January 26, 2015
In the Book Notes series, authors create and discuss a music playlist that relates in some way to their recently published book.
Previous contributors include Bret Easton Ellis, Kate Christensen, Kevin Brockmeier, George Pelecanos, Dana Spiotta, Amy Bloom, Aimee Bender, Jesmyn Ward, Heidi Julavits, Hari Kunzru, and many others.
Allison Adelle Hedge Coke's new collection Streaming is a veritable symphony, her poems embracing musicality and dissonance like the best of modern composers.
Summerset Review wrote of the book:
"Her poems beg to be read aloud, a jumble of hard sounds that wind their way into an effortless melody. . . Streaming is truly an accomplishment."
Stream a playlist of these songs at Spotify.
The first poem, a prelude elegy, should be read a cappella.
I – Navigation
"Someday We’ll Be Together," Laura Ortman (2011)
Loss melts into an echo bearing collisions of bends in temporal planes bringing what is long ago and faraway nearby, instantaneously. Ortman is genius. Killer, killer violinist, and plays all of the tracks and instruments on most of her solo recordings. This piece is mesmerizing. Kicks into the feel of Streaming and carries me right through it.
"Touch Me," Kelvyn Bell
This song turns on a sensual sound to humanness. It blends enigmatic with ease, releases and surrenders supple grace. There is a forgiving generosity in this sound. The world needs us to be gentle as much as it needs us to be strong self-supporting of ourselves, taking only what we need and feeding the spirit with level selflessness.
II – Breaking Cover
"Kawdan’s Song," Laura Ortman (2007)
Not quite ready to leave Laura yet. In fact we need her to wake us up again. Make us see the tangle we surround ourselves in. Strange beauty on either side, we narrow our focus and lift ourselves into planes we need reach to dignify the human race. To be humane in the often inhumane world. Kawdan’s Song is a quick compelling open to this section.
"3 Days and 3 Nights," Otis Taylor (2001)
Taylor takes us into struggling infancy in a mournful and frenzy filled passing of time with nothing (nothing) on hand to feed a little girl, slipping away, and nothing breaking the chance of dying. Chilling. Dostoyevsky might have written this. Too many people live this, die with this. The world is ripe with trouble, truly. This section lifts the drape.
"Too Cold Outside for Angels to Fly," Ed Sheeran (2013)
Takes the everyday experience passerbys mostly don’t choose to see, then seduces those strangers into the life slipping away, here, next to you, right next to you. So many people cold, hungry, lost, using, used, out of everything a regular Joe might never get close enough to know. This one tears and yet speaks love in the subtle attention. Go out and hand someone a sandwich. Take your blanket with you and give it away. Do it.
"Everybody’s Got to Change Sometime," Taj Mahal with Jessee Ed Davis (1968)
Getting ready for twisters makes me hunker down into memory of Jesse Ed, an Oklahoman, back in the day, when Taj stood up for the knack of change and readied us for it. When you climb into the bathtub, pull the mattress over; most of the stations blow down except for oldies anyway. If you are lucky, it will be one that gets your mind moving.
"The Beautiful Creatures," Bruce Cockburn, Live audio at Quasimodo Germany (2007)
What’s happening in the Anthropogenic. Truly. This song delivers the absolute despair in losing thousands and thousands of living species mostly due to resourcing and greed, but also, historically and contemporarily, to what some people call sport. There’s no bringing them back and we lost half, literally half of the world’s wildlife species in the past forty years alone. Cockburn is about as real as you can go.
"Fracking," Tanya Tagaq (2014)
Below Guthrie we have earthquakes all the time. Yes, they are from fracking. No, they didn’t exist until recently. Pulling up brine from dinosaur days, water that hasn’t seen light of day or oxygen in eons. Polluting it, beyond evaporation reclaim. Then pumping it back into the earth in a different place. Shaking all of us up, for what, for black gold, worth nothing but money. Tagaq turns tempo into matching force, increases our at-stake interest, churns inside the belly of our mother, implicating the frackers and hollows core. Want more? There are four albums already. Grab some.
"Twisting\' the Night Away," Sam Cooke (1962)
Near Ellison’s Deep Deuce neighborhood, the sky opens up, drops thunder, the earth rises to meet it and tornadoes run the path in the crosshairs of the Gulf and the Rockies, making madness and misery, taking lives and giving grief. Those who survive, down in the Red Dirt flyway, Oklahoma, path of the windway – everyone dances sometime.
III – Where We Have Been
"Down in the Gowanus Canal," Juan & the Pines - Julian Talamantez Brolaski
Mournful patch of lonesome in the Gowanus. The history of this dirge is maddening.
"Barstow," Harry Partch (1941) (1968)
Partch lifts the poetry from graffiti and tosses it into a spoken word ramble through Barstow trestles and underpasses tagging the face of The Great Depression. This is some of the first spoken word recorded in the US and brings the sultry into survivance while hoboing it alongside the line between living and dying, this is life, unhitched.
