Friday, July 3, 2020

as if you were already in harmony with nature

  I didn't really know you very well, maybe not at all but that doesn't mean I don't care.
It's beginning to look doomy all over this many-textured globe, extracted & ailing.
Mustard gaseous skies & hourly hail. Soon none of this will exist or will become
unrecognizable. Eyes will look out but mind will go blank. Who are we? What have we done?
Even if you could come back you wouldn't know where to go to begin your new journey.

  That blown over stand of hills, ridges gone, ripple of sand, shaking hands.
I wander like a wobbly clock in an irregular circle in the landscape of identity.
Buildings falling, rising, ponds filled, trees felled, concrete poured, concrete broken.
Look at the lone wild weed proudly vertical shooting through the crack in the side-walk.
You again? Here? Why?

  I'd like to revert to the old century and finish the poem I was writing in the California redwoods.
I'd like them to have all their lands back and let the leaves close the curtains on my tracks.
I'd take one step back and say, hello, is anybody at home?

  All my life I've been traveling backward in time. The numbers add up, true. There's accumulation, yes, from a certain point. But even beyond that there is no beginning.

  What on earth are you talking about?

  The trees way of walking was to slowly send out roots and branches.

  There was a secret being shared with everyone who would keep the secret.

  Sacred. Cyclorama.

  Eventually our marriage became a caravan. It took ages to grow the wheels which at first
made so much noise the deer fled. Then they got used to it. Mere movement meant them no harm.
In the eyes of the fawn I saw my own selfless self. Eating flowers.

 Why do you want to be so unconcealed? So unconcealing?

  In the city down there somewhere already one heard murmurs, rumors, hisses, muffled voices, slamming doors, sirens, trains, trucks, tirades. Chains of reasons people made.

  I check the box but I never read the user's agreement. I've gotten used to triple, quadruple-takes.
And I still don't know what I am or what I am seeing. Only that I see.


This new album was recorded spontaneously a few days ago and in part responds to the passing of Marc Orleans, a guitarist I barely knew.  I play prepared acoustic guitar. There is a juxtaposition between the inside of the music and the environmental sounds and this is why you should listen in a quiet environment. There are some deliberately harsh sounds that function as signs of the situation of human crisis with and within the natural world, as the title suggests. Thank you for your support.

Thursday, June 25, 2020

Black Floyd (Davu Seru & Jeff Gburek)

For me on this end it's not easy being whitey on the moon in ghost town picking through memory skeletons of the holocaust nobody else sees. Hard to swim in local lakes knowing what went into tombstone maculate the eerie bottoms (search in this blog Rusalka water-walk, read if you care). If that isn't enough, the constant expansion of booty negritude on the virtual vevo vice channels in the received post-afro-futurism, where all the sweat and labor is off stage, sacrificed for the visual cannibals, leaves me troubled: when I think over the musical heritage of the USA where I cut my teeth doing anything (almost) and yet, it's easier to see, when I log into the news, the boot or knee or bullet on the neck on somebody whose ancestors served in the unconscripted armies of slaves that built the wealth of all nations*, well, it's enough. I'd even forgotten Big Floyd (of the Screw Tang clan) was the man down. When 8:46 it the stands, it was domino effective. Somehow that's how this album all got done so quickly. Energy from where it's taken. Entropy from where it's taken.

Davu's Intro went this way...

 "Jeff Gburek lives in Poland but we first met in Boulder, CO, back in 2001 or 2. I was touring the bo-ho improvised music territory with some percussion instruments, beer and cigarettes.

I joined FB in 2008 when I was working a desk job in publishing and soon with family to worry about. In Saint Paul, MN. That's about when Jeff and I said hi again.

Despite the impression management scheme that social media infects us all with, I have admired Jeff from afar and am inspired by his integrity--you might even call him an artist. It is an honor to have made my favorite recording to date...with him...and Black Floyd.

You can begin to know me better here:

In place of live performance, I have taken--for the first time--to multi-tracking.

Jeff submitted solo tracks via email, I listened for the lure, then bit. And then walked away to my garden where I would listen for it to dig and settle.

After deciding which instruments that I wanted to prepare (after interpreting the call) I set up the studio and improvised wearing headphones. Despite these being multi-track recordings,
I played with the consideration that I might someday be invited to perform the pieces; and, so, I limited my activity to something I might approximate live. The instruments include: drum set, glockenspiel (bowed and struck), 28" bass drum and voice.

