November 29, 2005

un-semantically speaking

I recorded my dad when I saw him over the long holiday weekend. I had given him an assignment to come up with a short story about his past to tell for me while I recorded him. But here's the rub: I asked him to tell the same story, more or less, in four different languages. You see, my dad is one of these incredible people who can learn languages as easily as a cat can learn a new way to misbehave. I, myself, totally stink at learning languages (it's not from lack of trying, mind you), so I am particularly impressed with my dad's abilities. And particularly upset that he did not pass down that skill to me!
I asked him to do this for me because I want to write a song using speech purely for its melodic and rhythmic qualities and not at all for it's semantics. The only way for me to do this is if I don't understand the words because I simply cannot ignore what something means if I can understand it. I was inspired to do this by Evan Ziporyn, who recently listened to my cd and commented that he felt the voices and the music were disconnected, or at least not musically related. I don't necessarily agree entirely, but he has a point regardless, so I have created this challenge for myself to see what I can do. And I think it is really fun to have my dad on tape speaking all those languages!
So who knows when I'll be able to begin working on this song, but I am excited to see what happens. I shudder to think what the song will sound like to someone who understands French, German and Russian. They might go insane just listening...

Posted by halsey at 07:42 PM

un-semantically speaking

I recorded my dad when I saw him over the long holiday weekend. I had given him an assignment to come up with a short story about his past to tell for me while I recorded him. But here's the rub: I asked him to tell the same story, more or less, in four different languages. You see, my dad is one of these incredible people who can learn languages as easily as a cat can learn a new way to misbehave. I, myself, totally stink at learning languages (it's not from lack of trying, mind you), so I am particularly impressed with my dad's abilities. And particularly upset that he did not pass down that skill to me!
I asked him to do this for me because I want to write a song using speech purely for its melodic and rhythmic qualities and not at all for it's semantics. The only way for me to do this is if I don't understand the words because I simply cannot ignore what something means if I can understand it. I was inspired to do this by Evan Ziporyn, who recently listened to my cd and commented that he felt the voices and the music were disconnected, or at least not musically related. I don't necessarily agree entirely, but he has a point regardless, so I have created this challenge for myself to see what I can do. And I think it is really fun to have my dad on tape speaking all those languages!
So who knows when I'll be able to begin working on this song, but I am excited to see what happens. I shudder to think what the song will sound like to someone who understands French, German and Russian. They might go insane just listening...

Posted by halsey at 07:42 PM

November 28, 2005

heavy weather

the rain is chasing me.
a wall of buckshot
pelting the ocean's surface
hard enough to strangle the mackerel.

strangle them with a freshness
a freshness they are not used to.
gills pumping crimson and silver streaks
mimicking the august sky
in a place where the first
solar eclipse was ever recorded,
in north america

storms make me lonely,
as they catch up to me.
the passing of time makes me sad,
and the sound of water
leaves me unthinkable.

this is heavy weather
this is what I live for
this is what I would die for
and I can’t help
that I like it.

==========================

listen to 'heavy weather'

Posted by halsey at 03:09 PM | Comments (59)

November 22, 2005

art is worth something!

Well, this seems uncharacteristically fair, doesn't it?!

Senate Bill Lets Artists Claim Price for Gifts

Maybe that's what happens when a Democrat and a Republican work together on something. Let's hope it passes the House too.

Posted by halsey at 08:56 AM

November 21, 2005

Town Beach, Islesboro, ME

OK, so I am not a photographer, and I would never pretend that I was one, BUT nonetheless, in the name of supporting a great organization, I have donated a photograph to the Bakery Photographic Collective 2005 Photo A Go-Go.
You can see the photo I donated online along with all the other donations from real photographers. And you can and should bid via telephone during the event for anything you like as not only do you stand a chance of getting a great deal on some excellent photography, but you will be supporting a cultural icon of Portland, Maine.

Posted by halsey at 08:07 PM

November 16, 2005

sharing the porch

Download: Two Tickets

Well, if Jack White can get away with "My Doorbell", I think I should be allowed to write a song like this without getting too much grief.

The spoken voice sounds like you the whole time.

some activities are lonely by necessity.

What is the text?

These are all notes that either I sent to other people or they sent to me as initial contact emails using the online personals. It would have been interesting to get these people to actually read them on tape for me, but there were two problems with that: one, almost all of them I've never met or have met, and well, it didn't work out; and two, then you'd know what pathetic pick up lines were mine and which weren't. I'm just not willing to tell you which one is which. Really, it's not going to happen. Sorry.

Do you like the online personals?
Yes, because of the hope they encourage.
No, because of the false hope they encourage.

When was the last time you bought two tickets for something you do?
8 days ago

Who is this song dedicated to?
each and every one of us who has wished for something that we don't have and tried to get it. don't ever give up!

Posted by halsey at 01:34 PM

sharing the porch

Download: Two Tickets

Well, if Jack White can get away with "My Doorbell", I think I should be allowed to write a song like this without getting too much grief.

The spoken voice sounds like you the whole time.

some activities are lonely by necessity.

What is the text?

These are all notes that either I sent to other people or they sent to me as initial contact emails using the online personals. It would have been interesting to get these people to actually read them on tape for me, but there were two problems with that: one, almost all of them I've never met or have met, and well, it didn't work out; and two, then you'd know what pathetic pick up lines were mine and which weren't. I'm just not willing to tell you which one is which. Really, it's not going to happen. Sorry.

Do you like the online personals?
Yes, because of the hope they encourage.
No, because of the false hope they encourage.

When was the last time you bought two tickets for something you do?
8 days ago

Who is this song dedicated to?
each and every one of us who has wished for something that we don't have and tried to get it. don't ever give up!

Posted by halsey at 01:34 PM

November 04, 2005

I have seen them before

Download: The Clouds | read lyrics

Well, this song has taken me a LONG time to complete and I'm not entirely sure why. Perhaps it's because I had a bunch of BYOV events while working on it or perhaps I have just been focusing on other things. Or maybe this particular song caused some difficulties itself for some musical or lyrical reason. I really don't know, but I do know that I am glad it is done and that you can now listen to it.

These will help you understand the multitudes:

Where did you collect these voices?
Art Interactive in Cambridge, Jim Kempner Fine Art in NYC and on the street in Harvard Square

How many people recited this poem for you?
11 women, 9 men

Can you dance to a song in 11/8?
of course - just try it...

What's your favorite kind of cloud?
cirrus

Who's your favorite dog?
Cirrus

cirrus1_sm.JPG

How can the bassoon be so goofy and yet so beautiful all at the same time?
this, I do not know

Are you afraid of clouds?
no

Posted by halsey at 05:04 PM | Comments (3)

November 02, 2005

share the sounds

I just discovered this very cool online repository of sound audio clips.

the freesound project

People record whatever they want and upload it to freesound under a Creative Commons Sampling Plus license and then anyone can download it for whatever purpose they want. The submissions are all tagged which makes searching easier, but you can just browse and sample things as well.
This is the kind of thing that I don't see an immediate personal need for, but I find very cool. And my guess is that now that I know it exists, I very well might find myself suddenly 'needing' it desperately.

Posted by halsey at 11:28 AM | Comments (5)