03-29-19 | Songs for Listening | Brian Harnetty
Composer Brian Harnetty picked tunes for Friday, March 29 at Songs for Listening. Brian makes work rooted in sound archives and the communities connected to them, his body of work contends that the simple act of listening — to people, places, and their pasts — can be transformative.
Brian connects sound archives with performance, ecology, and place. Many of his pieces transform archival material — including field recordings, transcriptions, and historic recordings — into newly re-contextualized sound collages. His 2013 release, The Star-Faced One: from the Sun Ra / El Saturn Archives was MOJO Magazine’s Underground Album of the Year. Brian's most recent work, Shawnee, Ohio, a sonic portrait — past and present, real and imagined — of a small Appalachian town, will be released April 26 on Karlrecords. His next project centers on the American monk, Thomas Merton.
Here's Brian's playlist with his annotations:
'Talkin' Like You (Two Tall Mountains)' by Connie Converse
"Every phrase leads to an unexpected turn and delight. She is funny, thoughtful, sincere and the music affects me very much. The structure of this song always makes me think of two mountains at the beginning and end, it so nicely fits the lyrics and sentiment. I can't figure out how she is capable of including so many emotions at once, and in so many subtle ways."
'Looking for All (All Rendered Truth)' by Lonnie Holley
"I got to share a billing with Lonnie in 2013, and I was immediately struck by his voice and how it seems to cut through to the heart of experience. Beautiful stuff."
'The Letter' by Harry Partch
"Harry Partch was a very early influence on me, and when I first heard 'The Letter', its odd mix of hobo vernacular language and complex tuning and homemade instruments drew me in. Partch also made me realize that that music can exist on your own terms, and you don't have to really worry about what other people think."
'Lonesome Scenes of Winter' by Addie Graham
"I first heard these recordings at Berea College in Kentucky in 2006, unedited, along with all of Graham's chatter and laughter. It was these recordings that made me want to work with sound archives in a deep and meaningful way. I think she was in her 90s when this was recorded, and her singing is beautiful, and flawed, and nuanced, and haunting."
'Nuclear War' by Sun Ra
"Sun Ra's music has also deeply influenced me, and this song, while popular, still contains those essential parts of Ra that are so important: speaking truth through music, looking toward the future yet rooted in the present, building a mythology around himself, and all done in an unforgettable way."
'Talkin' Like You (Two Tall Mountains)' by Connie Converse from ‘How Sad, How Lovely’
'Looking for All (All Rendered Truth)' by Lonnie Holley from ‘Just Before Music’
'The Letter' by Harry Partch from ‘The Composer-Performer'
'Lonesome Scenes of Winter' by Addie Graham from ‘Been a Long Time Traveling’
'Nuclear War' by Sun Ra from ‘A Fireside Chat with Lucifer’