liner notes for Tzadik CD (Animal Behavior), 1995

Not far from the Nile and the Atomic Clock is the East River. There Moses led his people and they crossed over to Williamsburgh in the heart of Brooklyn. Others including The Jews, the Egyptians, the cradle of civilization, Mother of all Battles, Pascal Lambs, the "Four Questions," the Dance Companies, Disfunctional chords and a Trio of Violin, Accordion and Tuba chose to cross the Brooklyn Bridge. The Shofar blew and the Pharaohs looked on in astonishment as the Bridge appeared out of nothing, in resonant aether. To it were added (at a later time) Bitter Herbs, l0 Plagues (including frogs, boils and locusts) and a desert Wolf howl recorded in Minnesota. The only question remaining is, as Gertrude Stein suggested in Oakland, why are there there only four. For me one was enough - I chose the first: Why Mah is Nish this Tahnah night Ha different Lylah from Hazeh all Mikol other Ha nights Layloth? Two tracks each of prepared piano and unleavened percussion (executed to the millimeter by William Winant) and fragments of myriad underground choruses could not stem the musical destiny of the army of disfunctional chords which march on like like Panurges sheep, each over the cliff, each to their maker, each kicking turf in the face of those behind it. The everpresent choral hum of the Brooklyn Bridge acts as a reminder of what that monument once sounded like; it also acts as a safety net sitting there to catch the tuba spittle the violin's rosin the accordians breath; no one stumbles, they just walk regularly to the abyss and hurl themselves into a chord lasting less than the appearance of a falling star. Most of these were the same that Bach used, but some were developed later by Duke Ellington. All of this was part of my search for a new music for the Trisha Brown Dance Company. The basic idea was to make a music made of nearly nothing, but one that would be irresitably danceable; in short a music that had no melody, no pulse and no discernable direction and would go down in dance history for having stayed out of the way of everyone concerned.

When Trisha and Little Man rejected it as "too powerful" I put my ear to the audiometer and decided she was right - this would fit better into a CD player, like isotopes for a closet big-band. In the end Willy took out his knitting needles, stepped on the gas pedal and crocheted the whole schtyck together with his range-free vibraphone arc. Little Man bows and aims a slow bowling ball for a strike, exits and is seen by the FBI selling counterfeit Matzoh on Union Square.

Roy Malan, violin; Donald Haas, accordion; Peter Wahrhaftig, tuba; William Winant, percussion; Alvin Curran, piano. Recorded by Tom Erbe, mixed by Alvin Curran, CCM Studios Mills College, March l992.

(reprinted in "Two Texts," Vanitas 1:  THE STATE (Vincent Katz, ed.), 2005, p. 119-120. )

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