Social top


Daniel Feist — Diptych: Auxferd Nightburr'd November 2a.m.; our child

This piece's two distinct passages are singular in that there is no attempt made to combine or correlate the two within the work. The first section is characterized by the point and counterpoint of a definitely male Caribbean speaker and a discordant birdsong. The bird song is pitch-shifted and modulated with an echo to create an outdoor feel while the vocal is echoed and reverbed to create a very internal feeling, and they are brought together through flanging.

The spoken text is about a bird ... a "crazy old bird" at that. The structure of the looped birdsong assists with the articulation of the speaker's text. The modulated and pitch shifted loops that are presented in tandem with the vocal loops lead the listener to believe that the bird is unwell. The original source used for the production of this sound was quite possibly be an actual bird; but the sound of this "bird" was manipulated and modulated so that some elements of the sound created are organic, and others are not.

Within this section, the speaker's voice is also effected in ways to heighten the text; the disconnected nature of the word "disconnected" (which is spoken in the piece), is a direct parallel. In addition, separate samples of the same spoken text are looped and edited together so that words are given new meanings through separate voicings. This aesthetic is heightened through the introduction of divergent types of laughter.

(The second section is so different, I initially wondered if the pieces were created separately and spliced together for a specific purpose other than the obvious ... which would be the confusion of the listener!)

The second part is very much the antithesis of the first; utilizing a wide variety of sources, and containing a sinister feel. A rain stick being tipped brings the listener out of a silent section that could be the end of the first track. Layered overtop is a very hollow tone from a flute or similar wind instrument that acts as a siren's song calling to the listener. "Like the sea" is voiced by a distinctly male voice in response to this opening with humming layered beneath, which pans back a forth with a heavy reverberant quality throughout. Pitched down versions of the same loops whisper and chant underneath.

Silence brings the listener into another very different portion with reverberant tones (sung by both men and women) looped so as to create a small bridge between the text, ("Though I sang in my chains like the sea", taken from Dylan Thomas' masterpiece "Fern Hill") and the remainder of the piece. The line itself is quite eerie and cold but further insight into the rest of this piece can be drawn through an examination of the aforementioned Thomas poem. (I shall expand on this motif as an aside at the end so as not to lose clarity).

The finale of this piece takes on a very dark air through the use of heavy effects and low frequencies; tones can be heard looping with heavy reverb and a male voice begins the recitation of another speech that is depressing in its sentiment, as it speaks of unrealized dreams. The "death" of these dream and a shocking revelation are voiced and reinforced with loops of the same vocals pitched down and repeated, along with the heavy use of reverb and flanging to accentuate each word. The end resuscitates itself in a half hearted way with a (his?) child saying "I am tired of this;" but this only occurs after a very low-pitched voice takes the listener to the the darkest point of the piece, stating that the previously mentioned dreams were "buried long ago".

As an aside and perhaps as a way of understanding the text spoken in the final passage of the Daniel Feist piece an understanding of the Dylan Thomas poem "Fern Hill" may be helpful.

The poem, though noted for the beauty of its language and descriptions of a wondrous locale, has a very dark and interesting history that explains much of what the speakers are saying in the final passage. "Fern Hill," as described in the poem, was (before Dylan Thomas's time) inhabited by a father and daughter. The Father was the town's local hangman and he loved his daughter dearly. He arranged a marriage for her with a young lad that he thought was suitable, that was to take place on her 18th birthday. However, she was in love with another young man and did not desire to marry any but him. When she confronted her father about this he would not compromise and forbade his daughter from seeing this young man ever again and locked her in the stable so that she could not elope. She was to be locked up until her 18th birthday and at that time was to be married to the man of her father's choosing.

She remained in this make-shift prison until the eve of her 18th birthday; and it was at this time that her true love came to rescue her and freed her from the prison. The next morning her father found that his daughter had escaped and fled with her true love, leaving a note stating that she could not live without him and that she would never again set eyes on her father. Her father, heartbroken as he was to have lost his wife and daughter, hung himself in the stable with the chain that he had secured the door with. His body is said to have been buried on the property with a headstone marking it's place. There are significant parallels that can be drawn from this story to the final portion of the Feist piece. The speaker vocalizes much of what I have outlined in a very succinct manner ending with "buried long ago" (as an aside).

Diptych: Auxferd Nightburr'd November 2a.m.; our child

0:00 — dry, interrupted bird sound (to 1:03)

:11 — ' one crazy old bird …'

:14 — echoes

:21 — repeat with laughter

:23 — ' singing on..' repeat/flange/delay

:30 — ' until the street lamp' (T's removed)

:32 — ' crazy old ..' (repeat/sung/modified) laughter, ' hasn't he heard'

:42 — ' disconnected bird ' (with/ without T's)

:45 — 'no one man listen' (overlap) repeat, laugh

:44 — laughter, mixed phrases

:53 — 'old disconnected bird' (no T's)

:56 — solo bird

1:03 — silence

:12 — processed rain stick (pan shift) faint feedback

:26 — 'like the sea…' soft, fragmented, sung/spoken/whispered

:30 — rain out

:36 — voice out, silence

:39 — low sampled voice clusters(dry)

:46 — single voice(reverb)

:48 — distant child's voice

:52 — bass pulses

:56 — pulse out, 'our child' delay

:57 — ' our child our conscience ' telephone voice

2:00 — repeat phrase/fragment/multiply

:03 — synth choir

:08 — 'our face to face… our sins' repeat/process

:12 — choir out

:14 — ' in baby blue & pink ' delay/fragment

:20 — ' a shocking revelation ' double/delay

:21 — feedback, rain stick, pan shift

:26 — ' a smile' blurred echoes

:30 — rain, feedback out, bell strikes

:31 — ' of childhood screams… '

:34 — on silence: ' and dreams ' shift delay

:36 — ' and dreams ' flange

:39 — ' buried ' slowed voice dry

:42 — 'long'

:45 — distant rain stick

:47 — 'ago'

:49 — silence

:50 — child's voice: ' I'm tired of this'

:52 — out


Social bottom