GAZA'S CABIN/ CABIN'S GAZA:
Improvisation, Bristol (17/1/09) *
Gaza was 'happening', in the lies of the world's media. Israel did use phosphorous, tanks and universities or mosques were in no way immune. It was for the people's own good, it was action against Hamas rather than the Palestinian people, hence the desire to blow up their dwellings, cut off their supplies, leave children with the dead corpses of their relatives. How could an art react, and what would be the use of an art that reacted to this outrage. By not seeing it as an abberation but a part of the whole, the continuing fabric and texture of our woven existence, tapestry of death and suffering, injustice. By making music that is intimately connected with this, by making sound that is nothing less than the sound of living, and thus the sound of dying. And death I think is no paranthesis. Death is the sentence, the shadow falls on white-washed walls from which the blood has lately been cleaned.
Two musicians in a cabin, musty and pouring dirt from its cracks. Outside the streets, the cars, the shops close their doors with the clinking sound of a cash register. A rumble exists in the city, under everything, under one's feet. The sounds emerge in the space of the cabin, fifteen minutes for this piece, synthesizer, 'objects' and saxophone. The music taps into something very deep. Dive down to the bottom of the pool, then find you can't swim and swim anyway. I don't want to sound like this is coming out of some 'pseudness', 'pretending' to discover 'truths' just as a means of sounding clever, it is not that and it is precisely because it is so hard to express in words that it has to be done in music, or that it has been done in music.
It arises of course from the surface level of that absolute electronic melancholia, drones and quasi-drones, held notes and lightly-spaced pops and clicks over heavy machine-heart. Fragments of texts, those names 'Israel' and 'Gaza', even when not spoken, as the hovering talismans that strike dread in the heart maybe more so in this context than in the whitewashed 'sanity'/sanitisation of BBC news-speak. "22 days 1203 Palestinians killed by Israel including 368 children .... Add Your Comment BBC NEWS | Israel Declares Ceasefire in Gaza. Recent News and Articles on the Keywords: cease -fire + palestinian + gaza Related to ... BBC News, UK."
I think it arises from the randomness as much as anything - the way a certain word on the radio catches in context a whole new meaning/set of meanings, the chill of recognition creating a new level of conviction, of listener/performer being convinced that what is being done is right. Of course there is still guilt, and that is maybe what this music wrestles with most, the guilt that permeates its pores, that it too is an infected discourse, but perhaps it could be infected with love and real sorrow, genuine sorrow - not "oh isn't it awful why can't they just get along" but the lament that contains within itself the conditions of the possibility of a world without the need for that lament. The 'ground-work', if you will. The music realising itself not as the solution, if a solution was posed it would dissolve in that other sense of the word, the solution that permeates everything, as watery spread.
Industrial low-edged harshsounds on synthesizer. It's not to say that this is 'mimetic' of Israeli tanks or electric drills or the piping system nightmare of Terry Gilliam's 'Brazil', or the industrial nightmare visions of 'Eraserhead' or 'Tetsuo the Iron Man.' It contains the sounds before, the sounds present, the sounds after, the sounds surrounding. Is its own text and context at once.
There is something very sombre and chilling about the voice. I listened to a poem reading today** which almost disappeared into itself by the end, and this has that same absolute fall-back to almost nothing. The resourt to song even, the singing of the utterly deserted when there is no more to do but give voice though one knows it will do no good, and in that it does good. The space beyond tears, shell-shocked but conscious. Numbed but fighting through it to sound emotion.
* Improvisation at 'The Cabin', Bristol, by 'Bristol Improvisers Zariba' - on this occasion, Mark Anthony Whiteford and Richard Soup. Listen to the piece at: http://www.mediafire.com/?bjwemnjmzmj
** J.H. Prynne reading John Wieners' 'Cocaine' at 'Archive of the Now' (http://people.brunel.ac.uk/~enstaab2/)