"Down the Dirt Road Blues," Charley Patton (1929)
Pushing it back a bit, Patton intensifies the sounds of my father singing to me when I was a kid. Dad picked other people’s cotton for a penny a pound. His dad’s back was shot, so Dad, his mother, and siblings headed down those rows, nestled between dirt roads, working sun up to sun down. He always appreciated Patton. Still does today at nearly 93. In the film we are making together about Native resiliency in climate change, in the Dust Bowl, Dad gives into the memories of knowing that edge of life I’ve seen as well. Patton rings.
"Levee Camp Blues," Mississippi Fred McDowell (1968)
When I was a kid, I was hooked on Papa John Creach in Hot Tuna, Brownie McGhee, Leo Kottke, Traffic, Marvin Gaye, Smokey Robinson, Rufus/Chaka Khan, Led Zepplin, Santana, Buffy Sainte-Marie, Johnny and Edgar Winter, Lightnin’ Hopkins, Son House, Sun Ra Arkestra, Tina Turner, the Band, Mississippi John Hurt, Dobie Gray, Redbone, Jimmy Hendrix, so many great great players, singers. This singer/player deeply resonated with me, brought me to write some of my earliest attempts at poetry, lyric. Coming of age picking tobacco and digging sweet potatoes, sleeping near the fields in the car, cracking windows at dawn – Mississippi Fred McDowell singing Levee Camp Blues rung absolutely true.
"Music is the Healing Force of the Universe," Albert Ayler w/ Mary Maria, from Nuits de La Fondation Maeght (1971)
Killer track. This is one of several Ayler dropped into the field and hundreds followed. Same with Mary Maria, here setting the pace for every era. This is still experimental work, standing beyond any sense of time. Deliberately commanding the audience to heal through the sound presented. Testimony, hard fact truth-telling, inviting renewal, healing.
" A Oh Love of Life!," Albert Ayler - Tenor Saxophone, Soprano, Musette, Vocals, Allen Blairman – Drums, Steve Tintweiss - Double Bass, Mary Maria - Vocal, Soprano Saxophone(1969)
This track takes a schism and renders it whole again. Each departure is fresh, surprising, rich and wicked with love. Reminds me of tumbling things back into order after they’ve been flipped around countless times. Rekindling something measured from disparate threads unraveled until the music makes them whole. Something to spin the world back into place. Mary Maria’s vocals are haunting!
IV – Where it Ends
"It’s Such a Splendid Day and I Have to Go," Charlie Rauh (2014)
Dedicated to Hans and Sophie Scholl, a brother and sister in Munich during WW2 that founded an intellectual resistance group known as The White Rose. Both were arrested after being caught distributing anti nazi flyers at the university they attended and executed days later. Title taken from Sophie Scholl's final words at the age of 22. Lines up with the literal holocaust in New York, Sullivan Clinton Campaign in “Reduction.”
"Mix," Arthur Blythe, Abdul Wadud, Bobby Battle, Bob Stewart Kelvyn Bell. (July 18, 1981 at the Casino De Montreux in Montreux, Switzerland)
In the Marfa fires, life split its dry husk clean open and all the world seemed to float out. The simmer rose in heat waves making everything reflect back on itself. Memory kicked in and some thousand times fire singed all came sliding up the porch licking at your toes until all you could do was give into it and be with it, float back through all the fires you know and hope you live. Listening to this set, where improvisational sound edges back into itself, brought me some impulse; something I call ampliset. When you feel it, move with it, cull sound with it, life, well, you know what happens; a long range poem, epic.
"Reception," Charlie Rauh (written, 2013, to be released in 2015)
Written about a best friend’s murder, these two masterpiece seem to reawaken the listener, like a soft rain on old growth, on memory, in recanting the life, love, loss. Returning with ease of peace. Beautiful.
Buddy Miles comes to mind, now that I’ve written this. Pete DePoe, Billy Preston, Frank Waln, Young Jibwe, but I think you should wrap up this listening with a bit of “Amayi” from Paula Nelson (https://soundcloud.com/tsvdatsila), Cherokee, NC. After that, download the album that actually comes with Streaming, by Rd Klā, that’s Kelvyn Bell, Laura Ortman, and me. Available free (as download) with purchase of the book, or you can sample here: rdkla.com. Half of these people (in playlist above) are noted in the acknowledgments page of this book already, or in books that preceded it. Amazing players – genius. They give me reason.
Allison Adelle Hedge Coke and Streaming links:
also at Largehearted Boy:
Book Notes (2015 - ) (authors create music playlists for their book)
Book Notes (2012 - 2014) (authors create music playlists for their book)
Book Notes (2005 - 2011) (authors create music playlists for their book)
my 11 favorite Book Notes playlist essays
100 Online Sources for Free and Legal Music Downloads
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