liner notes for Tzadik CD, 1994

I understood percussion quartets from the first time I put one in a gigantic tufo-stone quarry in Matera in 1990 and let their simple randomly spaced whacks and booms careen off the walls in an endless play of uncontrolled echoes and from here to the massive - inauguration of the Klangturm in St. Poelten, Austria in '96, to the finale of Erat Verbum at the Westdeutscher Rundfunk in '97. It's always been a Goldboig variation on the same theme.. .here at last it's simply THEME PARK.

The day after William Winant had his first out-of-body experience, I decided it was time to record this THEME PARK. Why? you ask, because William had illusions of becoming a latter-day (read early middle age) rock musician and it was always my belief that his knowledge of getting sound out of any object including stone was far too subtle to be used only in one kind of popular music - all the others from the great cuban composer Roldan to Xenakis, from Baby Dodds to Fast Forward to Zev, from Cage to Milford Graves, to Rzewski's Homeric flower pots, in short, all the popular musics of the future, are the very reasons of William's being. THEME PARK is a percussion quartet, so we agreed that a version in which William played all the four parts would be historic, well maybe just unique. After all, the 35 minute solo (then called BANG/ZOOM) which I wrote for Winant - premiered in 1995, was followed without interruption by THEME PARK played by four percussionists situated in four corners of the Mills College Concert hall, while Winant on stage continued to play spontaneously over the other four players. As soon as all this was agreed, Zorn said "hey" over the telephone and I went out and bought a six pack of turkey drumsticks for Winant, so the low-end would have a sound that had never been heard before. Most of the music is written out like an anarchic canon - essentially one part which all four players play (over one another) at slightly different times and often in different speeds, usually using the same instrument (four high hats, four snare drums, four bass drums, four whatever). Everything is contracting and expanding like breadmaker's dough all the time, from big airy holes to implosive densities. To embellish this simplicity I have added a cameo apperance of my own, predominantly throwing samples of acetyline torches, tin cans, cabooses and basketballs into the fray - not to mention the opening15 second fall of hurled junk which took me 20 minutes to record and at least 20 to clean up.

The children's toy drum machines which follow, end the "prelude'" and spill right into the written notes which Winant, hence called Willie, plays with diamond cutting precision and edge as much as with invisible delicacy. Before the ending bass drum quartet, here repeated twice for good measure, Winant, leaves mine and plays notes all his own in a brilliant one man "music-now" show. As the final bass drums fade to imperceptibility a saxophone comes from nowhere, emerging first as one then two then three then a hundred, appoaching as if from a slow moving freight train. This is a pure piece of music for tape, like the gardens I have been making since the mid 60's. Materials accumulate over the years, set aside, composted, recycled, reborn - the 17 second loop of a Charlie Parker solo with one of the notes stretched out and bent down like an ambulance siren was originally made for the Margie Jenkins Dance Co, in '95, but went unused. Here it became the springboard for a whole new park, CHARLIE'S PARK replete with squeeling train-brake harmonics and a fragment of a mongolian singer - just behind Varese's house where Charlie often sat under the orchestration tree.

Alvin Curran

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