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We can go wherever we please and everything depends upon how near you stand to me

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Paru en 1999, The Glinting Spade, un disque d’In Gowan Ring est un album où aux sonorités médiévales qui évoque des mondes invisibles en pagaille, ceux de Kerouac et des poétesses américaines du début du siècle, sur des chansons qui cherchent à partager une harmonie. A l’écoute du disque sont arrivées annoncées par un bodhran des images de créatures mystérieuses, symboliques ou grotesques, les mêmes qu’on imagine croiser lors de promenades en forêt, celles nées d’un monologue intérieur débordant d’imagination. B’Eirth, le musicien derrière le nom de scène, écrit d’ailleurs dans un anglais parsemé de mots de plus de trois syllabes, magnifiques et recherchés, à protéger comme une espèce menacée d’extinction. Compagnon à l’époque de cette interview (août 2002) de Low et des Rivulets sur le label Bluesanct – label animé par Michael Anderson, l’homme derrière Drekka - B’eirth explique en répondant à quelques questions ses manières de voyageurs, qui préfère au confort matériel les pérégrinations dans le vaste monde. In Gowan Ring a sorti depuis Hazel Steps through a Weathered Home et Birch Book chez Luna Records.

who are you?

I am one with the weaver of roses.

I am the watcher of the wonder-flame.

I am a manifold of innumerable futures.

I am dew of fleeting blooms a the moonlit garden.

That is, you are meant to understand that the author of these lines is just another stray and vagrant avatar of Orpheus, mislaid and adrift in the vastness of an eternal present. Some would imply that in the Valley of the Morning Sun things aren’t what they seem to be, but I would suggest that one should enjoy one’s self bargained challenge. .for the most part anyway.

Where, and how do you live?

How do I live? It often bemuses people to find that I myself am dumbfounded, am in fact unable to answer this (apparently simple) question satisfactorily when it is asked me. I suppose It must be “different ways for different days”. If I were asked to devolve into pecuniary measurement I should be hopelessly at a loss, however, I can say that in certain times I have received much kindness and at present I am rarely left to starve. Just now I happen to live in a minute village in the north of Portugal. Your map of Europe will likely have the town of ‘Bragança’ in the North eastern part of Portugal.The village I am in now is about 50 Km north-west of Bragança. There is one café but I never seem to be there when it is attended. There is electricity and water in the home I occupy which are for the most part in operation. Most other civilized amenities I happily forfeit. This is bound to be temporary like unto everything else under the sun and particularly in my life. Though I do admire the stability of a situated lifestyle, it has by no means been my fortune to have such at my disposal. I am an incorrigible vagrant-cosmopolite, having in place of fixed roots various clusters of friends in Europe and America. I will not go on about the merits and disadvantages of such a position but merely state that it is the one in which I occupy myself at present.

How long have you known the other members of In Gowan Ring? How do you define your role and theirs in the group?

Some of the people I work with I have known for a dozen years or so and others I will have met only the week before we begin the work. Due to environmental factors, relocations etc. the cast of characters I work with is somewhat fluid. I could define my ‘role’ as that of ‘co-ordinating catalyst’. I enjoy playing music with other people and many different people for different reasons - one gets a chance to learn from situations and develop different approaches - and yet I also persist in pursuing potentialities that I find available only in lonerly pastimes.

What was your state of mind during the recording of “The Glinting Spade”

At the time most of it was recorded, I was hermiting in the south of Utah near to Zions park in a town of some supposed 800 persons (the only services were postal and religious). I had a free range of solitudinous escapades which included regular walks in the buttes with reading and writing books in tow, night time star-staring, and generally amblesome meditations. I had a bicycle as well. The back yard was littered with trees of apple, almond and pomegranate. Further afar were the figs and grapes. I would have occasional guests, but could be undisturbed for weeks on end, left to my own lucubration. I would generally go to the nearby (larger) town for supplies biweekly via Ruben who lived next door and shared with me his extensive literature which contended with all manner of UfOlogy and conspiratorial subject matter. There was a plentiful record collection, enough coffee, and occasional trips to the ‘PaTemp’ hot springs. I became rather immersed in my thought-image world and the natural world around me and especially where these worlds overlapped. So, my ’state of mind’ was rather free from pressures excepting internal imperatives which set about to work themselves out in the realms of word-play and sound recordings that were at once leisurely accomplished and luxuriously laboured. These songs and recordings were my raison d’être of that summer. Unfortunately I lost the main scratch book from this period which included my daydreams and some songs which I had not bothered to record and have since forgotten.

Do you like photo sessions? Do you have a favourite picture of yourself?

It is pleasing sometimes to see a picture from a time that is not now and recall certain aspects of ways that were. Photographs can be mysterious. I do not myself own a camera excepting one of those disposable ones that I have not managed to develop for a year and a half now. I can not say that I recall a favourite picture of myself.

What’s your most precious record, a sort of cornerstone in your life?

As for the records that I have made, the album ‘Love Charms’ would perhaps fit the ‘cornerstone’ category as this was the first collection of recorded work that I could feel was complete with a general degree of satisfaction. This was a culmination and tangible realization of the fanciful world I had carried around with me from childhood through adolescence; the first”Complete Work”. The specific images and some of the recordings I had been harbouring since around 1990, so this was an important accomplishment for me in (perhaps) a sentimental way. As regards the recorded work of others, I will mention the album “Welcome (In the Nether Heaven)” (1998) by the 17 Pigmies as the album that impressed the most personally meaningful communication to me.

What made you really start the group?

It was merely the natural crystallization of the creative & poetic impetus that emerged out of fascination with and experiments in sound recording and linguistic pilgramage, with which I had been spontaneously engaged in during adolescence while searching to understand the images that haunt the imagination. The fascination grapples with the twin mysteries and potencies of language and tone, and how these together affect the mentating awareness.