All tracks were recorded at home directly to free software using a $40 USB microphone. Along with a little reverb, the silences that interrupt the drum set on "Breathing Gatha" are the only post-production edits.

--Davu Seru, June, 9, 2020 

But let the tale unfold further, before, after, while you listen, where Davu also explains the album's cover art, in the writing and photos at this link

 While Davu Serus lives in Minneapolis, USA and we met I'm pretty sure in Boulder in the drive-gates of Jack Wright's home in 2001 where I and Ephia Gburek had been hosted en route to New Mexico. I had quit smoking for the 3rd time by then.
  We noticed somewhere along the time-line shared passions for music, literature, an affinity for the queer turns of phrase that sign one's taste for the marginal & rebellious use of language one has to call poetic. My take, anyway. For the last few years there was always some speculation we'd wind up again on the same continent & share a stage. This year the speculation took a turn for the 99.999 percentile of extreme improbability with the panic of pandemic overwhelm. So we have hit the virtual pavement and mingled our composition and improvisation skill sets, wound up with this album.

 I played the Hoeffner electric guitar and the Microfreak synthesizer, simultaneously (no dubs) for an hour and sent a bundle of this to Davu who added via audacity (software) his drum & voice overdubbed in whatever order he knows better than I. That this order is the way the music falls together so quickly seems happy enough on its own and yet perhaps owes something to the urgency of the times. As my friend pointed out, we might say, we created something to celebrate, extra.
I should like to confess that while recording I projected myself out of my body. Had a change of shirt after getting back inside. Uneasy. The birth of the the album with the project named Black Floyd has a bitter root. But the cooperation heals and joins hands & let's us imagine something else

Thursday, June 4, 2020

Wheels of Sound among the Yungdrung Bön

 Once again Transparent Abelard is blessed through the agency of Michael Northam with a gem in the realm of textures, textiles, twinkling on the dharma path, coming into view from the very compelling Nine Ways site of Raven Cypress Wood, link below

Called a wheel of sound it appears to me like a cross-world puzzle, a pan-acrostic, a work of concrete poetry, the Mongol calligrammes of an even more painterly Apollinaire, the himalyan gematria...

"Within the Yungdrung Bön religious tradition there is a style of poetry that is considered an advanced art and is often used to praise spiritual masters or states of realization. The poetic verse is written in a kind of graph in which each syllable is written within its own geometric space often in contrasting colors that form patterns or images. These syllables then intersect with other lines of poetry or verse. The arrangement of syllables must be made in such a way that they must make sense with each intersecting syllable."

Tuesday, June 2, 2020

Lines Written in Trieste, 1992

"we ourselves intensify that resistance which the "obvious" has
to every demand made by that which is questionable"  -- heidegger

photo thanks to john elmanahi, great friend of life's ways

a poem facing all four winds at once, these whirlings

speaking through the wood of Miramare with tingled tongues
with doves & pigeons & rocks the language melted
trees hooting in the bachelor's cave-pad
winding thought's string out from the fisherman's reel
into the labyrinth of the spikily-ceiled tunnels
or tying thoughts string to a sinking stone
winding around a sore-thumb stuck out on the ledge
Adriatic life-line blue infinite turquoise
green shallows clear white flat sea bottom
rocks stare up from swooped by ivory
winged gulls if not terns whose pinion-tips
dip into the surface slicing small trails
in the mild undulation of watery (crossed out)
sea moss blue-black urchin world
& greener moss & brown yellow-trimmed
umber cliffs jagged up to the blinding white castle
timeless clash of red burnt maple leaf against
whittle down rocks of the sea, buoys, etc
white smooth of the castle blinding white
with the kelpy hanging residue & otherness junks
it's a sandwich they eat, notebook laid
carelessly on the balustrade edge over-looking
already written about stuffs above here, look!
read again to this point, don't give up
no end to the wind is in sight
and widely spead about it's invisibility
the sensing body somewhere robed in uncertain flesh
gently ripples broken on the edge
of consciousness whetted (wedded)
with the aqua pura, chiara, pale skies
on which the sea cloud bears the sun

turn and find behind Palazzo Hotel Adriatico
the bronze god his or her hand uplifted always
some sadhu in green patina but the blazing god
hands drawn in the white-heat drawn into his bosom
lost child lost mother there all blossoms
and a prism planted in the solar plexus
while in the parking lot a laughing father
plays at dumping the laughing son
into the trash bin while silent gulchs in whom
the trees bend waving and all about seems happy
flutter doves again, the armillary sphere,
Our Lady of Adrenal Metempsychosis
wind and water woven throughout

