‘DIVE: Odes for Lighea’ – A contemporary Opera composed with Fides Krucker

‘Ten Questions on DIVE’ from BarczaBlog

Fascism & ‘The Wild’ in ‘DIVE: Odes for Lighea’

Throughout the composition of DIVE I was very conscious of, and sensitive to, the relationship between the mermaid, and Mussolini. In the opening Prelude the mermaid vanquishes Mussolini and his fascist crowd with a mighty roar. Later the mermaid plays directly with Mussolini’s speech by improvising over a distorted and stretched out version of it, exaggerating it and distorting it, but also really digging into it and almost becoming a part of it.

‘DIVE’ is based on Giuseppe di Lampedusa’s short story ‘The Professor & the Siren’, set as Mussolini reaches the pinnacle of his totalitarian power, and the mermaid [1], at the core of the story, and who is so vividly and sensually described by Lampedusa, is a wild feminine divine being.

As I told you Corbera, she was a beast but at the same instant also an Immortal, and it is a pity that no speech can express this synthesis continually, with such utter simplicity, as she expressed it in her own body… Not for nothing is she the daughter of Calliope: ignorant of all culture, unaware of all wisdom, contemptuous of any moral inhibitions, she belonged, even so, to the fountainhead of all culture, of all wisdom, of all ethics...”
– Giuseppe di Lampedusa: ‘The Professor and the Siren

Giuseppe di Lampedusa

Giuseppe di Lampedusa


Is the tale a premise for the struggle between ‘fascism’ and ‘the wild’? Is fascism a polarity to the wild? Or is the tension between the two more complex? What do we mean by ‘fascism’? And what do we mean by ‘the wild’?

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Fascism & Utopia

a poem for extremists everywhere

Blacktop Mountaintop


Fascism is a hair’s breadth from Utopia.

Those who try to force funnel the hard grit gravity ground of everyday into Utopia,
to compel it across the great divide,
turn into extremists, slavemasters, witchhunters.
Naiively they set out to purify the strain, exorcise the demons, exterminate the wrong thinking, abolish the Mixolydians.
They wind up razing the terrain,
sterilising the DNA,
creating mutants and monsters,
which they,
and subsequent generations,
spend their lives chasing,
or running away from.

Pure seeds are so fragile.
Little trees planted in the scarification after the burn.
Acres upon acres,
hectares upon hectares,
kilometres upon kilometres of burn…
God the heat,
the scorching heat on the mountains of burn,
blacktop mountaintops as far as the eye can see.

Here we plant the little tree, the pure seed, the clean gene, the clear clean code,
and wait,
utterly simple single-minded, mono,
for the perfect shoot to grow.




* In my youth I spent summers planting trees.  One season I was in the mountains around Prince George, BC. The mountains had been completely clearcut and then razed by fire, an endeavor so grand in scale that it was, at the time, the only human project significantly visible from space. We planted only one species – one believed to be most profitable 60 years hence when it would be harvested –  to replace the grand diversity that had previously dwelt there for millenium, and returned home each day, head to toe, black in ashes.


Update on Music for DIVE: mastering, digital distribution, Nostrodamus and a turtle

Dear friends and backers of the DIVE recording project.

A long overdue update is in order.

Much has been done over the last months. Most importantly, more than half of the recordings have been through a first draft of mastering. It’s been a real pleasure to be working with Michael White who has great ears, great suggestions, great competence and great tools. We’ve basically been working our way through every track on every recording, refining, enlivening, refreshing, and clarifying the sound. Very detailed, but also very satisfying when you hear the difference. It can be literally like having your sonic windows washed; it’s as though the original recording was just a little dim and bleary.

Sonic whiz, Michael White, sparking up 'Nostrodamus' to beef up the low end in 'The Pearls'
Sonic whiz, Michael White, sparking up ‘Nostrodamus’ to beef up the low end in ‘The Pearls’

Here’s a link to our first draft at mastering ‘The Prelude’ & ‘The Pearls’. Synths are a little too high in the mix right now (hard to resist with Nostradamus at hand!), but it is a very big improvement!

I’ve also spent a good deal of time researching the optimal digital distribution channel for DIVE (as well as for Howlings, my previous ambient-electroacoustic CD, which I’ll be able to send out to supporters very soon). It was a tossup between CD-Baby and TuneCore, but I’m going with CD-Baby as they have a better reputation for manufacturing hard copy CDs.

During the summer Fides, in a lengthy period of extensive voice work, suffered some damage to her voice. This injury, combined with typical scheduling challenges, has resulted in our delaying the recording of ‘Lighea’s Ocean’, the only vocal part left for Fides to record, until the New Year. This has, of course, moved our CD launch date into the New Year as well. We’ll have a solid date and place for that asap.

All in all the project is going well: the budget is OK, every track that Michael and I work on comes out sounding a good deal better, and we just keeping on moving. Perhaps more like a turtle than a rabbit, but we will get there.

Thanks for your patience… and thank you again for your marvelous support!

Be well!!



A Call to DIVE VII – Lament

‘Lament’ will almost certainly be the last track in the CD.
A very simple, and very elegant, plaintif melody sung (and composed) by Fides over the subdued remnants of ‘The Storm’.

A Call to DIVE VI – The Storm

This week I’m presenting a piece which is an apex work in the narrative. It’s a piece in which Fides’ full vocal power and prowess gets to really let loose in a transcendent expression of extreme rage and grief, swept along by a sonic storm of multiple layers of analog synth, wind, waves and wolves.

A Call to DIVE V – Lighea’s Idyll

…I’ve saved a bit of a gem for the week after the launch. ‘Lighea’s Idyll’ is really a full on ambient work, summoning a brilliant sunlit sea, awash in the sounds of ripples and waves in a multiplicity of patterns, and the emergence – gently bobbing up from the deeps – of the mermaid as her natural self, in her oceanic element.

A Call to DIVE IV – Crowdfunder Launch!

For real, it’s finally here.
I’ve launched a Crowdfunder on Kickstarter to complete the funding of this project ($3000 smackers is what it will take!).

The exceedingly talented photographer & filmmaker Jeremy Mimnagh created a very cool video for the project, and you can pre-order downloads, CDs, a poster of the cover art, and you can even order me. If you’re really special (I know, you’re all really special!) you can book a visitation from the mermaid herself!

There’s more music to come (and you won’t believe what Mussolini did to the wild), but for now it’s all about Kickstarter.

Check it out, pre-purchase some music, and enjoy the show!

A Call to DIVE III – PaulArio

Wow, it’s already been two weeks since I last sent a missive.

The word from the street is that folks seemed to gravitate to ‘The Pastry Shop’, which is no great surprise. But let’s face it, my mission, at least in in part, is to shift the centre of gravity.

So, in a last bit of gentle hootzpah before I lay on a CrowdFunder, I give you ‘PaulArio’. This is a piece which some of you may genuinely wonder if it actually qualifies as music, and some of you will think maybe Brian Eno met Kayhan Kalhor… Persian Ambient Psychedelia?

How can I explain?
Two searching souls meet one another, and through a strange course of recognition and discovery, become inextricably bound to a divine being, and a mutual pathway of devastation and awakening.

Headphones are especially useful.