Monday, 30 May 2011


The fourth (and first virtual) ‘sine language’ duo between David Grundy & Mark Anthony Whiteford. Solo home performances in Swindon and Bristol, recorded on 22nd and 23rd May respectively, and subsequently combined.

I had been recording a couple of solos as preparations for a live performance (see next post), and M.A.W. made a real-time improvised response, on recently-acquired bassoon, to the first 20 minutes of this recording. I’ve chosen to post both solos as stand-alone pieces, along with the virtual duo. Following the tracklist is a subsequent exchange (slightly revised in ‘post-production’) based on this virtual collaboration:

D.G. Solo, 22nd May (28:26)
M.A.W. Solo, 23rd May(20:20)
Virtual Duo, 23rd May (20:19)

D.G. : thanks for this - reminds me of our virtual collaboration on my first ever sine solo a few years ago. listening to the two pieces at once, it strikes me that the contrast between electronic continued/droning sounds and bassoon ones shortened by breath (and often more staccato than with your saxophone playing) in some ways totally changes the complexion of the original. (at first i was going to say that it did this by adding 'tension' - but i know you don't like that word - and after a while what seems like tension becomes more like a rejection of linear/narrative logic than 'tension-and-release' in any case. 'uniformity and depth' as you say in your improvisation.) did you listen to the solo piece before playing along, or was this a 'real-time' reaction?

M.A.W. : mmm yes it was real time response. i particularly like the lo-tech talking in the midst of it all [i.e. in DG’s piece]. i like the animal/human sounds alongside the electronic and I like the incoherence. were you incoherent when speaking, or is that just the listening experience?

D.G. : the spoken word bit in the middle was sampled from something i recorded a few months back when i had a cold and was feeling a bit feverish - so it's originally fairly incoherent, but rendered even more incoherent by being cut up live. i have been thinking about that contrast between physical actions/ speech / 'human' things and machine/electronic sounds (which isn't a simple binary opposition). and i read this from one of our email exchanges:

"i was probably quite aware that the text was speaking of sentiments seemingly far removed from sine waves and yet at the same time i'm very aware of how the likes of Sachiko M have reinvented/ reinstated the female wail with the cry of fucked machines and i'm very much reminded of other high tech associated witch wailers such as Amy Yoshida. and it occurs to me that the sine wave and electronic sounds are voices that have lost the ability to communicate logically or properly and instead hum or stutter beyond the supposed/mythic intelligibility of words."

also relevant: nathaniel mackey's idea of 'telling inarticulacy' in relation to african-american music - and simone weil: "and even in those who still have the power to cry out, the cry hardly ever expresses itself, either inwardly or outwardly, in coherent language. usually, the words thru which it seeks expression are quite irrelevant."

M.A.W. : maybe it 's a mistake to think that machines are not speaking sentiments? maybe they are screaming at us and we dont know it? and yes i feel that when we communicate depth or complexity there is no rational sense to be found. because feelings/spirit are outside our rational reality. i find it easy to imagine emotional landscapes beyond our ken within the music of sachiko m at times. it's the rustling and stirring of neurones and nerve endings. the gap outside of our perception where shadows and scratchings occur. i enjoyed the cut up text. and i enjoyed responding with my own speaking echo in the response. maybe sine waves ache with angst? who knows? maybe they create sine universes once we release them from the machines?

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