easier to do this sort of creative editing within a clear rhythmic grid than a rhythmic splatter, but it would certainly be an interesting project. Any takers?

Oh, and if anyone might think this kind of work is new for me (there’s no glass!!), may I direct you here; some pre-digital work from 1982.

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