Category Archives: Smoke and Origination

A Sliver of Right 10: Purpose?

“Purpose?” is a modular statement nestled in the ambitious sprawl of “Smoke and Origination.” The songs on the album were, overall, long and ornate statements. But this little vignette tempers and humbles all that ambition.

The composition holds the fundamental concept of the album: Bach is present in every song on “Smoke and Origination,” but “Purpose?” is the only composition where Bach is the central motif and not a subliminal theme; 50 seconds of Bach’s “Air on G” transmogrified into sludgy stillness and uncertainty.

“Purpose?” is the aged conundrum:

Do I have a purpose?
Do you have a purpose?
Does “Purpose?” have a purpose?

Sometimes, you need not 77 minutes of vibraphone and tuvan throat singing to achieve an answer to such questions.

The recording of this piece is a mix of cello samples, real cello, and incidental classical guitar playing. Considering that my productivity is, at best, glacial, “Purpose?” being composed and recorded in a day was a supernatural achievement.

I recall the companion artwork for this piece vividly. Every song from “Smoke and Origination” and “Torched Laughter” had artwork. (I apologize that I have yet to post the art for these songs. Words get in the way of thought.)

The artwork for "Purpose?"

The artwork for “Purpose?”

While gardening, I came upon several roots that looked like Alien face huggers. I ended up taking one, spraying it with acrylic and leaving it aside. Shortly after, I found a light socket. Inspired by the concept of “Purpose?,” I placed the root into the socket.

Facehugger from the movie "Alien." Post op.

Facehugger from the movie “Alien.” Post op.

Is there a purpose to have art for “Purpose?” and does “Purpose?” have a purpose?

Cue the vibraphone…

A Sliver of Right 4: Spaghetti Terrorist

Words can get in the way of what you are saying. A piece like “Spaghetti Terrorist” liberates the necessity to articulate emotions and statement with lyrics. Yet I am going to try to explain some of it; as it is relevant to the 9/11 date. And I enjoy unattainable expectations.

Prior to returning to Canada in 2002, I built up a mythology in my head about the country. It was a foolish and involuntary thought process that can only be constructed by someone who always felt out of place; reinforced by the fact I was born there, but lived in the US for most of my life. When I came back to Canada and settled in Ontario near Toronto, I could not accept that the reality did not match my mythos. There were all these sloppy globules of monotonous beige subdivisions that made Nantucket look like a kaleidoscope. (See A Sliver of Right 3 about Nantucket and the song Waterlilly.) The sprawl was overwhelming to me, who lived in an area that was built gradually over centuries.

Like a child who didn’t get his way, I became angry at my immediate Canadian environment. Adapting was not an option. Christopher, Empress of the Andromeda, does NOT adapt to beige.
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