Vegass

(2003)

Commissioned by poet Fortner Anderson to accompany his poem titled “Vegas.” The poem is titled “Vegas” and the composition “Vegass”.

       (8:30)

Published on the Six Silk Purses CD in 2005, more info here.

The piece is divided in three sections:

1. Vague 0:00 – 2:30

2. aaaaaaaaaaaa…. 2:30 – 7:36

3. … sssssssssss 7:36 – 8:24

The first section became ‘vague’ by taking out all the words of the original piece, and then playing around with what was left, it retains the rhythm of the words as Fortner says them, but unsays them and scurries them adrift like glass shards across the neon Vegas. The second section is what remains of the original idea, which was to render the word “Vegas” into one long sound, like stretch limos strutting down the strip:

vvvvvvvvvvvvvvvvvvvvvvvveeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeggggggggg
gggggggggggggggggggggggggggggggggggggggaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaa
aaaaassssssssssssssssssssssssssssssssssssssssssssssssssssssssssssss

Of that original idea what remains are the two end phonemes, the ‘a’ and the ‘s’. And sections 2 and 3 amplify not only the title but the recurrence of these phonemes together in the text (‘glass’, ‘pass’, ‘classifieds’). The layered ad nauseam ‘aaaaa….’ is a rendition of a key theme in the text, it is the infant/primeval call to the father (and fatherhood) as it shifts across generations, across speakers, which accumulates and then dissipates, which haunts and fades. The ‘ssssss….’ peters out, it lets its air out as after a night of gambling with one’s life’s savings. It points to the only thing left, breath.

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