Do you have a sentence, a quotation, some words that are important to you, that you could write on the wall above your desk, that make the heart beat faster?

“Truth Against the World” - It is only the inveterate renegade that can appreciate the sublimity beyond the apparent vague simplicity of this aged bit of pith. If only we could have had elders who plastered something of this ilk on their mantles instead of the deceptively placid and ignoramical “Just Do It”.

In Gowan Ring lyrics are very poetic. How would you like people to react to them?

I think it felicitous when people can enter into the poetic landscape presented with their own personal circumstances and if they can interact within this imaginal space in a meaningful interplay of worldviews or perhaps simply revel in the current. Once when I auditioned a mix of something for a friend they said “I wish I could live inside that song!”. I feel successful when I have elicited this kind of phantasmic identification. Ultimately it should at least change the way they feel at the moment and better, it may reveal a poignant reality and possibly even elaborate on the quality of their awareness.

What’s your favourite place on earth? How important is the place whereyou live?

The place that I live is rather important to me while I am living there. I’ve a problem with favourites. I try to appreciate where I happen to be while experiencing the place in itself. And everywhere has its miserable aspects as well! I find I identify with places while I am there and sometimes in sentiment while I am away. All that said I am now fond of Portugal in general and Sintra (mount of the Moon) in particular. There are the black mountains in Appalachia especially those parts thick with hemlock. The coastal areas of the Pacific Northwest America (Oregon, Washington). Utah is quite diverse in its ecology, there’s a wonderfully surreal forest of sandstone mushrooms called Goblin Valley that is good for explorations. Maybe when I find a “favourite place” I’ll make a home there. Or maybe when I make a home somewhere I’ll find it’s my Favourite Place. Or maybe there will never be a home save in the Secret Heart.

What’s your biggest worry?

That I won’t ever be able to achieve a manner of living in congruence with a free range for my creative impulses - That I won’t be able to finish all the ideas that are intimated to me (or even the most important ones). That I’ll never have the facilities and resources to learn and do all the things that my proclivities would suggest. That my potentialities will always remain somewhat stifled by an inability to get on in the regular world or that I will be feeble or ineffectual by the time I can manage to take care of the mundane aspects of existence - suchtime that is wasted! Of course I can think intellectually that all this feverish wallowing is discursively futile, childish and distracting; That one must begin where one is if one is to be and do at all; that you work with what you have and that frame of mind and actual deed is certainly more important than facilities, resources etc. and that a perfection of balance in this regard is really an illusion. But sometimes I think of the things that will never be. I realize these are certainly self-centered concerns compared with all the looming malefactions of the modern world. The general ignorance and docility inherent in most of the populations can be worrisome in the extreme when considering futur cenarios regarding almost any arena of contemplation. but I don’t worry much about the things I can’t control, it never helps.

Who/ what’s your favourite monster?

The Woodwouse is a creature that is invisible to any but other woodwouses, so in order to find one, you must become one. I have rarely been out tracking the Woodwouse.

Who would you like to be father to?

Thankfully at present I have no desire to be father to anyone!

You’ve been given 5 seats in a spaceship to escape the destruction of the world. Who do you invite (apart from family and friends of course.)

one goat, one sheep, one chicken and two nice girls I know (Its truly unfair that you shouldn’t let me bring my friends!) But I suppose I’ll need a seat for myself. but which girl to oust? in consideration, the chicken could sit on someone’s lap I’m sure. We can take turns if this becomes too noxious for anyone.

You’re one of the few survivors after such a catastrophe. What shop do you loot first?

I think I should rather set up shop in one of the more extensive libraries.

How do you imagine the people who listen to your records?

They are without exception unfathomably well read, remarkably intelligent, mannerly and hospitable on all such occasions where this may be seemly displayed.Their greatgrandmothers were in fact capable poetesses and on familiar terms with all the Fin de Siècle coterie. They are usually amateur pianists having a moderate repertoire ranging from Bach to Satie and the occasional show-tune. They clothe themselves in only natural fabrics and enjoy the scenic trappings of semi-rustic living. Yes, on close scrutiny these fans of mine are most sublime! They do take great care to exercise the penetration of their psyches with concerted awareness, searing beyond the stultifications of this illusory world.Their one fault is that they don’t always look where their feet are and so may, on occasion, trip oversome inconsistencies in the walkway.

What do you do when you don’t play music?

My habits vary greatly with the scenery, but I do tend to read rather more than necessary. I walk in the hills if there are hills to be walked, taking notes on the more remarkable diffusions. There IS always correspondence. I usually have a healthy capacity for sleep. When among society I join in those activities that I am invited to when they are deemed worthwhile. When possible I do quite enjoy refining certain forms of physical manipulations that engender electro-conduction within the participants. I do build musical instruments when I can, though I do not always have access to the tools and space necessary (this would be under ‘disadvantages attendant to vagary’). Often they (the instruments) get left around like Shelleyan orphans. I draw and paint on occasion. I used to have a tiny batch of watercolours I kept with me but I don’t seem to have them anymore. I somewhat take care of my physical person when no one is else is around to do this for me. I suppose this would include making poor & experimental meals out of whatever provender is handy - that is I do eat every day if I can at all help it. I am a bit of a tinkerer with odd crafty projects and the like. Once when I had my own abode I instituted a ‘Mandatory Craft Night’ cult. Initiates would bring their projects and tools and all went forth in myriad and mighty creation!I’ll stop here lest this becomes a Meandering Misfit’s Miscellany.

Is there a question that you’d like to answer but nobody’s asked you yet?

Yes, in fact I’ve always dreamed that one day some concerned and welldressed individual would ask it of me “When shall I send the secretary ‘round?”

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