Sunday, May 3, 2020

Flying Rivers: George Christian & Jeff Gburek

Listen here:
Flying Rivers refers to the vaporization canopy of the Amazonian rain-forest, an eco-system whose loss contributes in part to global climate change. The album began to take shape in the era when deregulation of clearing the rain-forest began to take place, burning out territories of the forest in order to transform them into agricultural tracts, timber, while displacing plant, animal and indigenous human populations. The music spans several months of exchanges of sound-files and over-dubbing, a trans-oceanic correspondence campaign.

George Christian lives in Stella Maris quarter of Salvador, the capital of Bahia province in Brazil.  Jeff Gburek is based in Poznan, Poland while the bulk of his instrumental tracks were recorded in Bulgaria in the summer of 2019. The album was finished over the course of 2019-2020 and therefore encompasses almost a full year of deliberation, processing, labor and thought. There is a constant play between traditions, innovations and references to transitions in cultural-historical time are registered on many levels, perhaps most consciously in their Homage to João Gilberto who passed away in July, 2019. Further evidence of cultural and ecological sharing can be found in the "Trial by Fires" track where we hear free saxophonist Thelmo Cristovam and later when we hear in the soundscape entitled "Amazonas" some of Thelmo Cristovam's Mamori Lake field recordings which supply the cantus firmus, so to speak, over which play the voices speaking Portuguese of Ana Kavalis  (Cuba/Berlin), Cristina Ferreira (Poznan/ Porto, Portugal) , Denize Mota (Poznan/ Manaus, Brazil).

George Christian: voice, Ibanez V72 acoustic guitar, Brazilian telecaster, pedals, found objects.

Jeff Gburek: voice, Gilmore acoustic guitar, Hoefner electric, ebow, percussion, samples and field recordings.

Thelmo Cristovam: saxophone (7) & field recordings (9).

Ana Kavalis, Cristina Ferreia, Denize Mota: voices (9) 
Produced and mixed by Jeff Gburek

The text recited in Amazonas is a spectral ghost poem resulting from lines written in English by Jeff Gburek which were then translated into Brazilian Portuguese by George Christian. Our chorus giving fleshly voice to the poetry are a mixture of native speakers of Portuguese and a Cubana who has traveled among the Brazilians extensively. Many thanks, gracias, obrigados to all collaborators and dziękuję to Karolina Ossowska once again for the cover art from her quickly expanding collagist's oeuvre.

-- Jeff Gburek 
 "I want to send my thanks to the opportunity of this partnership with you, Jeff, to all the other participants who made this album really possible. And I want to dedicate this album to the free spirits that are still striving to survive, facing the lockdown of those turbulent times we're living on Earth.
Remembering now that, unfortunately, Brazilian indigenous people are dying not only because of the miners and the agrobusiness people, but now also of COVID-19... Let's pray for their survival."

-- George Christian

Saturday, May 2, 2020

Alternative African Realities Unexplained

I will use the word unexplained because it reflects the basic knowledge one can derive from listening to and reading about the sound art one finds in these anthologies.

But first listen to this from DJ DIAKI

Whew... if you are still with us 46 minutes later, let's delve into the more "experimental" music.

   The following Two Noteworthy Anthologies (links below) came to my attention over recent months. The sources of these anthologies seems to be in the travels and networking of Cedrik Fremont who appears to move freely and with great frequency gathering these artefacts from Asia and Africa seemingly in the manner of Alan Lomax in his work on American folk music, although I have no evidence on which the comparison could be found valid. Perhaps much will be explained as the database gets filled out in the future. In the meantime, this listener often has many questions about the provenance of the materials and how they came to be mixed in their current form. Much of the music is very interesting, well-produced, even in reminiscent of other forms of music from the past, such that in many cases I find myself wondering in what sense these works are continually experimental. Every once in a while there is a piece with rough edges, showing signs of physical effort, improvisation, as if it were ripped from the fabric of time. Others sound like very clever studio projects and create their own sense of time. Not being able to see much in terms of where, how and when, leaves me at the guessing wall. In some instances it would appear that these popular music artists main claims (not that they make these claims to be experimental themselves) to the moniker experimental or avant-garde is that they are obscure and unknown outside there own culture's radius. It is their presentation that alienates them perhaps and creates an aura of the exotic extract of an active culture. Nice. I wish to go there. As the cultural perimeter of the global culture expands, thanks to the efforts of Syrphe and whoever constitutes this nomadic gathering tribe (a nomadic gathering tribe that gathers evidence of nomadic tribes -- or sedentary ones, first contacters, and all the colonial & philosophical problematics of firstness) perhaps the unknowns and the unexplained will appear only as the offspring of the known as they continue to attain virtual literacy in these streaming appearances.
That said, the unexplained works sometime seem to be re-mixes that someone doing the remixing doens't want to explain. That is the simplest and most direct way to articulate my criticism. This blog is called Transparent Abelard for the main reason that we love the naked and unashamed and we are repulsed my the attempt to blur the lines. Let's be clear about this. But if the music grooves, so what.

