A Companion to Slug #11
the newsletter of Frog Peak Music, a composers' collective
PEAK PICKS (contents)
* UNBOUND: Jody Diamond
* Special Features: Brün, Mahler, Lloyd & Nagorcka
* New Frog Peak Items
* Frog Speak: Texts by Clarissa Dixon and Herbert Brün
UNBOUND: Frog Peak Online Publications
Note from the co-director
Frog Peak was started in 1984 to give more control of the art-making process to artists, through the use of appropriate technology and an artist-run collective. The process of distribution has changed a lot since the days we took paper back and forth to the copy store, mailed out printed catalogs and postcards, and collected addresses for a mailing list that became increasingly expensive to use.
Even so, all of these still have their place. Libraries collect paper documents, a printed score or catalog can go places the web does not, and holding a book in one's hand is still a delight. When Larry Polansky found a copy of Clarissa Dixon's 1909 book Janet & Her Dear Phebe, we were charmed by the gray cover with blue flowers and silver letters, and amazed by the writing -- no less because the author was the mother of composer Henry Cowell.
Our first thought was to reprint the book, and some effort went into estimates and fundraising letters. As this process went on, though, it occurred to us that first, it was in the content of the book that the artist's work resided, and, second, it was almost unethical for us to treasure the object without sharing its contents.
And so it is with this work that we begin a new section of our website: UNBOUND. All the chapters of Ms. Dixon's book are there, along with an introduction written by Michael Hicks, a composer and Cowell scholar who first showed us this book.
UNBOUND is an important step in Frog Peak's work, and we look forward to expanding it as another place for art to exist in the world.
--- Jody Diamond
SPECIAL FEATURES: Brün, Mahler, Lloyd & Nagorcka
Herbert Brün (1918-2000), a pioneer in the development of electronic and computer music, is recognized within and and beyond the field of music as a contributor of ideas relating composition and systems theory, language and thought, performance and everyday life.
Born in Berlin, Brün was invited by Lejaren Hiller in 1963 to join the faculty of the University of Illinois, primarily to do research on the significance of computer systems for composition. He was active there as Professor of composition from 1964-2000. His published writings include Über Musik und Zum Computer, my words and where I want them, and When Music Resists Meaning.
Irresistible Observations and Sighs in Disguise are two books of Brün's most recent writings: formulations and reflections on power, language, love, composition, reality, retardation of decay, I, romance. These books are language in the hands of a composer: brief texts that could be starting points for compositional thinking.
Irresistible Observations. Brü01. $15.
Sighs in Disguise. Brü02. $15.
SALE: $25 for both Brün books
New Frog Peak CD : TOO LATE. Mah19. $15.
We are pleased to announce a new CD of songs on the Frog Peak label by David Mahler, one of America's most interesting, poetic and eccentric composers. TOO LATE dishes up a dozen real time three minute songs (seven by David Mahler) warbled by Julie Hanify & David Mahler, accompanied by Larry Polansky (guitars, mandolins) and Mahler (piano), all mastered by Tom Erbe.
Unblushing love songs
in colloquial dress
sport high gloss lyrics
while well groomed harmony goes steady
with hair down instrumental romps.
Includes "Elvis is Watching You," "Bring Me Morning," "Angel Baby Love."
New CD from Ron Nagorcka and Sarah Lloyd: RHYTHMS OF THE TARKINE. Nag11. $25.
The "Tarkine", on the north-west coast of the island of Tasmania (off the south coast of Australia) is one of the world's most wonderful surviving wild places. It was inhabited for perhaps 40,000 years by the "Tarkiner" people, but since european invasion in the early 19th Century, apart from from ephemeral mining towns, it has remained untouched and remote.
Tasmanian naturalist and writer Sarah Lloyd and her partner Frog Peak composer Ron Nagorcka spent several weeks exploring the area, with Ron recording its sounds and Sarah documenting its natural history. The resulting book and CD includes descriptions of the birds, wildlife and plants of the area with many superb photos. Sarah also outlines what is known of the Tarkiner and European explorations.
