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JADED IBIS PRESS
Text and photographs by Doug RiceMusic composed and performed by Ann MossField recordings of American River in Lotus, CA by Dave FirenzeField recordings of Beaver Pond Dam in Lincoln, MA by Ann MossIncidental vocal and bass guitar sounds contributed by Liam WadeConstruction and editing assistance from Liam WadeSound Design assistance from Matt Schumaker1. Overture (3.30)2. Words written on top of words (1.00)3. Appear (0.31)4. The Secret Book of Twelve Moments of Being (19.22)5. Disappear (2.35)
Artist StatementI met Doug Rice during the summer of 2008 when were both guest artists at CSU Summer Arts in Fresno, CA. Let it be never be said that great things do not begin in Fresno.When Doug first approached me to set portions of his manuscript Between Appear and Disappear, he expressed one desire - to hear his words sung in my voice.At that point, I had had the pleasure of hearing Doug Rice read from his writings on three occasions. Each time I heard him read I found myself wanting for just one thing: I wanted the words to move more slowly. To be elongated. To be chanted.He gave me the text and told me I had total creative freedom to do what I liked. I spent a great deal of time looking for melodies in the manuscript. What I found were whispers, chants, and fragments of the natural world. We met and I told him my ideas. I told him, “I don’t hear songs in this text. I don’t hear instruments. I hear chant, and nature. We went to the American River and he showed me where he wrote. He explained the intricacies of constructing The Secret Book of Twelve Moments of Being. He showed me his photographs. And then he let me take it all home with me and create. This is what I came up with.Music for Between Appear and Disappear is just that. It is music for you to listen to while you spend time with Doug’s book.There are six movements in this piece. The first three movements progress rather quickly. An overture traces what I imagine to have been Doug’s daily journey to write. Hiking away from the cacophony of the metropolitan world to arrive at the shore of the American River, with its liquid rhythmic lilt. Once there, fragments of text whisper in the listener’s ear and demand that one lean in, listen closely. Words then begin to jumble and tumble, overwriting one another in a sort of creative madness. Maia’s character appears. A love story emerges.The central movement of this work is The Secret Book of Twelve Moments of Being. In his manuscript, Doug created twelve paragraphs, each constructed each of twelve sentences, each containing twelve words. I recorded twelve lines of chant on twelve pitches, one for each story. I then used these recordings to create a sonic collage wherein all twelve stories merge into a single, elongated listening experience. Each line of chant is treated as an individual instrument that appears and disappears throughout the course of the movement. The stories are woven like threads in a tapestry. Stories overlap, repeat, recede and reappear. Chords emerge and shift, creating a sense of polyphony within a fragmented, crystalline structure. Field recordings of the American River permeate the texture at intervals, liquid traces of the essence, neither spoken nor unspoken, that pervades our being.The sound of the American River gives over to field recordings of a brook which flows from Beaver Pond in the deciduous woods of Lincoln, Massachusetts where I grew up, eventually emptying into the Charles River. Here, 3000 miles away from where my musical interpretation of Doug’s text began, an improvised, wordless chant merges with bird songs and water sounds. The image of Maia and the love story she represents disappear into silence.AcknowledgmentsThis piece was recorded with stereo microphones loaned to me by composer Liam Wade, who also contributed bass guitar and vocal utterances to the Overture and offered a great deal of construction and editing assistance. Dave Firenze made the field recordings of the American River in Lotus, CA. Matt Schumaker at UC Berkeley Center for New Music and Technology offered invaluable help with sound design. I offer my heartfelt thanks to all three of them for making this possible.