Flash Update: an old album but newly arrived as a re-post on Bandcamp... 

 Madosini, The Queen of Xhosa Music, is undoubtedly one of the most important figures in Xhosa music today. She continues to expand on the traditional repertoire of her chosen instruments by composing new songs and instrumental pieces.

Tuesday, March 31, 2020

So much of this language is noise to me

So much of this language is noise to me,
seeking attention, control over thoughts & bodies,
speaking from the center, for central concerns,
assessing the absent average, bringing childhoods
to an end abruptly in the school-yard one day,
where the scene returns, the defining moment,
our special people, our team, the most talented,
gifted, significant, losers, under-achievers,
those to be given menial tasks, excluded.
This language which generates destruction
by division, the somebodies over here,
the nobodies over there, the evil eye, the ones
without being nurtured to hope from the hopeless,
the ones they say should not be bothered with,
the noise, even this language which preens itself,
looks at itself for days in the mirror trying to make sure
it is presentable, convincing, detached, cool, objective,
subjective, informed, without self-interest,
that has the power of seeming correct for one person,
my work, my process, and an error for all others,
the multitudinous vacuums, the great unemployable mass,
the anonymous and the invisible whose lives pass
with the tick of a clock whose days pass into mid-nights
without an owl hoot on the dock.
This language which makes the well-known float
and the rest tread-water, that offers a faulty hand,
that never feeds the angry wolf & makes the wolf more angry,
this language that expresses the height of things
when the lowly lurk and wait and after waiting learn
they will wait between countries behind razor-wire,
that in the world of the important and praised
there is nothing for them in the order of capital,
who are offered the phrase tough luck, tough shit,
it's because you have a bad personality, bad habits,
bad family, low birth, no education, just get down lower,
lower yourself further, lower yourself, make way!
There's a place for us, somewhere a place for us
On an island maybe for broken souls, Little St James,
an island of misfit toys for the experiments of banks...
On this first day of spring your days are numbered.
What does it mean when one person's pain is one's own?
Turning pain into art passes the pain onward. Share with me:
my caste, my imprisonment, my childhood in an abusive family,
my humiliation, my "arcane story" that no one can understand?
I tell my friend it was this was and this way and my friend
says, ah, but you are you and you create this all with your mind.
This language of taxonomy hurts my brain.
Go name your disease. Go name your enemy and tell me
my own name decrees a kabbalistic reprise, a vendetta.
Ah, but you have always been a negative person, they say.
You were born a sad person, you were born angry.
Who among you believes someone is born to eternal delight
and others to endless night? Who is born to pain?
Who among you will skin alive the DeSade or the Masoch?
Who has been a slave by your side? In the days that come
a crown will be thrown of thorns, of spikes,
do they call it cactus virus,
this wreath of spring made the wreath of death,
the crowned prince of crime virus, the orange virus,
orang-utang virus, the distancing virus, the judas-kiss
-- you will call it anything but the gypsy blade that very kindly
lends you the passport into the caravan of the rabbit-hole.
Last night was this morning in the global meltdown of the ice-age.
When you press your finger into the sea-anemone, it will spit water.
Geraniums, asters, dis-asters, the biochemical warfare of spores.
Animalculae, tiny viral animals, so much stronger than you.
They are as invisible as elves and monads and Blake's Zoas
and the demons of an average middle class life that merely wants
soft toilet paper, not that Eastern Bloc sand-paper.
So much of this language is noise to me: where they wish
the Christiansor Muslims who pray together an earlier death,
so much of what is human is all too human noise
to the planet we have polluted together
spreading the genius species into the backwash of ages.
 (March 31 version)