The CD presents Ron's recordings interspersed with soundscapes and notated music featuring sampled natural sounds, didjeridu and performers Larry Polansky (fretless electric guitar), Margaret Lancaster (piccolo), Karlin Love (clarinet) and David Hamnes (pipe organ).
"Sarah shares this natural history adventure with enthusiasm, sensitivity and insight.... and Ron's music is like no other, revealing an unforgettable and evocative experience from the genius of one of Tasmania's living treasures. Discovering his music is like discovering a new species."
--- Jim Nelson ( Tasmanian naturalist in "The Natural News")
NEW FROG PEAK ITEMS
New items also from Christian Asplund, Herbert Brün, Philip Corner, Nathan Davis, Peter Garland, Mark Howell, Rupert Kettle, David Mahler, ilya monosov, Ron Nagorcka, Larry Polansky, & Paul Schick
For a complete list of new frog peak items, please visit our designated web page at http://www.frogpeak.org/newitems.html
FROG SPEAK: Texts by Clarissa Dixon and Herbert Brün
from JANET AND HER DEAR PHEBE, online Frog Peak edition of an out-of-print book published in 1909, written by Clarissa Dixon (Henry Cowell's mother)
· Janet wondered at everything and Phebe explained everything. If you could have heard Phebe tell all about the sky and the earth and the water, you would have been surprised.
If Janet asked her how she knew, she said she was sure such things were very easy; she just felt for the answer-first all round under her arms, then in her head.
One day Janet wondered where people went when they fell into the sky, over the edge of the hill.
Phebe said they dropped under The World and turned into flowers; then they grew up through the ground. "And we don't know," Phebe said, "but what we've picked somebody to-day. I just love Johnny-jump-ups, they have such dear faces."
"Like you," Janet said.
"Like you," Phebe said.
·"What makes dog-fennel be a weed?" Janet asked presently, fondling in her hand a pretty blossom-head-yellow with white rays around, like a tiny Marguerite. "It has blooms that twinkle-twinkle in the dew like the first star after sun-down. Why isn't it a flower?"
"That's easy," Phebe replied. "I needn't feel for the answer; I know it in my head. Now you try to know it, yourself, and you tell me what you guess is the reason; it's so easy."
Janet shook her head and replied:
"I don't want to know it myself; I want you to tell me·."
"It's the plentiness," Phebe said. If there was only one dog-fennel and only one blossom on it, people'd call it a flower and walk a mile to look at it."
"Oh," Janet said, "is that the reason dog-fennel's a weed-'cause there's lots and lots of it?"
"Yes, that's the reason."
"Then, if there were lots of us, little girls'd be weeds, I s'pose?"
"Yes, of course they would." ·
Thus Phebe and Janet played and talked and loved each other through the beautiful days.
--- Clarissa Dixon
from IRRESISTIBLE OBSERVATIONS, Non Sequitur Press
by Herbert Brün
My name is Herbert Brün.
Born 1918 in Berlin, I left Germany in 1936 for Palestine.
I left Israel in 1955 for France.
I roamed in Europe from 1956 to 1962.
I live since 1963 in U.S.A.
I compose Music, Prose, Poetry, Projects.
My Projects generate Groups of People.
The Groups of People compose Music, Prose, Poetry, Plays, Projects.
I teach people, the language, the relationships.
I have friends, students, pupils, opponents.
I read books, newspapers, events.
I know what I have done,
I know what I did,
I know what I am doing,
I know what I do.
And I sure know where I am and live.
So why should I, How could I, and if I could, why and how would I compose, do, write, sponsor, generate, teach anything that might threaten to please a paid critic, a journalist, a businessman, a connoisseur, a collector, and their students?
--- Herbert Brün, Urbana, 1988