This is the spoken word portion from (probably, most likely) the best thing I’ve ever found on the internet, in Bb 2.0. If you haven’t checked it out yet, you should. There is something so very poignant and resonant about these words, especially the last line: “This is not about what I produce. It is all about what others receive.”
That (not so) simple thought is a source of inspiration for me. It is an idea that has been with me, and a part of how I think about music and art in general, for the past few years in some form or another. And it is a constant source of thoughts and questions. Eventually, I may share these thoughts, questions, and what these words mean to me, but for now, I’ll just share the words themselves…
By Daniel Donahoo (2009)
she closes the lid
and unplugs the device
no bigger than her thumb
from the computer.
My lifes work, she says. But, it isnt her lifes work.
You see, we store information like an Escher painting.
It shouldnt all fit in there. But, it does.
And every day we manage to fit more and more into smaller and smaller spaces until one day
we will be able to fit all the information the world has
everything that everyone knows and believes and dreams
It will all be there. Stored and filed.
Tagged with any keywords you might imagine.
Our hard drives will be thin air.
They will make nanobots look like elephants.
And elephants will be in there too. Tagged. Accessible with search terms
like grey, ivory,
and the largest land dwelling mammal
We will process away at nothing and understand everything.
We will think of a word and the information will slip in, not through our ears or eyes
but straight thorough our skin. Information will breathe in and out of us,
permeate our skin.
Our knowing will be as deep as it is wide.
You see our work here is to learn so much,
to be so full of knowing,
that all there is left to do is unlearn.
Humanity must get to a point where we let go.
We leave the useless ideas and the spent ideologies in the recycle bin.
like an adolescent brain shedding neurons.
like a snake slithering from its old skin.
like an old man who has come to understand so well the point where reality meets the intangible that he is able to decide which breath will be his last. And, he will enjoy that breath more than any that he has taken in his entire life.
And, her lifes work is more than a four meg flash drive.
My lifes work, she says, is the impact that this has.
This is not about what I produce. It is all about what others receive.
This piece has 4 steel string acoustic guitar parts layered on top of each other. The guitar is tuned down a whole step to DGCFAD. The entire piece is made up of chords rapidly fingerpicked in four note groupings. I was definitely inspired by composer Gustavo Santaolalla’s album Ronroco, as well as by the way that Steve Reich achieves a beautiful shift of colors and sound from chord to chord or motif to motif in his piece Music for 18 Musicians. (Both are amazing works, and very deserving of attentive, frequent, and detailed listening.) Additionally, I generally like the idea of having two conflicting concepts co-exist. Here you have a rapid, almost frantic, repetitive and percussive flurry of notes that persist throughout, but at the same time there exists a slow, gradual shifting of colors. While I was improvising the layered parts, another idea that kept entering my head was call and answer. As I was playing the 2nd, 3rd, or 4th guitar parts, if I heard a rhythmic or melodic idea in one of the other parts, I would attempt to mimic it in the part I was currently playing. What results is a wall of saturated sound, that, if listened to closely, reveals little melodies and rhythmic motifs. All of this, interestingly enough, despite the rapidly/frantically repeated notes, results in a very calming sound (at least to me). It is very much like being in a large crowd in a public place where many, many different conversations are occurring all at once, yet you are still able to make sense of words and phrases here and there, independently of the sound as a whole.
The picture in the original post is from a trip I took to Alaska 2 years ago. I was in Seward, and I set my camera out on the balcony of the hotel room one night for a time exposure shot. I like the image, and it seemed fitting…so I decided to post it as well…to hopefully add some visual appeal to my blog.
I would love to hear what anyone who cares to share took from this piece. Sonically, visually, emotionally, musically, anything at all. So if you feel so inclined, leave a comment or send me an email. (firstname.lastname@example.org)
Thanks for listening.
P.S. If you haven’t already, check out my link to the site inBflat.net for one of the most beautiful and moving uses of the internet I have seen/heard in a long, long time.