Artists Ought to be Writing
On July 31, National Public Radio had an absolutely fascinating musical piece featured as their Song of the Day ... by Jason Moran, from his cd, Artist in Residence.

I love the way
NPR's songs of the day
introduce me
to musicians I might not have encountered otherwise.
I had never heard of Jason Moran,
but I just cruised around
on his web page and his
mySpace page and
now I know I dig his music.

But even more I like the way he puts things together: like in the Artists Ought to Be Writing piece - working with the sound of the human voice, the inflections and inherent musicality of speech, he transcends both the spoken word and the music. Or he pulls from dance, other kinds of movement; paintings, other visual arts. Wow! it's like synaesthesia: tasting sounds or smelling colors!

Moran's way of composing jazz reminded me of the way some people mix their senses, so I got to digging into the fascinating ability known as synesthesia. I'll write more on that later. For now, I am just going to quote the NPR introduction to this piece and hope you go listen to this awesome collaboration.

... there's an edifying tenor to "Artists Ought to Be Writing," as sampled orator (and performance artist) Adrian Piper uncorks a manifesto urging artists to demystify the esoteric by letting people in on the inspirations, intentions and machinations of their works in hopes of building a more informed audience.

The composition, nevertheless, rewards the listener with emotional magnetism via Moran's elegiac piano work. At first, Moran underscores Piper's androgynous voice with lovely chords; then, he slowly unveils melodic phrases that shadow-dance alongside her rhythmic cadence. Soon, it's easy to discover the inherent musicality of Piper's speech patterns -- and, conversely, the soulfulness in Moran's analytical experimentation. As the sampled voice disappears, Moran continues to build upon Piper's recitation, unraveling a surging and sanguine improvisation.


paris parfait said...

Thanks for the introduction! Just terrific.

RavenGrrl said...

You're very welcome, Tara. I hope it inspires you -- there is SO much to learn about this topic I just barely barely scratched the surface. Anyway, I sent an idea for a prompt based on synesthesia, to Lynn and Liz -- maybe it'll show up on Poetry Thursday one of these days soon.