Utopian Turtletop. Monsieur Croche's Bête Noire. Contact: turtletop [at] hotmail [dot] com

Sunday, November 05, 2006

(and my first venture into MP3 blogging)

Various music bloggers have been discussing Hauntology (including Simon in his recent posts on nostalgia for the future). Everybody seems reluctant to define it, or maybe I’m simply reluctant to apprehend the definition, but it seems to encompass sampling and spookiness. For years I have thought of recording itself as a ghostly, disembody-ing process -- even more than writing. And writing itself can be ghostly -- if you have ever come across writing by somebody whom you loved and who has died, you will know what I mean. After our dad died my sister found Valentine’s Day poems he wrote to our mom, but spoken in my voice, their then-two-year-old and three-year-old son. Really sweet little rhymes. Years before that, one summer my dad had found letters his mom had written to him when he was 10 and away at camp. The written word carried her spirit across time and beyond the grave, as did my dad’s rhymes -- ghostly.

Years and years ago I wrote a song about a break up, which mentioned falling asleep with the ex while listening to Louis Armstrong records. It had the line, “dead people singing in our sleep.”

And coincidental to all this, in 1989 I made a soundtrack to an experimental film by my good friend Ross Lipman. (I found out today he recently showed the film in Vienna, at a showing he had there.) I recorded myself singing Duke Ellington’s song “In My Solitude,” and mixed in recordings of the same song by Louis Armstrong and His All-Stars (guest pianist, Duke Ellington, and Trummy Young on trombone) and by Thelonious Monk (solo piano), as well as recordings of two pieces by Debussy, the orchestral tone poem “La Mer” and his brief solo piano piece “La plus que lente.” I spun the music backwards and forward, put the orchestra through a fuzz box, sped up the Debussy piano solo and put it through a “chorus” unit, and had a fine time. I had come to collage from John Cage & Robert Rauschenberg (and Picasso) and had experimented with it in live performance before this recording; later, De La Soul blew me away, as did John Oswald.

The song’s lyrics seem relevant to hauntology:

In my solitude
You haunt me
With reveries
Of days gone by

In my solitude
You taunt me
With memories
That never die

And now, from a tasty MP3 post by Franklin Bruno (and welcome back to Blogville, Franklin!), I have learned of a service called BlogAmp, which is allowing me to post my low-fi, hauntological collages from 1989, made when I was 25.

Here they are.

Solitude Montage 2 (me, Pops & Claude)

Solitude Montage 3 (me, Pops & Claude take it to the bridge)

Solitude Montage 4 (Monk, Pops/spoP, Claude)

Solitude Montage 5 (me & Claude)

Solitude Montage 6 (Monk, Duke & Trummy)

Solitude Montage 1 (LaMer/reMaL)

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